Monday, June 18, 2012

Pheaturing Alumni Lee Negin


Hello, kids, welcome to the Phile, how are you? Did you guys have a good Father's Day yesterday? My son and wife surprised me by taking me to a restaurant called The Tilted Kilt, where waitresses looked like this. 


I have the best wife and son ever. And I ate a sandwich called The Fat Bastard. I had to eat something named after me.  A new report found that Mitt Romney’s economic plan would not have any effect on unemployment. When he heard that Romney’s plan wouldn’t make any difference, Obama was like, “Hey, that’s MY thing!”  At a recent speech Obama said he wants to build an economy where hard work pays off. Which explains why Obama’s approval rating just went down by three Kardashians. Mitt Romney just released a new campaign ad about the economy featuring out-of-work Americans. It gets weird at the end when he says, “I’m Mitt Romney, and I fired all these people.”  Romney visited a restaurant in Iowa, and had trouble thinking of the word for donut. Newt Gingrich merely responded, "That never would have happened if I were the nominee."  Police in Georgia are looking for people who stole 400,000 toothpicks from a warehouse. Fortunately, one of the suspects has a clear alibi... a tiny piece of spinach in his teeth.  Are you guys watching the NBA playoffs? I haven't been. LeBron James revealed that he just finished reading all three books in "The Hunger Games" trilogy. The bad news is he did it last night during the fourth quarter.  I heard that Snooki, Pauly D, and The Situation will each make $5 million for this season's "Jersey Shore." It just goes to show that if you put your mind to something and work hard, you're wasting your time.  The other night Giants pitcher Matt Cain threw his team's first-ever perfect game against the Astros. The Astros went three hours without making it to first base, or as I used to call that... a date.  Tim Tebow said he's gained nine pounds since joining the Jets and plans to gain even more weight. You can tell his eating habits have changed. Now, he spends most of his time praying for the return of the McRib. Happy birthday to Paul McCartney. He’s 70 years old, so now when he says he wants to hold your hand, it’s so that he can cross the street. He’s changing some of the lyrics to his songs, such as, “I wanna hold your cane.” Talking about walking across the street, one of my favorite Beatles albums is "Abbey Road", and I love that album cover. But did you ever see the original version they were gonna use? No. I have it right here, kids.

I am glad they went to the one they used, aren't you? I am so happy they released a Paul McCartney inspirational poster.

You know, that Snow White and the Huntsman movie is still doing good in the box office. Did you see the new poster for it?


Okay, and now for some sad news...

Rodney King
April 2, 1965 - June 17, 2012
Can't we all just learn how to swim?

Alright, well, a past character on the Phile wanted to come on and give an exclusive on something he just got his hands on. I have no idea what it is myself, so please welcome to the Phile once again...


 Hear Ye, Hear Ye! The schedule for the FINAL day of the 46th Democrat National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. on September 6, 2012 has been released. Sounds like a fun time for all delegates and will no doubt resemble the Star Wars Bar Scene! 
 4:00 PM Opening Flag Burning Ceremony.
 4:05 PM Singing of "God Damn America" led by Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
 4:10 PM Pledge of Allegiance to Obama.
 4:15 PM Ceremonial 'I Hate America' led by Michelle Obama.
 4:30 PM Tips on Dodging Sniper Fire, Hillary Clinton.
 4:45 PM Al Sharpton Leads Castrati Choir in Singing, "Great Balls of Fire".
 5:00 PM UFO Abduction Survival, Joe Biden.
 5:30 PM Eliot Spitzer Speaks on "Family Values" via Satellite.
 5:45 PM Tribute to All 57 States.
 6:00 PM Joe Biden Delivers 100,000-Word Speech Featuring 23-Minute Question and 2-Hour Answer.
 8:30 PM Airing of Grievances by the Clintons.
 9:00 PM Bill Clinton Delivers Rousing Endorsement of Obama Girl.
 9:15 PM Tribute Film to Freedom Fighters at Gitmo by Michael Moore.
 9:45 PM Personal Finance Seminar - Charlie Rangel.
10:00 PM Denunciation of Bitter Gun Owners, Rosie O'Donnell.
10:30 PM Ceremonial Waving of White Flag for Iraq & Afghanistan.
11:00 PM Obama Energy Plan Symposium/Tire Gauge Demonstration.
11:15 PM Free Gov. Blagojevich Rally.
11:30 PM Obama Accepts Tony and Latin Grammy Awards.
11:45 PM Feeding of the Delegates with 5 Loaves and 2 Fish, Obama Presiding.
12:00 AM Official Nomination of Obama by Bill Maher.
12:01 AM Obama Accepts Nomination as Lord and Savior.
12:05 AM Celestial Choirs Sing 3:00 AM Biden Delivers Acceptance Speech Note: There is one omission in the list above: Memorial recognition of Obama's surrogate son, Trayvon, will be in conjunction with the 12:05 AM event. 
OPTION: Closing with a "Declaration of War" on the rich; to be decided just before the Convention. Mitt Romney will be declared "Public Enemy Number One".

Thank you, Jason.

Hmmmm. Oh, well. The 20th artist to be pheratured in the P.P.A.G. is legendary comic artist Bob Budiansky, and this is one of his pieces.

Bob will be a guest on the Phile next week. Look forward to it, kids.

Alright, today's Alumni guest was last on the Phile on November 9th, last year. Sincee then he has a new album out called "Technodelic Transmissions". Please welcome to the Phile one of the deepest guests I ever had... Lee Negin.

Me: Hello, Lee, welcome back to the Phile. How have you been?

Lee: Quite well, thank you. I hope all is well with you.

Me: Yeah, not bad. Okay, first of, let's get to the chase... last time you were here you mentioned a 2-CD opera you were working on based on your character Cheeze. Are you still coming out with that? 

Lee: Since I was last ‘here,’ I completed writing and recording a double album “Technopera” I lined up a very cool German artist to do the cover, and some other artists (Japanese, Korean) to do a booklet. I was hoping to release it in several formats (vinyl, CD, digital download)…. However, I gave up on the idea (money issues) and released my new album “Technodelic Transmissions” instead, which has a track or two from the “opera.” So, my mythic “Technopera” will go down in the anals (sic) of rock lore and perhaps be released posthumously.

Me: For those that don't know, tell them who Cheeze is, Lee.

Lee: A cool, swinging cat I hang out with. Since writing the “opera” he now has a vivid back-story, involving a wonderbread-velveeta-mayonaise mid-waste upbringing, a moment of epiphany involving THC (marijuana)-alien abduction-anal probes-Chinese fornication and his subsequent use as a host-body avatar for reptilian alien dudes who observe us for their vicarious amusement. Can you dig that? The ‘technopera’ is epic, along the lines of the Babylonian epic of Gilgamesh, only Cheeze was a jazz trumpet player in a bebop combo, gigging in Shanghai before he became a Taoist immortal.

Me: I am glad he is pheatured on the new album "Technodelic Transmissions". Lee, you are always so deep, my friend. What is a technodelic?

Lee: Is ‘deep’ a synonym for thick?

Me: I hope not.

Lee: Technodelic is a little word I thought I coined combining 2 genres of music I adore and dabble in: techno and psychedelic. The new album combines those influences.

Me: This is your fourth album in little over a year, Lee. You must spend a lot of your time in the studio. Are you already working on your next project?

Lee: Indeed. When I’m not at my university gig, I am in the recording studio. The absence of a social life makes one quite productive! Yes, I am working on a few projects. A follow-up to “Wu Wei” (electronica-ambient-experimental) which might be released on a Russian label; a possible collaboration with a Korean Pansori singer (note: Pansori is a genre of Korean traditional music); some videos, etc. 

Me: Do you do everything on the album, Lee? Wait, you have girls singing on it, right?

Lee: On the first track, “Cheeze Goes E-MmENTAL,” my backing singers, The Chinese Chicks are lending their support. They are some of my Chinese female students... my university has many exchange students, and I formed a backing choir with them. Elvis had his background chicks, Ray Charles had his... a long tradition, so of course it’s de rigueur for Cheeze and I. Besides that, I do everything else.

Me: So, no one else plays on the album with you?

Lee: Me, Myself and I. The Three Stooges.

Me: Did you produce this one yourself?

Lee: Guilty.

Me: Lee, ever think about doing acoustic or rock album?

Lee: Rock is dead. Acoustic in the sense of ‘ethnic’ and/or western classical instrument... yes. I incorporate them in most of my music, but they are usually sampled and I am playing them by keyboard. On one track from “Technodelic Transmissions” called, “The Shattered Moon, The Dancing Stars” I am playing a middle-eastern stringed instrument, but it’s my Fender Strat (electric guitar) through my Roland guitar synthesizer. On the album “Hungry Ghosts,” I played acoustic drums, piano and trumpet and on some of my current (unreleased) material I am playing flugelhorn. If I had the wherewithal, I’d love to write/record with a western classical orchestra and ‘ethnic’ singers and musicians. Again, I am doing that now with samples but it would be way cool to set up an orchestra in Abbey Road studios… I am drooling (listen to my track, “Just So” on my new album… shades of George Martin and Jack Nitzsche, two of my many ‘mentors’).

Me: You started out as a rock singer, am I right?

Lee: Hmmm… Actually, I ‘started’ as a trumpet player when I was about 7 years old. In my first pop music group, I started singing (I was 12). From then on, through high school (I played in bars and clubs on weekends as a drummer) I was also a vocalist. This continued (my singing) until a few years back, when I ‘lost’ my voice... excessive substance abuse and singing like Johnny Winter! I sang on “Hungry Ghosts” with mixed results. I do sing on “Cheeze Goes E-MmENTAL” but it’s a character, if that makes sense.

Me: What music do you listen to now, and what were your favorite bands growing up?

Lee: My list of favorite bands would be too long. As far as listening to music now: I don’t. I stopped years ago. I am in the studio a lot, so when I’m not I give my ears a break. Besides that, I haven’t heard anything interesting (I check online occasionally) in years.

Me: Apart from being a workaholic musician, Lee, you are also a professor. Tell the readers where you teach again. You live in South Korea, right?

Lee: Yes. I teach at a university in Seoul.

Me: You teach something called cross-cultural communication. What on Earth is that?

Lee: It’s not on Earth. It’s teaching my students how to communicate with aliens (actually, that’s not far from the truth). Briefly, communication involves much more than language. If you only study a language, but are ignorant of its cultural context (values, beliefs, social practices, norms) than there are always communication problems. I’ll spare the reader and stop here.

Me: Did you make up the course yourself?

Lee: Yes and no.

Me: Ever think of writing a book on that subject?

Lee: There are already several.

Me: So, how far away are you from North Korea?

Lee: Too close for comfort. Literally.

Me: Do you hear a lot about North Korea where you live?

Lee: Of course. This is a very painful, divisive topic for the Korean people. However, unlike “foreigners,” people here don’t worry about an imminent attack. Most living South Koreans have spent their entire lives in a divided Korea, so for them it’s just a part of life, and life goes on.

Me: What did South Koreans think of Kim-il?

Lee: Probably what most Libyans thought of Moammar Khadafi. Let’s just say he and his dad were not very popular here.

 Me: Okay, let's get back to your music, Lee. Are your students aware of your music?

 Lee: Yes, many have heard tracks online and/or seen a video or two. Let’s just say Korea is not a mecca for non-mainstream types of music (mainstream being western pop stars or their own version, the ubiquitous K-Pop).

Me: I have to ask you about two songs on the latest album... one is called "Yubune De Onara". What does that mean?

Lee: It’s Japanese. Literal translation: Fart in the bathtub.

Me: Nice! You also have a song called "Jimi Plays Lhasa". Is that Jimi Hendrix? What is Lhasa?

Lee: “Jimi” is indeed Mr. Hendrix. Lhasa is the capital city of Tibet. There was a concert video/album called “Jimi Plays Berkeley.” My little homage.

Me: You mentioned last time you were here you are going to tour Europe and Asia I think it was. Are you still planning that tour?

Lee: It’s on the back burner for now, but I have the gear in place…perhaps later this year.

Me: Do you have a band set up?

Lee: Once again, the 3 stooges! It will be me, my laptop and some instruments (perhaps guitar controlling synths and a keyboard).

Me: How many people would you need, Lee?

Lee: To recreate my studio recordings…a cast of thousands. For the live gigs, I will compose material suited... meaning, I can do it alone with my laptop.

Me: Lee, thanks for being back on the Phile. Go ahead and plug your website and tell the Phile readers something deep they should think about. All the best, and come back again.

Lee: Cheers, Jason. Much appreciated. Some sites:,,,  Words of wisdom: “Don’t eat that yellow snow.” – Frank Zappa.

There you go, kids, the last of three entries in a row. Thanks to Lee for another great interview. The Phile will back on Sunday with Bill Rozar from the band Witches In Bikinis. Then on Monday it's British Blues legend Chris Youlden and the Sunday after that is Marvel comics legend artist Bob Budiansky. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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