Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pheaturing Gayle Skidmore

Hey, kids, welcome to another entry of the Phile. I'm Jason Peverett, and I'm here to rescue you. Once again as you know it's May and all through the month of May it's Star Wars Month on the Phile. Are you sick of it yet? Before we continue with the Star Wars stuff, lets see what is going on in the real world.  France has a new president. He is Socialist François Hollande. He defeated Conservative French President Sarkozy in a presidential run-off Sunday. Of course, Nicolas Sarkozy handed over power in the traditional French manner. He surrendered.  President Obama has his new re-election campaign slogan. It's just one word: Forward. Have you been watching this election? Can we press fast forward? Can we just get this thing over with?  Some good news for that New Jersey tanning mom. Over the weekend at Newark's airport she bought a ticket from New York to L.A. for only $50. Apparently they mistook her for a piece of luggage.  Remember those American hikers that were detained and accused of spying in Iran? Well, two of them got married. They're now on their honeymoon, hiking the beautiful mountains of North Korea.  Vice President Joe Biden has come out in support of same-sex marriage. President Obama never endorsed gay marriage. But now he's in favor of gay Secret Service agents.  Facebook has revealed their estimated net worth... $96 billion. That's almost as much money as businesses lose every year from their employees wasting time looking at Facebook.  New predictions out today claim 42 percent of Americans will be obese by the year 2030. They say the only way to stop that is for the government to step in. Oh yeah, when it comes to trimming the fat and tightening your belt, what better way than the U.S. government?  I forgot to mention this on Monday, but did you see the Super Moon? I saw it and I thought, that's no moon. And then I looked closely and thought to myself, that Obama is a clever bastard.

Damn, could that picture be any bigger?  So, who has Star Wars on Blu-ray? Did you see that deleted scene of the Stormtroopers at the urinals? No? Well, you're lucky. I have a picture of it here.

Judging by the way they look, I am guessing they are from the very first movie.  Well, all month I am showing you some real Star Wars products that are out there. You know Lucas doesn't care what he attaches the Star Wars name to. Sure the Star Wars soundtrack is pretty bumping on its own, but just imagine the complete and total level of awesomeness that occurs when you mix the cantina song with some sweet disco and funk beats.

And now, from the home office on Coruscant, here is another...

Top Ten Ways That You Know You Bought A Second Rate Death Star 
10. The Jawas sold it to you at a loss.
9. All the passageways lead to bottomless pits.
8. The "Intel Inside" sticker is starting to peel off.
7. It has the "ability to destroy planets", but is insignificant next to the power of the Force.
6. It has a small thermal exaust port just below the main port.
5. It is not a fully armed and operational battle station.
4. Won't go into hyperspace unless you clap twice.
3. It has "imperfect" stamped on it.
2. Doesn't come with the "Goooh-bert, Gooh-bert" sound of Darth.
And the number one way that you know you bought a second rate Death Star is...
1. It's only half a sphere.

And now, once again, all the way from the Outer Rim, the Intergalactic Comedian...

So, Palpatine is zapping Luke, and Luke says, "Father, please! It tickles!!!"  Ephant Mon walks into Chalmun's cantina and Wuher asks, "Why the long face?"  Two Stormtroopers walk into a bar. The third one ducks.  After Anakin is done dueling with Dooku, he says, "Very good, let me give you a hand."  Lucas gets his films mixed up... Episode III: Vaders of the Lost Gundark. There's a sale at the Maul.... everything's half off. That's it, I'm done. Don't eat the Bantha.

That was terrible. Should I have him back? LOL. And now, for some sad news...

Vidal Sassoon
Jan 17, 1928 - May 9, 2012
I guess we don't look good.
Maurice Sendak
Jun 10, 1928 - May 8, 2012
Maurice roared his terrible roar and gnashed his terrible teeth and rolled his terrible eyes and showed his terrible claws till Max said, "BE STILL!"

The 16th artist to be pheatured in the P.P.A.G. is AJ Paglia and this is one of his pieces...

AJ will be a guest on the Phile on Monday.

Okay, today's guest is a singer-songwriter whose new album "Make Believe" is available on iTunes. She will be next appearing tomorrow at Monika Warehouse in her hometown of San Diego, California. Please welcome to the Phile the lovely and talented... Gayle Skidmore.

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

Gayle: Hi! I’m doing well!

Me: You're based in San Diego, right? Are you originally from there?

Gayle: Yes, I’m one of the few San Diegans that is actually from San Diego. I lived in LA for a while, and then England, but now I’m back. I’d like to move somewhere for a while. Portland, perhaps… but for now San Diego is a good base camp.

Me: I only went there twice in my life and really liked it. You must've played the 4th and B I am guessing, am I right?

Gayle: You can’t beat the weather. No, I have never played 4th and B. Actually I don’t believe I’ve ever been there. I think it’s a little big for me, yet. I have played at The Casbah and The Belly Up Tavern, though.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your new album "Make Believe" which I just purchased off from iTunes. I really like it a lot, Gayle. You must be very proud of it. That's your first full-length album, right?

Gayle: Thank you! I’m so glad you like it. Yes, this is my first full-length. I’ve released 7 other E.P.s and singles over the last few years, but this the first album I’ve really gotten to spend time on. I’m really happy with it. I worked on it with a close friend, Preston Parsons, and it was a long process but a fulfilling one. We started working together thanks to our mutual friend, Rocky Green, and a lot of talented musicians and close friends got involved with the project. Rocky told Preston that I needed someone to care about my music, and he’s the reason everything got started with that. Rocky got very sick right about the time we began recording and it made the album even more important for all of us. He ended up passing away on my birthday that year (’09). I’m really grateful to him and also to Preston and his wife for dedicating so much of their time and talents to my album.

Me: I love the artwork on all your releases. It's very original, and old-fashioned like. Who did the artwork and who comes up with the ideas?

Gayle: I do most of the drawings for my albums. Alphonse Mucha has been a huge inspiration for my art (though my drawings are like a kindergartener’s version of what he does). I love the colors in Mucha’s art and his use of lines. If I say anymore than that I’ll show my ignorance of art. I definitely enjoy painting and drawing, but I make no claims as an artist. I drew all of the pictures for the coloring book that goes with "Make Believe", and did the drawing for the cover, though my bass player Tim Devlin did the illustrations of the cover photos. I wanted to create something that incorporated some of my visual art as well as my music, and that encouraged people to participate in it beyond just listening. 

Me: What made you decide to name the album "Make Believe"? That's the last song on the album. People normally name the album after the first song.

Gayle: I guess I don’t really pay attention too much to what others do. As humans we can’t really help being influenced by things in our environment, so I would not say that other artists have not influenced me, but I wanted to make this album my own. I know there are several other records called “Make Believe” floating around out there, including one from Weezer. However, in coming up with a title for the record, I had to just shut out my outside influences and get very introspective. I had thought of naming the album “Set Me Free” after the first track, because I’ve been struggling to break through in the music industry for such a long time (which is what that song is about). However, after much thought, however cliché it might be, “Make Believe” seemed to fit the album a bit better. We all have ideas about what our lives should be like and periodically become disillusioned with the course of our lives. We then struggle to rediscover some kind of inspiration or motivation to continue to pursue our dreams... or we give up on them. As an artist I am caughtbetween the desire to have a ‘normal’ life and the desire to be on the road. I have invested years of my life to pursuing music as a career and have sacrificed quite a bit to do so. It is through dreaming and hoping that I have stayed (relatively) sane and focused. When we listen to our hearts and desire more for ourselves, we might be disappointed, but without risk there is no growth. Without dreams and visions of what might be, we don’t take risks. Without visions and dreams, we perish. I could go through each song and tell you how it ties into the title, but I’ve already been a bit long-winded. I will say that the whole album was and is a risk for me. I am daring to hope that I can do something out of the ordinary and have the life I would like to have. Titling the album “Make Believe” is a challenge both to myself and to people to hear it to step out and follow their dreams and see what they can accomplish.

Me: There's one song called "Annabelle" which has Jason Mraz playing on it. How did that happen? Have you known him for a while? That song is also the single, which I also purchased.

Gayle: Thanks for getting that one! Jason actually just engineered the track at his home studio. At the time (’07) I hadn’t really been able to afford to record a lot of my piano songs. I have quite a few songs and felt frustrated that I couldn’t really get a lot of them out there for people to hear. I met Jason years back at Java Joe’s, where he got his start, and ran into him here and there over the years. We reconnected at Twiggs in San Diego, where we used to do shows. I opened for Jason for some secret shows, and asked what he would charge me to record a piano song or two on his lovely grand. He graciously said that he would record two songs if I baked him some cupcakes. I don’t know Jason very well, but I know that he’s got a very sweet and giving spirit. He’s a very talented performer and songwriter and I was very blessed to work with him.

Me: While I was at it, I also purchased the EP "Cowley Road". Is that a real road you know?

Gayle: Yes, Cowley Road is a street in Oxford, England, where I studied abroad for part of my undergrad degree. I moved to England after a really difficult period in my life where a lot of people close to me died. It was a chance for me to reinvent myself and discover who I was and who I wanted to be. I went on long walks along the Thames, explored the city, became familiar with all of the cobblestone streets, and spent time [morbidly] reading books in the hidden cemetery behind my flat. [I guess I have developed a habit of naming my albums after the last song!] The song “Cowley Road” was written after I moved back to the States. I missed my time in England and longed to be able to move back there.

Me: Oh, THAT Cowley Road. I lived in Oxford and know that road. LOL. Anyway, "Cowley Road" was up for a Grammy nomination three years ago, is that right? Your first release up for a Grammy?! When and how did you find out it was nominated?

Gayle: Yes, I was on the ballot for the ’09 Grammy’s for Best Female Vocal Performance for “Just For Now” from the "Cowley Road" E.P. (which pre-dates Imogen Heap’s song! Haha) and for Best Pop Album for the E.P. That was my first attempt at submitting something for the Grammy’s and it was a really exciting time. I was working with a PR firm at the time and they submitted me, so I heard from them that I made it onto the ballot. I think I texted and emailed every single person I had ever met. I was so thrilled!

Me: You must've had a party. I would have done. Did you get to go to the Grammys?

Gayle: I didn’t have a party. I should have, but I think I planned on having one if I got a proper nomination. No, I didn’t go to the Grammy’s, but there’s always next year, right?

Me: Gayle, when did you first start to play an instrument, and what was the first?

Gayle: I started playing the piano when I was four and was classically trained. I got a piano scholarship for college, but didn’t end up finishing the degree because I found it to be too competitive and I wanted to enjoy music.

Me: Then when did you start to write songs? Do you write lyrics or music first?

Gayle: I began [officially] writing songs when I was eight. I don’t have a specific formula for writing songs. Occasionally I will write the music first and then the lyrics, but it really just depends on the song. Sometimes I hear the whole thing in my head and write it all at once, and sometimes I write poetry or lyrics and then put it to music.

Me: My dad used to write lyrics first most of the time, and then the music. I tried to write lyrics, but was never that good. I never did learn to write music, or really play an instrument, but I do play the kazoo so if you ever need as kazoo player... Anyway, how many songs have you written?

Gayle: I will definitely hit you up for kazoo sometime. Clare and the Reasons, one of my favorite bands, use the kazoo and I love it. I have written over 1700 songs… but I’m not sure exactly how many I’ve written at this point. I write all the time.

Me: Seventeen hundred?! I wrote about six. I have to ask you about Raincoat Records, the label you are on. That's your own label, isn't it? Why did you name your label Raincoat Records?

Gayle: I started Raincoat Records in 2006 as a reaction to some extremely negative experiences in the music industry. I had a label offer to house my 1917 Brooklyn & Sons piano for me… but then throw it away when I didn’t sign. Shortly after that I had to take a label to small claims court when they didn’t pay for a meeting with an industry rep and tried to make me pay for it. Those experiences along with a myriad of others [you musicians out there know what I mean] made me decide that even if I didn’t do things as well as another label, that I wouldn’t knowingly screw myself over. I started Raincoat as a way to take care of myself until something better came along. Now it’s become a lot more than that to me. I named it Raincoat because it would be my way to take care of my career instead of relying on untrustworthy or unreliable people. I just put on my coat to face the stormy industry. I am happy that I’ve learned so much about doing things myself, and have been able to improve my discernment on which companies and people I should be involved with in music. I’ve grown so much from this and I am so happy that things turned out the way they did.

Me: Do you have anybody else on the roster who would wanna be interviewed for the Phile?

Gayle: I unofficially help out several other artists with booking, etc., but no one else is really officially on the roster. I do know a TON of artists that would probably love to give an interview. The girl I toured with last week, Vanja James, comes to mind, along with Rheanna Downey and Caleb Jude Green, who both released albums last year. They can all be found on Facebook.

Me: Was setting up a label easy or hard, and do you have help running it?

Gayle: Everything was hard for me when I started, but I stuck to it and have finally figured out how to do things. I’m an artist, so my artist brain gets stressed by a lot of the business I have to do, but over the last few years I have developed a strong group of people around me who work with me. It’s so much easier to have a team of people supporting you when you’re a musician. Musicians who manage themselves end up doing the job of 15-20 people. It can exhaust the most motivated person pretty quickly if the workload doesn’t get divided.

Me: I noticed you like to tour, Gayle. Ever played down here in Florida? Will you be hitting Florida anytime soon?

Gayle: A: I do LOVE to tour. I haven’t played in Florida yet, but I plan on touring pretty heavily this year now that my album/coloring book is out. I hope to get to Florida within the next 5 months. I’ll let you know.

Me: Are there any favorite shows you have played? Or least favorite shows come to think of it?

Gayle: My favorite show was three summers ago in Munich, Germany. I played a show at Café King that was promoted by the Seuddeutsche Zeitung. It was set up only me and I played for two hours. They treated me so well… audience and venue alike, and I got three encores. It was one of those magical shows where everything goes better than I ever hoped. People connected with me and with my songs even with the language barrier. I can’t wait to get back to Germany!!! The article they published for me named me Die Schutzpatroninder Gartenzwerge, which is the Patron Saint of Garden Dwarves. You can Google that and my name will come up.

Me: Gayle, thanks very much for being on the Phile. I wish you continued success. Go ahead and plug your website and anything else you wanna.

Gayle: Thanks so much for having me! You can find me on iTunes, Rhapsody, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube,, etc. My official site is, and I’m now on Bandcamp! Find me and friend me.

Me: Thanks again, and come back again... please.

Gayle: You’re welcome and I will :D.

There you go, kids, another entry of the Phile. Thanks to Gayle for a great interview. I love it when a guest has long answers like she did. Okay, the Phile will be back with Captain RibMan, a super hero. I ain't kidding. Then on Monday it's artist AJ Paglia. Then next Wednesday it's French singer Pascale Frossard. I'm English, what am I doing having a French person on the Phile? Anyway, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. May the Phorce be with you.

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