Monday, June 25, 2012

Pheaturing Chris Youlden


Hello, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday, a very gloomy Monday. I don't know what the weather is where you live, but here in Central Florida there's been nothing but rain for three days now. So, do you guys play golf? President Obama recently played his 100th round of golf since taking office. You could tell it was Obama, because he finished about 14 trillion over par. That’s right, 100 rounds of golf since being elected. It was weird when Obama asked his caddie for a recommendation and he was like, “Uhh, don’t play so much golf?”  A new study found that Republicans are more likely to go to Dunkin’ Donuts, while Democrats are more likely to get their breakfast at Starbucks. While Governor Chris Christie takes the bipartisan route and gets a breakfast from each.  Next month two men in Oregon plan to travel 400 miles in two lawn chairs, connected to a bunch of balloons. Or as North Korea calls that, "the space program." The other day President Obama used his executive privileges to withhold documents about the weapons operation called Fast and Furious. I don't know what's scarier... that we can't see those documents or that the government is naming operations after Vin Diesel movies.  There is talk that a "Sesame Street" movie is in the works. It got weird when Cookie Monster was like, "Me willing to go nude if done tastefully."  There's a new website called Sexy Mandarin that uses half-naked models to help you learn Chinese. Or in other words, there's a new website where you won't learn Chinese. What is the name of this website?  A new report found that President Obama's campaign spent $6 million more than it raised last month. Which explains why his latest campaign ad ended with the phrase, "I'm Barack Obama and I'm selling some old CDs on Craigslist."  A new survey found that only 31 percent of Americans would want to sit next to Mitt Romney on a flight. Romney was so upset, he was like, "I don't understand. How would they get on my private jet?" Just 31 percent of Americans said they would sit next to Romney on an airplane and 57 percent would rather sit next to president Obama... while 100 percent would want to watch them have to sit next to each other, just have them go at it.  There was a big Twitter outage in the U.S. a few days ago. Or as people at work put it, "Well, I guess I better get back to Facebook."  Well, I mentioned the rain we are getting. It's all because of Tropical Storm Debby. Why won't she just go to Dallas? There's rain all over the East Coast, fires in Colorado and caterpillar's over some guy's car in the Midwest. Check this shit out.

Don't go to the beach in this weather, kids. The winds will knock your head off, and I have proof.


Well, there's one cool thing about the Summer, and that is you see a lot of bikinis. Man, what a great invention. So, for the next few weeks on the Phile I will show you some cool, different bikinis. Would you like to spend $30 million for a piece of bikini? It sounds crazy but it's true. The glittering $30 million bikini has been created by Susan Rosen with Steinmetz Diamonds. This is the world's most expensive bikini, it uses all diamonds and no fabric. The bikini features over 150 carats of D Flawless diamonds, including a 51 carat D Flawless Pear Shape, a 30 carat D Flawless Emerald Cut, a pair of 15 carat D Flawless Rounds and a pair of 8 carat D Flawless Pear Shapes all set in platinum. Model Molly Sims wore this diamond-studded bikini for the centerfold of the 2006 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. And yeah, fellas, I have a picture for you. Don't say I didn't give you anything.

Okay, now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's...


Top Ten Things You Don't Want To Hear on Your Summer Vacation
10. "It's a staycation and they still lost our luggage."
9. "Since when was the Grand Canyon filled with empty beer cans?"
8. "I can steer the ship much closer to those girls on the rocks."
7. "We haven't seen sharks in these waters for well over a week."
6. "You can get out of jail by donating one of your kidneys."
5. "The pilot called in sick, but this plane practically flies itself."
4. "I realize I'm not a TSA worker, and I realize you're just in line to buy a soda, but I'd like to pat you down anyway."
3. "That's not sunscreen lotion."
2. "What do you mean the dog will be riding home with the Romneys?"
And the number one thing you don't want to hear on your Summer vacation...
1. "Yes, Governor Christie, swimsuits are optional."


You'd think being a princess would be a little easier by this point.  But then your most recent trip outside the castle gates only drums up about a hundred million dollars and everyone is expecting Avatar-level takes, or at least a solid 300, and that's when they change the game on you. Thanks to the alleged box-office poison that is overt female-ness, they have to go disguise the next princess movie as a non-princess movie to trick people into seeing it. Mere mega-success is no longer an option. They now require ass-kicking-mega-success, plus merchandising that somehow turns the princess into a car, or else they can never make any more movies about princesses. Also, princesses are the only women they know how to create. Yes, yes, there was Lilo, but she ran around hitting people, which is just not very princess-y. Anyway, they don't have time to think about this any harder than they already do. Sorry.  But now, in this corner, weighing an unknown quantity of scrappy pounds, is Disney-Pixar refusenik royalty Merida (Kelly Macdonald), a young woman whose uncontrollably curly red hair is almost its own character and whose archery skills make her something of a cartoon Katniss. Even better, she's not getting married today... or ever, probably... to the first-born son of a kindred clan in her medieval Scottish world, even if it means she could prevent the men from starting a giant war. They'd find a reason to start one all the same.  In fact, Merida is so rambunctiously rebellious in the face of expectations placed upon her by royal tradition that she fights ferociously with her mother the queen (Emma Thompson) over corsets, weaponry, that hair and, most importantly, her future role in the kingdom. She also enters a win-the-princess's-hand-in-marriage archery competition just so she can crush the boys and claim herself for herself, then embraces the black magic of a witch who claims to have just the thing to make mom come around. And when was the last time a princess encountered a witch in a forest and anything good came of it?  The witch's curse leads to a transformation I won't talk about here, but it's one that provides the movie with most of its second-half comedy and all of its drama, even as it threatens to become an occasional obstacle, both to the title's promise of epic courage and to the action's momentum. And at the same time, it's refreshing enough just to see this kind of protagonist in situations that demand acknowledging the complications that arise when traditionally masculine and traditionally feminine approaches to conflict butt heads. She's not a girl wanting to be a boy, she just wants not to be told how to be a girl. Sometimes the movie is on board for this, sometimes less so. Which means it's as messy in the narrative department as it is impeccably beautiful to look at and live in for two hours. And it still has everything the word "Pixar" has come to mean: intelligence, humor, beauty and a humane quality you only miss when you see other films that get so lost in cleverness and tech-y stunts that they forget to move you. So if it stumbles a little while trying to be an action movie with a mother/daughter love story at its center, if it tries a little too hard to loosen the corset of what stories can be told and to whom, then so be it. A stumble in the ri ght direction will still get you to your destination. Be that said, I have all the other Pixar movies on Blu-ray and/or DVD so I will be getting this one as well. Oh... I give it a 9.

The 20th artist to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Art Gallery is acclaimed comic book artist Bob Budiansky, and this is one of his pieces.

You see that? Captain Britain is the greatest superhero of them all. Anyway, Bob will be a guest on the Phile next Sunday.

Okay, today's guest is an English blues singer who from from 1967 until 1970 was the the singer with the British blues band, Savoy Brown. Since those days he has released several solo albums, and his latest album "Greek Street" is with the band Waydown. It is a huge honor to have him here on the Phile. Please welcome... Chris Youlden!

Me: Hello, Chris, welcome to the Phile, or can I call you Crisps? Do you remember when I called you Crisps when I was little?

Chris: Nice to communicate.  Yes, I think I have a memory of it.

Jason: How are you, sir?

Chris: I'm okay.

Me: Recently I interviewed Kim Simmonds and Shakey Vick, sir, so I have to say it's a huge honor to be interviewing you. The last time I probably saw you was at the Highlands Heath flat in Putney when I was four or five years old. Am I right?

Chris: Yes, you’re probably right.

Me: I remember you used to wear this big fur jacket and have this big tall hat. Do you still have them both?

Chris: They’re probably in the loft somewhere.

Me: My dad said before in interviews and to me that he suggested once to you you should change your name to Luther Foghat. What did you think when he suggested that? It's a good job you didn't, because who knows what Foghat would of been named.

Chris: On the way back from a gig, to amuse ourselves, we invented the name of a fictional blues character. I came up with Luther, your dad came up with Foghat.

Me: Did you think for a second to change your name?

Chris: I don’t think so. I never thought I could get away with it.

Me: Where was the first place you met my dad, Chris? You both joined Savoy Brown about the same time, right?

Chris: I first met your dad circa 1966. He, brother John and Jim Baikie advertised for people to complete a blues band they were forming. Graham and I went along and joined. Your dad joined Savoy something like two to three months after I did.

Me: Jim Baikie, comic book artist. I hope to have him on the Phile as well soon. I have a great picture of you and my dad in Savoy brown. And in the picture you are wearing that hat and fur coat.

Me: That's you, Roger Earl, Kim Simmonds, my dad, and Tony Stevens. So, when was the last time you spoke or saw my dad? You guys all jammed when we moved back in England, am I right? Sometime in the 80's?

Chris: Yes, it was in the 80’s. Bob Brunning got a gig at the 100 Club. Your dad, Bob Hall, Micky Waller and I were the rest of the band.

Me: You left Savoy Brown before my dad, Roger and Tony left and formed Foghat. I know why my dad left the band, Chris, did you leave Savoy Brown for the same reason?

Chris: I felt it was the right time to move on.

Me: Whose idea was it for my dad to take singing duties on side two of the "Blue Matter" album?

Chris: It came about because by the time the recording date came around, I had developed a bad case of tonsillitis and had lost my voice... the equivalent of a guitarist breaking his fingers.

Me: When was the first time you came to the States? I am guessing that was with the "Getting to the Point" album. What was the first state you visited and what was your first thought when you arrived in the U.S.?

Chris: That first time was in January 1969. The first state I visited was New York. Our first gigs were at a place called The Scene in Manhattan. I felt a mix of wonder and disbelief. My generation grew up at a time when American popular culture in all it’s forms was probably at it’s most influential in the UK. I never dreamed I would ever get to the USA.

Me: "Getting to the Point" was the second Savoy Brown album. The first one "Street Corner Talking" had a lot of covers, but with "Getting to the Point", you wrote a fair share of tracks. Were you song writing before or started writing when you joined Savoy?

Chris: I started writing songs when I was 18.

Me: How did you get to be the lead singer in Savoy Brown anyway? Did Kim approach you?

Chris: Harry Simmonds, Kim's Brother who was the manager approached me about taking on the job.

Me: The first song on "Getting to the Point" is "Flood in Houston". Did you and Kim write that song after hearing about a real flood in Houston on the news?

Chris: Not personally but I don’t know whether Kim had heard of an actual flood in Houston... he came up with the title.

Me: Hey, did you see or hear the in the TV show "CSI: NY" they used the song "Train to Nowhere" as a clue in one of the episodes?

Chris: Yes I did... it was quite a surreal experience.

Me: I have to ask you about another song while we're at it... "Savoy Brown Boogie" which is like 20 minutes and fills up the B-side to "A Step Further". In this song you guys play "Hernando's Hideaway", "Purple Haze" and "Little Queenie". Was this all spontaneous and was this typical of a Savoy Brown show?

Chris: It began life as a much shorter boogie song. In the USA we lengthened it and put in various extracts from other songs. We’d get ideas for these in the dressing room prior to going on stage. The performance of the song as a whole was largely spontaneous within it’s basic framework. It was the only song of that type that we did. We performed it nightly for possibly 18 months.

Me: This was all recorded at The Cooks Ferry Inn in London. Is that place still there?

Chris: The building may still be there but the club hasn’t existed for a long time.

Me: When you left Savoy Brown you started your own solo career, Chris. Your first solo album "Nowhere Road" was filled with a very impressive band, sir. Danny Kirwin, who played with Fleetwood Mac, Chris Spedding and Pete Wingfield who both worked with Sir Paul McCartney. And Roy Babbington who worked since with Elvis Costello. Did you hand pick these gentlemen, or were they session musicians at the time?

Chris: I was familiar with the names of the musicians you mention but had never worked with them. They were probably selected by the arranger of the orchestral tracks which were recorded first. I think it was Pete Wingfield who brought in Danny Kirwan for the band tracks.. They were all doing sessions in that period.

Me: By the way, Chris Spedding had a bit part in McCartney's "Give My Regards to Broad Street" film. Did you know that?

Chris: No, I didn’t know about that.

Me: That movie needs to be released on Blu-ray. By the way, my dad used to say there's the Stones fans and there's The Beatles fans. What was he back then, do you know? And what were you?

Chris: I can’t remember discussing it with him but I don’t think either of us as fans of the Stones or The Beatles. Our heroes would have been American Rock n’ Roll and blues singers/musicians. In the early sixties The Beatles were promoted as a beat group whereas the Stones were part of the Rhythm n’ Blues scene. So we would have preferred the Stones.

Me: You're right, he was more of a Stones fan. Chris, you had a big gap music wise between the album "Legend" that came out in 1979 and "Second Sight" which came out in 1991. Did you give up playing music? What did you in between time?

Chris: Mostly gigging and song writing. I guested on a couple of tracks on an album the guitarist Mick Pini made for Ace UK/Line in Germany in 1989.

Me: I never knew you played guitar to just recently, Crisps. When did you start to play?

Chris: Probably when I was 18 in 1962 and for that I have to thank my old buddy John White. We were getting into Chicago and downhome blues at the time. He had an acoustic guitar which he donated to me when he made his own solid-bodied model. He was the impetus behind the formation of my first band... the Downhome Blues Band. We advertised for like-minded musicians which is how I came to meet Shakey.

Me: What was the first song you learnt to play? Who is your favorite guitarist of all time and who were your influences growing up?

Chris: The first song I ever learned at the age of 4 was a Mills Brothers track called "Java Jive", part of my dad’s extensive record collection. In vocal terms I’ve always sung along to records so I learned a great many rock ‘n roll and early rhythm ‘n blues songs. Guitar wise the first was probably "Honey Bee". As far as the greatest guitarist of all time goes, there are very many of them; to pluck a name at random as one contender I’d say Wayne Bennet. As far as influences are concerned. My dad had a great record collection containing a large amount of jazz and jazz-related records. In my early teens I went through 50’s rock ‘n roll helped by my cousin Tony Yeomans’ large record collection and then I started collecting myself... rock ‘n roll, rhythm ‘n blues, blues, soul and jazz. I reckon I’ve been influenced by it all.

Me: Chris, I am so glad you are back making music and working with Shakey Vick. How did he approach you to be back in his band Waydown?

Chris: He told me was going to make what became the Waydown album and asked me whether I wanted to play a part in it.

Me: Crisps, thanks so much for spending time here and being on the Phile. I have a milion more questions to ask you, so I hope you'll come back on the Phile again soon. Tell Shakey I said hello.

Chris: Good to hear from you, Jason. I’m seeing Shakey soon so I’ll give him your regards.

Me: All the best, and take care, sir.

Chris: Cheers.

Man, that was one of the best interviews I have ever done. I have waited so long to have Chris here on the Phile. Thanks to Shakey Vick for hooking it up, and of course thanks to Chris. The Phile will be back next Sunday with artist Bob Budiansky. Then on Monday it's singer Jenn Summers. The following weekend it'll be singer Kim Edwards and British blues musician Mick Clarke. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Oh, and be safe out there. The weather sucks.

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