Monday, July 9, 2012

Pheaturing Mick Clarke

Hello, everybody, welcome to another entry of the Phile, how are you?  Well, according to a poll by National Geographic, 65 percent of Americans said President Obama would better handle an invasion by space aliens than Mitt Romney. Well sure, once the aliens landed they'd see there's no jobs and they'd go home.  I didn't know they do this, but the other night was the big annual congressional baseball game between the Democrats and Republicans, and the Democrats won 18-5. Of course the Democrats won. Did you see who the umpire was? Chief Justice John Roberts. The Obamacare ruling makes Roberts the first Republican to favor an insurance law with an individual mandate since, well, Mitt Romney. If you haven't been following this health care thing, where have you been? If you don't know what it is, let me explain. People will now have to have health insurance. The same way every driver in Florida has car insurance.  The Democratic Convention is $27 million in debt. They had to cancel the kick-off event at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. A speedway is the perfect place for the Democratic Convention. You go around in circles, turn left every few seconds, and you end up right where you started.  A wiseguy named Jimmy the Weasel in the witness protection program kept committing crimes so they kicked him out of the program. Who could've predicted that you couldn't trust a guy called "The Weasel." When you join the witness protection program the government usually gives you a fake birth certificate, like they did for President Obama. A lot of times people in the witness protection program get plastic surgery. That’s why the Mafia spent so much time looking for Sammy "The Cat Lady" Ravanno.  A United Airlines passenger has filed a complaint after a maintenance man dropped superglue on her head on a flight to Houston. I don’t know what’s scarier... that a passenger got superglue on her head, or that United fixes their airplanes with superglue.  Vice President Joe Biden spoke at a senior center in Iowa. Which explains why the seniors were like, "Is this Hell?”  A group of protesters crashed a van into Microsoft’s headquarters in Athens. When they heard a van crashed, Microsoft was like, “We make vans?”  So, as you know I went to see the new Spider-Man movie, and I loved it. I am so glad they just released a new Spider-Man inspirational poster. Check it out...

Speaking of The Amazing Spider-Man, it wasn't the movie I was expecting to see. It was kinda sad. Check out this screen shot.

This was right after the scene where he gets kicked out of his house.  You know, it's been so hot recently here in Florida and all up the East Coast everybody is finding ways to cool down. I was flipping through the channels last night, and I was stunned even newscasters are finding ways to cool down.

I checked the Weather Channel, and I think they gave up on reporting the same thing.

Well, it is Summer and all through Summer on the Phile I am paying respects to one of the greatest inventions ever made. I am talking about of course, the bikini. A bikini, by the way, is an outfit where 90% of a woman's body is exposed. Myself, I am so decent, I only look at the 10% that isn't. Really. LOL. Anyway, today's bikini comes with a built-in UV-monitor. Now you're all maybe starting to think about your Summer holidays, it might be a good idea to think about ordering one of these cool bikinis with a built-in UV meter, especially if you're a sun and sand type like me. Actually, I am not, I hate the beach, but play along. This SmartSwim Bikini from Solestrom is the world's first bikini to have a meter built into the fabric. The meter is battery-powered with a lifetime of up to two years; and is waterproof of course! The UV meter displays an intensity “level” of ultra violet intensity on a scale from 0 to 20.The SmartSwim Bikini costs about $170.

Okay, kids, lets see who went on an infinite vacation.

Ernest Borgnine
Jan 24, 1917 - July 8, 2012
2011: Wins SAG Lifetime Achievement Award. 2012: Dead.

Speaking of Ernest Borgnine, Nickelodeon just released this poster. I think they are selling it at Universal Studios or somewhere.

Alright, well, last weekend I introduced a new friend to the Phile, and he wanted to come back on and talk about a frustration he has. So, please welcome back to the Phile...

The gay scene fucking sucks. But if you want to have sex even a little bit, you're going to have to take part in it eventually. You'd think that there'd be a gay bar out there that would cater to you, what with all the bear bars, the daddy bars, the punk gay bars, the sissy-bounce gay bars, the Mexican cowboy gay bars, the square-dancing gay bars, and the gay bars for people with ginger hair fetishes (these are all real gay bars I've been to, BTW). But nope. No matter where you go, you're gonna be hearing the same remix of "We Found Love" four times in an hour. And holy shit are you gonna get bored.

The 20th book to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Book Club is...

The Whiskey Rebel will be a guest on the Phile a week from today.

Today's guest is a British blues guitarist and singer whose latest album "The Rambunctious Blues Experiment" is now available on iTunes as well as his latest single "Graveyard Shift-The Remix". He'll be next appearing at The Ranelagh in Brighton, England on August 12th. Please welcome to the Phile... one of the greats... Mick Clarke.

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

Mick: Very good.

Me: So, I have to ask you first, has anybody ever told you you look like British actor Steve Coogan a little bit? Do you know who that is?

Mick: No they haven't... yes, I believe he does a comedy turn on the television.

Me: Yep, and in the movies. Anyway, there's two Mick's I always wanted to interview on the Phile... you and Mick Taylor. You worked with Mick Taylor before, right?

Mick: I met Mick Taylor very briefly at a gig in Luxembourg. I mentioned that he looked tired and he told me that he did most of his best work when he was asleep. He was being ironic.

Me: I would of course love to interview Mick Jagger but that's next to impossible. Anyway, Mick, where are you from?

Mick: Surrey, a similar county to where Mick Jagger may live in one of his many homes.

Me: My grandmother used to live in Surrey. Do you still live in England?

Mick: Until our village declares itself to be an independent principality, yes I do. I lived in L.A. for a year (1979) which was interesting, but I prefer England.

Me: You do a lot of shows in Europe and overseas... do you ever get to the States to play? Ever played in Orlando?

Mick: We did a lot of work in the States in the 80s / 90s... all on the West Coast. No, never made it to Orlando. Just LA up to Seattle.

Me: I read that you have played a show or two with Foghat, sir. Did you know my father at all, or did you play with Foghat after he passed?

Mick: Yes, we played two dates with your dad and Foghat. The Starry Night in Portland, Oregon and a club called Detroits further north in Olympia, Washington State. Both great, rocking gigs.

Me: Did you ever meet my dad?

Mick: He was friendly. I remember a smiley face.

Me: You also did shows with Savoy Brown. Kim Simmonds' a good friend and was a past guest recently on the Phile. When was the last time you saw Kim?

Mick: I played with Kim as part of The British Blues All Stars which was a temporary line-up including the great singer Maggie Bell and Bob Hall on the piano. We headlined the Colne Festival in England and it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed belting out "Got My Mojo Working" with Maggie... she let me take the lead cos she said it was a man's song. I also enjoyed playing a rhythm guitar part with Kim on his Savoy Brown songs.

Me: Okay, apart from being a solo artist you have been in two bands... Killing Floor and SALT. When did those band names come from, Mick?

Mick: Bill the singer came up with Killing Floor from the Howlin' Wolf song while we were sitting in a hamburger bar in Wardour St, Soho, London in 1968. It was a good hard bluesy name which summed up our music. Of course it has since been used for a book, a game and numerous other bands (unauthorised.. we registered the name in 1969). Stevie the singer came up with SALT... basic, gritty, tangy... again it summed up the music pretty well.

Me: Both bands have reunited sine they originally broke up, am I right? Why don't you go ahead and mention who is in both bands?

Mick: SALT - original line-up of Stevie Smith on vocals, me on guitar, Stuart McDonald on bass with Chris Sharley on drums. We had a few drummers first time round... sadly our friend Alan Platt died a few years back or we would have tried to recruit him for the new line-up. But Chris is a fine drummer... the famous "Sharley Shuffle". Killing Floor - The complete original 1968 four piece line-up... Bill Thorndycraft on vocals, me on guitar, Stuart McDonald on bass and Bazz Smith on drums. Lou Martin would also be involved but he has been unwell for the last few years with some rather nasty ailments. He's okay, in fact I spoke to him today, a few hours ago, and he sounded good. Still has his sense of humour and lively interest in rock'n'roll intact. We were having a chat about Rory.

Me: Killing Floor for awhile was Freddie King's backing band, am I right? How did Freddie approach you guys and asked you if you'd be interested?

Mick: It was done by an agent Roy Tempest. A lot of blues artists such as Howlin' Wolf and John Lee Hooker were coming to the UK at that time, and they needed decent bands to back them up.

Me: That must've been a big deal for you, backing up a blues legend. Did you grow up listening to the blues and Freddie?

Mick: Well, it was hard to get blues records in England at that time in the 60s and Freddie's records were almost impossible. So I just knew a few, including of course "Hideaway" via Eric Clapton. Lou had some of Freddie's records so that helped. So he was, to us, a kind of strange mystical legend from a place we couldn't really imagine. Turned out he was a lovely fella.

Me: How long did Killing Floor tour with him?

Mick: We did two UK tours, about three weeks each. In that time we also did some gigs which included Howlin' Wolf and Otis Spann, so it was an exciting time. We were booked to play a third tour but Freddie didn't turn up. A few days later he sent us a telegram to say he couldn't come because he hadn't been sent his money... don't blame him.

Me: Freddie sadly passed away as you know, Mick. Where were you when you found out he had passed?

Mick: I just read it in the paper.. Melody Maker I think. I felt strangely detached... don't know why that was. Freddie was a very nice man who was a huge influence on me as a musician, a stage performer and a professional. I think I just didn't realise at that time how important he was to me in so many ways... that realisation has crept up on me over the years.

Me: I read a little about Freddie and I read that he passed from stress and a poor diet, and that he used to drink Bloody Mary's instead of food. Did you see a lot of that with him, sir?

Mick: When we worked with Freddie he was incredibly straight and professional. I don't remember him drinking at all. He seemed to be completely centered on doing a good show, which he always did. If he was tired he could stretch out in the dressing room and drop off for half an hour, then wake up, cup of coffee and bang! He was on. Always consistently professional.

Me: I am a big BB King fan, did you ever play with him?

Mick: No. We went to see BB whenever he was over, so I saw him quite a few times. I particularly remember being at the 100 Club in London when Lowell Fulson was playing. BB was there and got up to jam... he sang a couple of verses and played one 12 bar solo, consisting of about four phrases made of up of about three notes each. A superb lesson in economy... the ultimate "less is more" blues guitar solo.

Me: You have played with some great people, and even opened for Muddy Waters. How was that experience? Was he cool?

Mick: That was great. We played with him twice... the second time we met Muddy briefly after the show at The Rainbow in London, and he asked who was playing harp... it was Stevie Smith of SALT. He said next time he was over he would ask for "my boys". Never did... mind I don't think he came over again. I was very honoured to meet him and share a stage.

Me: Is there a blues legend you haven't met but would love to?

Mick: Well I've been incredibly lucky, meeting Wolf, Muddy, Freddie and others. I suppose Elmore James is out of the question...

Me: Okay, back to your two bands... with the band SALT, the band originally broke up when punk music became big, right? Do you blame punk music for kinda 'killing' the blues scene?

Mick: Well, I suppose it was fair enough, there were some incredibly boring bands around at that time. But it was a little unfair on SALT, we were an extremely lively and powerful band, everything that punk stood for. But I think we probably had our couple of years of excitement and probably would have burnt out anyway... it was that kind of thing... a short fuse. Punk didn't last long either come to think of it.

Me: So, how did both bands reform, Mick? And do you ever get confused about what are SALT songs and what are Killing Floor songs?

Mick: Both reformations were somebody else's idea... Franco Ratti at Appaloosa Records in Italy suggested a Killing Floor re-union album. London promoter Pete Feenstra suggested a SALT re-union tour. Although the bands share a common guitarist and bass player, and are both hard rocking blues based bands... the respective front men Bill Thorndycraft and Stevie Smith have their own very clear identities and influence the feel of the bands greatly... almost completely. Plus we have two great drummers, Chris and Bazz who have their own very distinct rhythmic approaches. I don't get confused!

Me: You were also in a band with Cliff Bennett called Toefat, right? Where did that name come from, and how did you two come to work together?

Mick: Don't know where the name came from, you'll have to ask Cliff. Lou Martin had been doing some gigs with Cliff and brought us all together. We did a lot of work but it didn't last long, good band though. Mick Hawksworth (Fuzzy Duck, Ten Years Later) Tony Fernandez (Rick Wakeman) and my friend Lynton Naiff on keyboards. Lou left almost immediately to join Rory Gallagher's band.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your latest release "The Rambunctious Blues Experiement". What a great name for an album, how did you come up with it? That would also make a great band name.

Mick: Ah ha! Copyright! The Rambunctious Blues Band is ready to go, we just need a gig. Yes, it just seemed like the only name for the album... it was put together in an extremely spontaneous and technically incompetent fashion... just me and the drummer jamming together in my home studio. So it was raw and rough, but definitely rambunctious.

Me: Who plays on the album with you? The drummer was Russell Chaney, he brought his electronic kit down for a rehearsal and ended up making an album. Dangerous Dave Newman came down later and added some great harp. I put on a farty bass guitar myself. My wife Linda played marracas and I added a can of fish food. I like it a lot.

Me: I downloaded it off from iTunes and really enjoyed it. It has been described as, and I quote somebody, "Seasick Steve hitches a lift with the White Stripes on their way to a Rory Gallagher concert". Man, do you understand what that means? Who is Seasick Steve?

Mick: Who is Seasick Steve? Ah, you must be not English. Steve is an American blues player who the British have taken to their hearts... he was a big hit on the huge Glastonbury Festival a few years back. A John Lee Hooker for the 21st century.

Me: Cool, and I am from England. I need to get Seasick Steve on the Phile. You knew Rory and played with him quite a bit, right?

Mick: Yes, I knew Rory because two of Killing Floor, Lou Martin and Rod DeAth joined his band. I went to a lot of shows. Rory would always ask after "that old SG" of mine. He jammed with us once at a London pub... lots of energy!!!

Me: What do you think about the White Stripes and Jack White? He's a big blues fan. It must be good for the blues musicians when younger artists are into the blues, am I right?

Mick: You are right. It's great that people like him keep the music alive for younger fans. That keeps new venues opening up for old farts like us to play at.

Me: So, as I said, I enjoyed the album. Did you write all the songs on it, sir?

Mick: I did. Some were based on old blues standards but got rewritten. But that's always been the way with the blues. Glad you enjoyed it.

Me: I have to ask you about the instrumental "Go Go Freddie". Obviously that song is dedicated to Freddie King. What gave you the idea to dedicate a song to him after all this time?

Mick: Ah, another internet myth is born. The song was dedicated to our favourite goldfish "Fat Freddie"... a bit of a character and king of the garden pond, who I once nursed back to health after a nasty attack of constipation, him not me, by feeding him garden peas. He was sadly murdered, not eaten, by a heron during the making of the record. At least I was able to immortalise him in a song. I would be very wary of naming a song after Freddie King. I am definitely not worthy, and by the way I did not record the version of "The Stumble" which is on Youtube. Somebody else who shares my name.

Me: Apart from this album, Killing Floor is coming out with a new album. What can you tell the readers about this new album?

Mick: Yeah! It's quite exciting really... four years in the making. Every song written from scratch with genuine blood sweat and tears. It will probably mystify and confuse people when it comes out. Killing Floor records do not sound like anybody else.

Me: When it comes out, can you come back on the Phile and promote it?

Mick: You bet.

Me: Mick, thanks so much for being here, I know you are a busy man. Go ahead and plug your website and please come back.

Mick: Mm... I'm at Killing Floor is at We also have the usual Facebook and Twitter etc. Check in for all the latest on tours and albums.

Me: Oh, before you go, I have to ask you about your guitars you play as I have a few guitar geeks who read the Phile and would send me nasty emails if I didn't ask you. What make of guitars do you play, and are they custom made?

Mick: Guitars! Yes I like guitars. I don't have a lot because I've never been rich... they cost more here in the UK than they do in the States. My main instrument is a 1963 Gibson SG Standard which I got in 1969. I had bought Freddie King's big Gibson Stereo from him at the end of the first tour, but sadly I couldn't play it, so I swopped it, very reluctanctly, for the SG, which seems to have worked out okay. I have a Korean Squier Strat which I play slide on. It was always actually a very good guitar, but anyway I've replaced the pickups with Texas Specials, and it's all been rewired the same way that Rory's guitar was. No, it's a secret.

Me: What is your favorite guitar to play? Also, how old were you when you first started playing?

Mick: My favourite is actually a little Danelectro 3022, like Jimmy Page's but bronze, which I bought in 1972 for £28. It has a wonderful bell like ringing tone which gets really funky and bluesy with a little heat on it. And it's got a great action... like an old Tele. The new ones aren't as good. I started playing... I was about thirteen. Some friends got together playing Bo Diddley songs after school... a guitar, marracas, a harmonica. I thought this is fun, I want to make music like this. So I saved up (my dad helped me) and bought a cheap guitar. I knew I could play it.

Me: Okay, that's it for now. Like I said, please come back. All the best, sir.

Mick: Thanks again. Thanks for your interest in my music. And you must be proud of your dad's contribution to rock and blues. Good luck and do keep in touch.

Me: I am, Mick, proud of my dad, and I sure will.

There you go, another entry done. Thanks to my guests Adrian Bram Giannotta and of course Mick Clarke. The Phile will be back next Sunday with singer Liz Queler, then on Monday it's author The Whiskey Rebel. The weekend after that is the guys from Burning Jet Black, who are Phile Alumni and then jazz guitarist Nick Moran. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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