Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pheaturing Alumni Jeff Bell, Dave Bloomfield, Rob Hughes & David Sparrow From Burning Jet Black

Hello, even though I might make fun of the recent situation in Colorado this entry is for the memory of those people in Colorado who were senselessly killed and wounded. It truly shows how sporadic and random life can be and how quickly it can end. Whatever you may believe if you believe in no life after death or even if you do, it's a terrible shame that someone's life was brought to an abrupt end because of the unmotivated and ill actions of another. Now enjoy the Phile.

Hello, everybody, and welcome to another entry of the Phile. How are you?  Well, who is excited for the Olympics in five days? I am... I wish I was in London though. Anyway, critics are saying the  Chinese made uniforms are un-American. Have you looked around America lately? Cheap crap made in China. That's what we're wearing. Does it get any more American than that? Designer Ralph Lauren is trying to calm the controversy over the fact that those Olympic uniforms they produced were made in China. Well, he now says the uniforms they make for the 2014 winter Olympics will be made right here in the USA using our own good old fashioned illegal immigrants. Well, Harry Reid and other members of congress, they're just furious over this Olympic uniform deal. He says we should burn the uniforms, and it's an embarrassment and a disgrace. Not as embarrassing as congress constantly borrowing money from the Chinese, but still embarrassing.  After signing as a point guard with the New York Knicks, Jason Kidd was arrested Sunday night after he crashed his car into a pole. Following a long night of partying, crashed right into a pole. Which is odd. Typically the Knicks don't start crashing until April, right? In fact, witnesses say they haven't seen an NBA player that drunk since the day Kris Humphries married Kim Kardashian.  The big news in Washington now is the disappearance of Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. Nobody can find him. He's completely disappeared. People think he's either in rehab or he might have been given his own show on CNN.  Well, kids, I am excited that the President of the United States is gonna be a guest on the Phile tomorrow. I wonder what he thinks about Mitt Romney not wanting to reveal his tax returns. I'm thinking maybe the reason Mitt Romney doesn’t want to release his tax returns is because Mitt Romney is Batman.  The FBI is investigating a recent flight. Passengers found needles in their turkey sandwiches. Thank god it was just needles and not a real threat to safety like a 9 oz. bottle of body lotion.  The Boy Scouts of America has announced that they will continue to enforce their policy of banning opening gay boys from being scouts and openly gay adults from taking leadership positions in the organization. Between this and same sex marriage, people really don’t want gay people tying knots.  A new study claims that for the first time ever, Canadians are wealthier than Americans. We are their Mexico now it turns out. Over the past five years, the value of the Canadian household has risen above the American household. I think most of that came from Justin Bieber and he belongs to us now.  At the Beijing Olympics in 2008, they handed out 100,000 condoms. This year it's 150,000. That's 100,000 for the U.S. basketball team and 50,000 for everyone else.  Well, last night I went to see the new Batman movie and I was kinda surprised about his new look. I don't know what they were going for here.

Well, as I said at the start of this entry, this entry is dedicated to the people of Colorado, and of course the victims of the shootings Thursday night... or I guess it would be Friday morning. So, don't take offense at this joke that's coming up. It's all in fun, kids. Did you see the Batman ad Warner Brothers released after the shooting? If you didn't, take a look.

Well, Sony released this picture in Variety magazine or something.

I think that was a little uncalled for, don'tcha think?  Okay, let's get down to some serious business for a minute. A Phile reader and friend of mine named Art Lew who builds these really cool guitars has a great idea and wanted to come onto the Phile and talk about it. So, please welcome to the Phile...

Me: Hey, Art, what's up, sir? What is your idea?

Art: There is always two parts of to a hero. One part that does the deed, the other is to inspire others to do good. After what has happened in Colorado this past Friday, instead of lashing out or feeling pity. I choose to do what I can with what I got. Thus, I've started the new project. My intent is to have it donated for auction for the victims in Colorado. I'm not sure when it will be ready, but hopefully in the next week it will be ready to play. If any of you know a good charity, let me know.

Me: This is what you are working on.

Me: What else can you tell us about it? It looks already cool.

Art: It will be painted black and around the sound hole will go the blue ribbon with the outline of Batman.

Me: Art, thanks so much, good luck, and please come back soon to update us. It's a good thing you are doing, my friend. Art Lew, everybody! And man, I love his TARDIS guitar.

Okay, that was cool. Well, all through July I have been honoring one of the greatest inventions known to man. I am talking of course about the bikini. PETA has created a sexy edible fashion for vegetarians; the lettuce bikini. As part of PETA's Lettuce Lady Campaign, vegetarians and PETA supporters are allowing themselves to be adorned in lettuce and photographed for PETA's vegetarian media campaigns and making appearances at PETA events. The vegetarian alternative to the bacon bra is fashionable, non-greasy and reminiscent of Eve in the Garden of Eden. Anyone looking to promote vegetarianism can make their own lettuce bikini at home to get in on the natural fashion. Step by step instructions to create this strange lettuce bikini are available on the lettuce lady website and should be designed only once you're ready to wear it. All you need to create your own unique bikini from lettuce is romance lettuce, which is preferred because of its large leaves for covering your boobs and bum.

And now to see who is picking up daisies this week.

Stephen Covey
Oct 24, 1932 - July 16, 2012
#8. Keep breathing.

Kitty Wells
Aug 30, 1919 - July 16, 2012
Why do country singers always seem to have the best porn names?

I always feel sorry for the third movie in any trilogy. It has to tie everything up. It has to end at least somewhat happily. It can never be that second installment, which is almost always the best one, its middle-ness allowing for the seeming endless extension of a maddening and extremely pleasurable itch of unresolved tension. It gets to be The Empire Strikes Back. And then, when you're Christopher Nolan and your middle film was the insanely dark, insanely good and sometimes just frighteningly insane The Dark Knight, and your follow-up break-from-Batman film is Inception you've got a lot to live up to. And the great news is I believe he just did.  It's eight years later. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is back in seclusion, Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) is hiding the truth about the death and secret life of Harvey Dent in order to keep a lid on crime and the prisons stocked with criminals, "cat" burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) blithely plays both sides of the nemesis/ally divide, Alfred (Michael Caine) comes to an emotional breaking point and the brutally evil Bane (Tom Hardy) shows up in his own creepy mask to breathe like Darth Vader, croak-speak like Sean Connery and maybe try to use a nuclear device for his own purposes. Meanwhile, Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), rookie cop John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and philanthropist Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) weave themselves in and out of the story, offering varying degrees of help to Wayne and/or Batman. That's a lot of plates to spin for one movie and Nolan's precision keeps them all moving smoothly. He knows who to use when and where, allowing Hardy the space to create his own supervillain out of the now legendary shadow of Heath Ledger's Joker, giving Levitt the space to turn what could have been a generic stand-up-guy into a soulful, integral component and, best of all, gives wild card Anne Hathaway the opportunity to be both comic relief and physical menace without uttering a single campy purr.  Most importantly, this chapter doesn't rest on the previous films' accomplishments. It comes with its own surprises, emotional resonance and chaotic power. It's visually stunning, coherent and satisfying, not just a great third act, not just better than the sum of its mechanical parts, but also a fitting finale for what is really a 7 1/2 hour opera of blackness and tragedy. It's about the world right now in all of its confusion and terror, made even more unsettling by mixed-up displays of corruption and revolution and a button-pushing, almost dangerous willingness to exploit it all visually in the service of keeping the audience wondering where its heart truly lies.  In the end it's about more than a neurotic man in a cape and mask fighting bad guys. It's about the seeming impossibility of holding modern life together. And it's the heaviest, most anxiety-ridden, lights-out thing to ever be born from a series of comic books, the melancholy, moving flipside of The Avengers' optimistic, rousing, we're-all-in-this-together spirt, the summer movie we deserve instead of the one we think we need. It gets a 10, and yep, I will be getting this movie.

Alright, well, as you might've heard Chik-Fil-A has come out and said they don't support gay marriage, and are pretty anti-gay. Well, a friend and fan of the Phile wanted to come along and throw in his two-cents. So, please welcome back top the Phile...

Jason, I was thinking about Chik-Fil-A hating gay people and how the president recently admitted that he hates gays and that he donates lots and lots of money to anti-gay hate groups. Do you think he ever had to just deal with a really annoying gay dude and was like "Enough! I will never deal with these people again." I bet Wendy's and IHOP don't support homos. Although I do enjoy Chik-Fil-A's waffle fries.

The 21st artist to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Art Gallery is Mad Magazine artist Anton Emdin, and this is one of his pieces.

I think that's the cast from "Glee". Anyway, Anton will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

Today's guests are the four Phile Alumni that used to be in a band called The Whiskey Saints. Now they are in a new band called Burning Jet Black whose debut EP "The Modern Egotist" is available on Bandcamp. They'll be enxt appearing at Tin Can Alehouse in San Diego on August 4th. Please welcome back to the Phile... Jeff Bell, Dave Bloomfield, Rob Hughes and David Sparrow from... Burning Jet Black.

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

Dave: Well dressed and properly groomed.

David: We’ve been well. Now we’re embarking on a new campaign to spread the word about Burning Jet Black.

Me: Okay, let's talk about the elephant in the room... LOL. You scared the shit out of me and hundred or so of your fans when you announced the break-up of the band. That wasn't nice, you guys. Whose dumb idea was it?

Dave: You can thank our drummer Jeff Bell for convincing us to roll with that "hilarious" practical joke. The rest of us thought it was pretty cruel, but it's really hard to say no to Jeff when he wants to be sadistic. There's definitely something really dark and frightening inside that man, shhh, let's talk about this later when he's not around.

Jeff: It was funny... okay, maybe to me only, but it was funny. Why am I getting all the blame here? Our manager was into it. SO much so he wanted to put a gravestone on the website with a countdown clock.

David: I thought it was kind of funny too. Honestly, things had been going somewhat slow in Whiskey Saints land. People came out of the woodwork for our “last” show. It was nice to create that excitement again, even if it was sort of underhanded.

Me: Has this been in the talks for awhile?

Dave: The idea of changing our name has come up in the past, for various reasons. At first we were worried about drawing the obvious comparison to Whiskeytown during the early days when there was a lot of alt-country influence in the tunes. More recently though, we just thought it was time to pick a name that better represented who we were and have always been as artists. Plus, it just sounded really cool, and let's be honest here, what else really matters when picking a band name?

Rob: We were also being labeled as a bar band which is not exactly how we saw ourselves, but when you play in a band with "whiskey" in the name and you have a large catalog of drinking music well, yeah, you're going to be labeled a bar band.

Me: So, let's get to it, why the band name change? I liked the name The Whiskey Saints.

Dave: As far as I'm concerned, Burning Jet Black sounds like a group of guys that play loud, dirty rock n roll with a ton of energy. That's always sort of been us, and is definitely what we shoot for at all the live shows. And no matter where we go with our music in the future, that name will hopefully stay true to us. However, The Whiskey Saints is a quality band name; the fact that several other bands use it is a testament to its popularity.

Me: Just because the 'musical direction' or anything else along those names change, you know you don't have to change the name of the band. Shit, if U2 did that, every album of theirs they would have a different name of the band.

Dave: Even U2 pulled the name change early in their career. Fortunately they did it before their first album... I guess we needed a couple of records to figure things out first.

Me: Okay, so where did the name Burning Jet Black come from. You know, I keep wanting to call the band Burning Jack Black.

David: I really want to be cryptic about this, and make people do some digging. I was on a kick listening to some old bands I love (and used to listen to constantly) and the song featuring this lyric popped up. So, it’s a lyric… hint, hint. It really stuck in my head and I suggested it to Bloomfield first, and then the rest of the guys. Bloomfield took to it right away, and it grew on Jeff and Rob pretty quickly. Like Bloomfield said before, it just sounds right. It fits the new tunes we’re making.

Me: So, is the look of the band different?

Dave: Not really. Sparrow has been sporting a lot of sexy leather garments recently, but we're still the same old t-shirt, jeans and chucks sort of band. No eyeliner, lip gloss, no one is trying to be the next Paul Stanley here, well, at least regarding his choice of attire and makeup.

Jeff: Seriously, we've been playing together the past 7 years, and the pairs of Chuck Taylors we have owned in that time would make him proud.

Rob: No one's going to mention that I bought a vest? Jason, I bought a vest.

David: We’re keeping it sexy.

Me: I love the band's 'first' song "Magazine Girl", but it sounds just like a Saints song. Do you think it's different?

Dave: As a bare bones song, I don't think it's too far off from the sort of tunes we've written in the past. It is definitely more rhythm driven than material we've done on other records, Rob and Jeff are sort of leading the way on a lot of the new songs. If anything it reminds me of something I would have written in my college days when all I listened to was the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's "Now I Got Worry" and Guided By Voices. We definitely approached the recording process much differently this time around, but we've done that with all of our records so far.

Jeff: Finally Rob and I are getting some sort of recognition. Maybe we will be seen more than the guys that remove the trash from our rehearsal space. I kind of forced that in there.

Rob: I think the last record that we put out under the old name was kind of a mix between our old sound and the Burning Jet Black sound. The more we write and play together, we're finding the sounds that we really like. So yeah, you'll hear some songs on the last record that are similar to the style of the songs on "The Modern Egotist."

Me: I hope you don't think I am being an ass by the way, guys. Y'know I am a HUGE fan no matter what you call yourselves. After all this is the fourth time you've been on the Phile. That's cool, right? 

Dave: Is it definitely always an honor to be here, Jason. We are more than happy to discuss the name change with you. Other people though, that's when the fists start flying.

David: Jason, you really have been an awesome part of our career. You’ve stayed a fan, and probably introduced more than a few new ones to us.

Me: Thanks, guys. The Whiskey Saints stared the same year as I mentioned before as the Phile in 2006 and ended in 2012... how long do you think this band will last?

Rob: For as long as we're still having fun with it. Being in a band allows you to do all sorts of things that would generally get you funny looks if you tried to do it outside of the music bubble. As long as we continue to do that and create music that we like, we'll be here.

Sparrow: Well, we’ve taken a bit of risk “recreating” the band, but things feel good, and the music sounds great. The bottom line is that we continue to make a product that we feel good about, otherwise it’s a waste of time. That feeling hasn’t changed, so the sky is the limit (…better yet a nationwide tour).

Me: Y'know, I almost ended the Phile this year as well, and thought about starting another called Phuck Phace. Boy, am I glad I didn't. Was there one time when you did all this you thought "what are we doing? We can't change the name."?

Dave: It's really tough knowing that years of work getting your name out there is all going down the toilet. Certain band members have definitely strongly argued against it in the past. But, in the end we just convinced ourselves that it's just another name, and a fresh start would be really exciting, maybe it's exactly what we need.

Rob: I argued against it for a while, but I'm happy with the change. Now I'm the leader in talking Bloomfield off of the buyer's remorse ledge.

Me: So, what did you do with the old Saints merch? Any old XXL t-shirts you have laying around? That's a hint by the way.

Dave: We pulled a Lehman Brothers at our last show and let people recklessly raid our merch. 

David: I distinctly remember yelling “Fire sale!” and literally throwing t-shirts at people. I’m pretty sure all we have left are some promotional posters.

Me: Let's talk about the video for "Magazine Girl", guys. Wow. Who came up with the concept and who are those girls?

David: The initial concept for “Magazine Girl” was conceived by our manager Joel Goodling. Bloomfield added his ideas to the treatment, and from there Daniel Mercaldi (the director, who also directed The Whiskey Saints “Before My Time”) really expanded the idea into the final cut. On top of rounding out the concept of the video, Dan stepped up with his connections to find the lovely ladies who were featured. A special shout out to Jana Landis and Melanie Christine Specht!

Me: Did you guys didn't direct it?

David: As I mentioned, Daniel Mercaldi directed “Magazine Girl.” He has been an avid supporter of ours for many years, and I can’t express how grateful I am for all the work he has done. Especially with this video, he has really demonstrated his vision and talent.

Dave: Since we love adding visuals to our music though, expect another band directed video in the near future.

Me: Most importantly, is that scary Pig Man gonna be back?

Dave: Pigman is alive and well, just got promoted to a supervisor position at Ross Dress for Less, that's all I'll say.

Jeff: I heard he is disgruntled and looking for other employment. Maybe he can take care of the trash in studio?

David: I am the walrus.

Me: Alright, let's talk about the new EP "The Modern Egotist". So, who is the modern egotist? 

David: As far as the particulars, Bloomfield can field that one as he came up with it. Beyond the specific reference, I think the modern egotist could be anyone these days. We are a Facebook nation and constantly want to share every little detail of our lives.

Dave: Without sounding too much up my own ass, as our songs are by no means political, the title is really a joking observation to modern America. He's sort of the typical male from any Bret Easton Ellis novel. Where did the title come from? I think Rob and I were watching an interview with Neil DeGrasse Tyson on television; he was stating factual info about younger generations of Americans not being interested in science and technology based on college grad statistics. We have a bunch of kids going to college for a finance or legal degree so they can rip off the rest of us while we try to get famous as musicians or score own our Bravo interior decorating show. Meanwhile, a lot of older people in this country like to point out that there's no self-sacrifice, no working towards a greater good anymore. All the time we either don't see a problem or blame our government, wall street, our parents. Ironically, the members of this band easily fall into the same category as people we're mocking.

Me: It's available on Bandcamp now, will it be on iTunes?

David: “The Modern Egotist” is available on iTunes, Spotify, CDBaby, etc.

Me: Are you guys planning on recording a full album?

David: As of right now, we have another EP worth of material that we’re planning on releasing later in the year. Although, that could change as we’re still writing a lot of new material.

Me: What can we expect from it?

Dave: I think we really tied together a lot of the best elements of our band on this record, and took it somewhere new and exciting.  "The Bootleg EP" had a raw, fuck it, here are the songs sort of attitude. "West" was definitely the sort of guitar rock album you could turn on at a party or play a bar full of drunks to get people dancing. "24 Hours" had some more sonically interesting tunes, was a bit more conceptual and dove in the psyche of the band a bit more. I could easily attribute all of those qualities to "The Modern Egotist" in one way or another. I've always highly respected classic bands like U2 and The Beatles because I feel like you're challenged with every record; there's no room for comfort or conformity, but that's why each of their records stand out as something unique and amazing.

Me: When it comes out, please come back on the Phile, and I am glad you guys didn't really break up. You are one of my favorite bands, and 'discovering' you guys really makes this stupid little blog worth it. I made some good friends because of this thing. Now all you guys have to do is come to Florida to play. By the way, you still play Whiskey Saints songs, right?

Dave: We're still performing a lot of material from the "24 Hours" record. If you want to hear anything older than that, buying us alcohol at shows will definitely help.

Me: Last time you were here I said I wanted to talk about other bands with you. I am gonna mention a few bands and you tell me briefly, guys, what you think of them. We'll start with one of my favorite bands... The Barenaked Ladies.

Dave: I prefer bare naked ladies.

Rob: Not my cup of tea.

David: They have catchy tunes but I’ve never been a huge fan. I won’t turn it off if it comes on the radio, but I don’t go out of my way for them. Jason, you should check out that cruise where you get to spend the weekend with them.

Me: Yeah, the Ships and Dips cruise. I really wanna do that one day. Bon Jovi?

Dave: It's possible that "Bed of Roses" was one of the first compact discs I ever owned.

Rob: I downloaded a road trip mix a couple of weekends ago sight unseen. "Blaze of Glory" came on and I almost peed my pants from excitement.

David: I think I like Bon Jovi for the novelty factor. It also kills me to see kids (who may have not even been born yet when the album came out) singing along with “Living on a Prayer.” Actually, chec
k out this cover of “Living on a Prayer” at… MySpace!  It’s a brother/sister duo I saw years ago. (I had to look up the page… I can’t believe it’s still active).

Me: Squeeze?

Jeff: Yes please.

David: I really dig Squeeze, although I only have the singles album. Every once in a while I’ll play “Up The Junction” when I’m doing a solo performance.

Me: Okay, how about Foghat? And be nice. LOL.

Rob: I never bought a record, but I turn it up when they're on the radio.

David: “Slow Ride” is indelibly tied to the movie Dazed and Confused for me. So, hearing that song always makes me feel good. I’m with Rob though, I don’t own any Foghat records.

Me: Alright, thanks again for being here again. As long as I have the Phile you guys will always be welcome here. Go ahead and plug your Whis... Burning Jet Black website and anything else. And keep that name for awhile. Hey, you should call the new album "The Whiskey Saints" and really fuck with the fans. LOL. Take care, guys.

David: Thanks for having us, Jason.

There you go, another entry of the Phile done. Thanks to my guests Art Lew, Adrian Bram Giannotta and of course the guys from Burning Jet Black. The Phile will be back tomorrow with jazz guitarist Nick Moran and the President of the United States. Then there's an extra Phile on Wednesday with Tiffany Martin, lead singer for the Orlando all-girl band Dollface. Then next weekend on Sunday it's Shannon Haley and on Monday it's Spence Newell from the band New Hands. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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