Monday, September 3, 2012

Pheaturing Martin Belmont From Ducks Deluxe

Hello, kids, and welcome to another entry of the Phile. Thanks for stopping by. Happy Labor Day, or as they say in England... Labour Day.  An all-female rock band from Russia, in a Moscow cathedral, played a protest song about Vladimir Putin's ties to the church. Putin's henchmen tracked them down and threw them in prison. They were charged with hooliganism. Is that a crime? That's like being charged with tomfoolery. Or shenanigans. If you don't agree with Putin, you get sent to a gulag. Maybe they should've sung it ironically, sung about the fact that Putin got elected with 140 percent of the vote. Some Russians are claiming that Putin's election was rigged and that he has no legitimate claim to power. You know what these Russians are called? Missing. When the band's members were sentenced, there was a huge protest in Moscow. One of the protesters was Garry Kasparov, the chess champion. He got roughed up by police. I don't know why. He's just a pawn in their game.  According to The New York Times, more than half of President Obama's Twitter followers are fake. They don't even exist. Which is actually a good thing because if they did exist there wouldn't be any jobs for them.  The White House is now brewing its own beer. Republicans say the White House beer is actually pretty good. Just don't drink the Kool-Aid.  Working out has given Paul Ryan phenomenal abs. His abs are so in demand that TMZ is offering a bounty for anyone who can get an in-focus shot.  I can't wait to see the debate between Ryan and Joe Biden. Biden is said to be already trying out different strategies. So far the one that Obama likes is where Biden pretends to have food poisoning and they cancel the debate.  A man here in Florida has been arrested for wearing a President Obama mask while robbing a McDonald's. To show you how good this guy's disguise was, instead of a holdup note he was reading from a teleprompter. This Obama robber made some pretty scary threats to the McDonald's employees. He said, "Give me your money, or else my economic plan will have you working here for the rest of your life."  A company announced they are now selling waffle-flavored vodka. Who is this for, the drunks that still think breakfast is the most important meal of the day?  Forbes magazine released the highest paid celebrities list. Right now in Hollywood, self-centered jerks are flipping through Forbes, seeing who's on the list so they know who to suck up to. Forbes is run by billionaire Steve Forbes. Who names a magazine after himself? Who would do that? Oprah. Forbes once ran for president. It lasted about a week. So who better to judge the others' success?  Well, like I said it's Labor Day, and I am so glad there's a Labor Day inspirational poster.

Alright, well, the RNC is over and no matter what you say about the Republican party, they are honest... or not so smart how they set up their signs and stuff. Check this out.

Pixar's Finding Nemo is about to be released in theatres again in 3D. I wasn't a huge fan of that movie but will go and see it again. They should of called the movie Find the Freakin' Fish Already. Anyway, there's gonna be a Finding Nemo 2 and I have the poster for it. Wanna see it?

That's dumb. It wouldn't been funnier back when the oil spill happened 2 years ago. I never said the Phile was timely.  Did you see the season premier of "Doctor Who" on Saturday? I am so glad there's a new "Doctor Who" inspirational poster.

Okay, let's see who went Tango Uniform.

Sun Myoung Moon
Feb 25, 1920 - Sep 2, 2012
Proof that dedicating your life to the church doesn't mean you can't be a greedy billionaire asshole too.

A few weeks ago when the Colorado shootings took place a friend and Phile reader named Art Lew thought he'd do something cool, and built a guitar to hopefully donate it to a charity to raise money for the victims. Here  is what the guitar looks like.

I thought I'd invite Art back to the Phile to see what the update is. So, please welcome back to the Phile...

Me: Hey, Art, welcome back to the Phile. So, a few readers are asking on the update of the Bat-A-Twang guitar. Have you donated it yet?

Art: I haven't done anything with the guitar yet. I've been busy and most of the charities only do money. Heck, donate $100 to the people who were helping the folks in Colorado, and I'll give the guitar.

Me: So, you haven't had any takers?

Art: No takers so far, but I've been busy and haven't tried other "venues". I'm half way considering House of Blues to donate it to help their charity programs.

Me: Well, maybe one of my readers would want it. Donate a hundred dollars to and this one of a kind Bat-A-Twang is yours, people. You can contact the Phile at if you want to donate and Art and I will get the guitar to you. In the meantime, Art, good luck. I am sure it's gonna end up in somebody's home. Art Lew, everybody. And I love that TARDIS guitar.

Well, the Democratic Convention is about to kick off this week and I want to know what they they have been doing while the RNC was on So, the Democratic Party sent someone very special to the Phile to talk about it. Please welcome to the Phile... Gov. Howard Dean!

Howard: Groveland! Yeah! Minneola! Yeah! Kissimmee! Yeah! Hello, Jason, anywhere else?

Me: Ummm... Four Corners...

Howard: Four Corners! Yeah! The Phile! Yeah!

Me: Howard, thanks for being on the Phile. So, what did you think of the Republicans convention in Tampa?

Howard: They posed for the cameras, fell over each other to prove who's the most severe conservative of them all. There was plenty of angry, misleading rhetoric, but not much in the way of real action or results.

Me: So, why this was going on, what did the Democratic party do?

Howard: Welcomed volunteers to hundreds of field offices in all 50 states. Logged hundreds of thousands of volunteer-hours of one-on-one voter outreach, over the phone and at the door. Organized thousands of watch parties for our convention this coming week.

Me: Wow, that just one week for the party.

Howard: For our organization, and it's only going to get more intense from here.

Me: Why is that, sir?

Howard: Because that's the only way we'll win.

Me: You said there wasn't any real action or results at the RNC, sir, they must've did more in the four days.

Howard: Four days of Obama-bashing and truth-distorting attacks.

Me: Why do you think they did that? That's they're job, right?

Howard: They hoped it will give them a badly needed bump in the polls.

Me: Do you think it'll happen?

Howard: The reality is, we're probably going to see it come true over the next couple days. When the Republicans left Tampa, it's pretty likely they're ahead in the horse race. That's why Democrats aren't wasting any time.

Me: Your organizers and volunteers are working nationwide and around the clock to get our message out, right?

Howard: Yep, while Republicans are ramping up the attacks and extremism, we're doubling down on our grassroots strategy.

Me: And how do you think your convention will go?

Howard: For us, the convention is an opportunity to share our message face to face with as many Americans as possible, culminating in a week of grassroots action immediately after the President officially accepts the nomination. We're building our organization for the only polls that matter: the ones on November 6th.

Me: Thanks, Gov. Please come back and good luck to you.

Howard: Thanks, Jason.

That was pretty cool. And now, please welcome back to the Phile singer, surfer, patriot, renaissance man, phriend of the Phile Laird Jim in a pheature I call...

I love shutting stupid people up. Raining too hard to surf, so I go to the deli for breakfast. A woman in her 40s on line decides to take issue with what I ordered... what the fuck? She reads me the riot act in a rude manner... tells me I'm going to die soon. I asked her what her children did for a living... she tells me that her son is a law student and her daughter works as a nurse. Wait for it... I replied... "Perhaps when the EMTs bring me in for a heart attack... your daughter would be kind enough to give me a handjob before I die." I believe I made my point.

The 23rd artist to be pheatured in the P.P.A.G. is also a member of one of my favorite bands... Barenaked Ladies. This is one of Kevin Hearns pieces, kids.

I am so bloody excited... Kevin will be a guest on the Phile next Sunday!

Today's guest is one of my favorite rock 'n' roll and country-blues guitarists. He formed Ducks Deluxe and was a founding member of Graham Parker and the Rumour. Ducks Deluxe latest album "Side Tracks & Smokers" is available on iTunes and they will be appearing next tomorrow at
Hemvändardagen, Marma, Sweden. Please welcome to the Phile the one and only... Martin Belmont!

Me: Hello, Martin. welcome to the Phile. It is a huge honor to be interviewing you here, sir. I interviewed Graham Parker twice and always wanted to interview you. How are you?

Martin: I'm good thanks.

Me: Okay, let's talk about GP first. When did you first meet him, Martin? You must've been in Ducks Deluxe at the time. Did he ask you to join his band the Rumour, or were you already in it being friends and former band mate with Brinsley Schwarz?

Martin: Ducks Deluxe broke up around July 1975. Brinsley had been playing with us for the last three months and we decided we wanted to be in a new band together with Bob Andrews. We had heard about this shit hot rhythm section from a band called Bonton Roulez and we started rehearsing with them. Bob had some songs, I had one or two and we did lots of covers... anything we fancied. Dave Robinson had an 8 track studio and Graham was one of several people who turned up to make some demos. When Dave heard GP's songs he thought 'this guy is really good what he needs is a band' and he thought of us... a really good bunch of players in need of a direction. He played me GP's demo's of "Between You and Me" and "Dont Ask Me Questions" and I was blown away. Later we met and started rehearsing together.

Me: There's a new film featuring GP and the Rumour coming out. Are you involved with that? When you found about about it, what was the first thing you thought of?

Martin: Last year Graham got in touch with all of the Rumour and said he wanted to do an album with us. We all said great so we met up in Woodstock where GP lives and recorded the album in just over a week. At around the same time Judd Apatow the highly successfull film director got in touch with Graham about playing himself in a movie he was about to shoot. GP told him about the recording reunion with The Rumour and Judd said that was fantastic they can be in it too so the following August we are all flown first class to Hollywood for a week and treated like movie stars, pampered and played a whole lot of songs (some from the new album and some from the 70's) live on a stage set in a nightclub. Brilliant!

Me: You guys recorded a new GP and the Rumour album. I am so exited. What is it called and when will it be out. And what will the movie be called? Do you know when it'll be out?

Martin: The album is being released in October and is called "Three Chords Good". The film is being premiered on Dec 21st and is called This is 40.

Me: I have to ask you about the impromptu gig you did with Graham and Bob Andrews. Who else was that and how did that come about? I have a picture from that gig, Martin.

Martin: The one off gig we did in NYC back in Oct 2010 was because we were there to see the first screening of a documentary called Don't Ask Me Questions. The band was me, Steve Goulding, Bob Andrews and Jeremy Chatsky on bass plus Graham. Just a bit of fun that was a whole lot of fun.

Me: Was that the start for the whole GP and the Rumour deal getting back together?

Martin: I thought no more about working with GP or the others until the email from Graham arrived the following April. The documentary will be released at the end of this year.

Me: When I interviewed Graham he said someone is putting together a Graham Parker documentary. Are you taking part?

Martin: I am interviewed in it along with the rest of the Rumour and many others.

Me: As well as the Rumour you have two or three or more other projects going on... Los Pistoleros and the Johnny Nicky Band. Who is Johnny Nicky and who is in Los Pistoleros?

Martin: Johnny Nicky is this really great singer who nobody outside of NW London will have heard of. I play in his band with other guys who are in other bands with me. Los Pistoleros is a country swing jazz boogie band that has more or less ceased gigging.

Me: I downloaded your solo album "The Guest List" and really like it. Was it was it easy getting all your mates like Graham, Paul Carrack, Johnny Nicky and others to be part of?

Martin: "The Guest List" was recorded by Neil Brockbank who is a great engineer and producer and has his own studio. Every one of the singers I asked agreed to sing on it except Elvis Costello who I could never catch at the right time which is why I did the little instrumental version of "Alison".

Me: How did you choose the songs for the album? Your version of Costello's "Alison" is really great by the way. 

Martin: The only criteria I wanted for the songs was that they should all be covers. Some I chose, some the singers, some were joint choices. I love it.

Me: You worked with so many people, a Phile wish list, sir. Is there anybody alive you wish could play or record with?

Martin: If I could play with anyone still alive it would have to be Bob Dylan or Paul McCartney.

Me: And what do you prefer, doing your own thing or working with other people's projects?

Martin: I have done two albums under my own name which is great but my living is as a sideman. I like both equally.

Me: Alright, let's talk about Ducks Deluxe who have a pretty recent album out called "Side Tracks and Smokers". This album has mostly live stuff, but are there any new songs recorded for it?

Martin: The "Side Tracks and Smokers" album is a mixture of rough mixes of tracks from the first album ('74), live stuff recorded lo-fi in Monte Carlo during a residency we did there in 2009 and one new studio recording of a reggae version of Dylans "Simple Twist of Fate" which is rather good if I do say so myself. We also released a six song studio CD called "Box of Shorts" which has five new Sean Tyla songs and another Dylan cover... "Absolutely Sweet Marie".

Me: Who is in the current Ducks Deluxe band, Martin? Tim Roper who was one of the original members passed away about 10 years ago, right?

Martin: The current DD line up is me, Sean Tyla, Brinsley Schwarz, Kevin Foster and Jim Russell. Yes, Tim died.

Me: Where did the name Ducks Deluxe come from?

Martin: I don't remember where the name came from.

Me: The band is celebrating it's 40th anniversary, Martin. How did the band get back together after all these years?

Martin: The band got back together in 2007 because an American fan financed it and hired the 100 Club in London for us to play. Everything that has happened since (tours to places in Europe etc) followed that initial reunion so we have a lot to thank Mike Halpern for. He was that superfan!

Me: I am glad Mike did it. What has been the fans reaction?

Martin: People love seeing the Ducks 40 years later or for the 1st time... it's rock and roll!!!

Me: Maybe the band Brinsley Schwarz get back together with Nick Lowe... have you heard from Nick recently? I am trying to get him on the Phile.

Martin: I would say there is zero chance of a Brinsley Schwarz reunion. I speak to Nick every now and then.

Me: One person who I also want to interview who was supposed to record an album with my dad is Dave Edmunds, but nobody I talk to or interview have seen him recently. And he doesn't have a website, Facebook, Myspace, nothing. You worked with Dave, has he always been like this, hard to get in touch with?

Martin: Dave Edmunds is a great great guitar player and singer and I have no idea how to get in touch with him but there is a Facebook page.

Me: I think it's a fan page. Anyway, Martin, I love your guitar playing. Who did you listen to growing up, and who are you idols and influences?

Martin: My fave guitar players and inspirations are in no particular order... Scotty Moore, Hank Marvin, James Burton, Hubert Sumlin, George Harrison, Keith Richards, Robbie Robertson, Lowell George, Ry Cooder.

Me: How old were you when you started to learn to play guitar? Do you remember what the first song you learned was?

Martin: I learned the guitar around the age of 11 and the 1st thing I learned was probably a Shadows tune.

Me: I have a lot of guitar techy like people who read the Phile so I have to ask, what make of guitar do you play and what is your favorite guitar you own?

Martin: My fave guitar that I have had since '74 is a Fender Stratocaster (Daphne Blue 1963). I also own a Fender VI which is a baritone guitar... it's the one I play on "Alison" on "The Guest List".

Me: Martin, apart from the new GP album, do you have any new releases coming out?

Martin: I have no new stuff of my own coming out but I am on a new album called "How Do You Plead" by My Darling Clementine who are a husband and wife singer/writer partnership and the album is all original songs in the manner of classic country duets a la George and Tammy, Johnny and June, Loretta and Conway... etc. I am doing quite a lot of live stuff with them too. The album has had nothing but 5 star reviews and has been voted best British Country album ever! Check it out!

Me: I will, and I will try and get them on the Phile. Martin, thanks so much for being on the Phile. I hope this was fun and I hope you'll come back again soon. Go ahead and plug all your websites and take care, sir. All the best.

Martin: All my live dates and other info can be found at Cheers.

There you go, another entry of the Phile done. That was one of my best entries ever. Thanks to my guests Art Lew, Howard Dean, Laird Jim and of course Martin Belmont. The Phile will be back next Sunday with Kevin Hearn. Then on Monday it's singer songwriter Anna Coogan and then there's gonna be an extra entry that Wednesday with Morgan Geer, lead singer for the band Drunken Prayer. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

1 comment:

Will Birch said...

Great interview with Martin! The name Ducks Deluxe came from an amusement machine called 'The Duck Deluxe' that Sean Tyla came across at the Severn Bridge Service Station when he was a roadie for Help Yourself. This and more exciting facts are revealed in my book 'No Sleep Til Canvey Island-The Great Pub Rock Revolution' still available from Will Birch