Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pheaturing Gilson Schachnik From Mozik

Hey, Phile Phans, welcome to another entry of the Phile for a Sunday. How are you? Okay, before we start I have to make a correction from the Phile on Wednesday. I showed this picture...

And said Slim Whitman is rolling in his grave. And I asked if Slim Whitman even dead? Well, I got tons of e-mail telling me that it is Slim Pickens, and not Slim Whitman who is riding the atom bomb is Dr. Strangelove. Pickens died in 1983, but Whitman is still alive. So, so that is corrected. Now, let's see what else I can screw up.  A gym teacher in Queens, New York, is suing the Department of Education, saying he was assaulted by a student, a first-grader named Rodrigo. The teacher is a former college football player. He claims the boy gave him a fractured ankle and injured knee. I think if I was beat up by a 6-year-old I would keep it quiet.  Family Circle announced that Michelle Obama beat Ann Romney in their cookie contest. They each submitted a recipe and the readers voted. They have been sponsoring the contest for decades. It's a time-honored tradition of taking successful, accomplished women and forcing them to get in the kitchen and bake for us.  Mitt Romney and Snooki are back in the news. Romney recently was asked who he liked better, Snooki or Honey Boo Boo. He picked Snooki. Snooki heard this and said it was awesome but she still hasn't decided who she's voting for. You should be allowed to vote or be on "Jersey Shore," not both. You have to figure Snooki will vote for Obama. She might be the only person in America who is better off now than she was four years ago.  So, who saw the debate Monday night? It was the first presidential debate of 2012. It was also one of the only nights of the year when you might actually hear someone say, "Honey, turn on C-SPAN." It also happened to be Obama's 20th wedding anniversary. That seems very convenient. "Honey, I'd love to go to the ballet with you, but I'm debating Mitt Romney that night." Most analysts think Mitt Romney won the debate. Which means President Obama lost two fights on his anniversary. I watched it and thought the president seemed a little bit out of it. He had all the enthusiasm of a husband talking to his wife's friends at a dinner party. The only thing that could have salvaged the president's performance would have been if the body of bin Laden fell from the ceiling onto the stage. Moderator for the debate was Jim Lehrer of PBS, and Jim was as in control of this evening as a replacement referee.  The city council in L.A. voted 11-2 to overturn the ban on medical marijuana dispensaries. It's great news for the thousands of people who suffer from fake back pain, fake neck pain, and fake sleep disorders. Overturning the ban is also great news for the makers of Chex Party Mix.  Let's talk more about the debate. A lot of people said the president was getting a beating from Romney. I didn't really think so, until the very end of the debate. Check it out.

There were talks about Big Bird and PBS in the debate, and right after Romney released this campaign poster.

PBS and the makers of "Sesame Street" struck back with their own poster.

Shit just got real. LOL. I like it that Bert has a beer and Grover is smoking a cigarette.  Well, it's October and that means Oktoberfest is celebrated pretty much everywhere. I was glad our local Oktoberfest had this inspirational poster.

I never went to an Oktoberbest when I was a kid. Look what I missed out on. And now for...

If you see what's wrong with the picture email me at

I like howe go from a pheature called Mind Phuck to political talk here on the Phile. LOL. Well, after the debate you'd think things were looking bad for Obama. But, that's not true. A friend of the Phile wnated to come on and explain. So, please welcome once again, the Campaign Manager for Obama for America... Jim Messina.

Me: Hello, Jim, welcome back to the Phile. So, what's up?

Jim: I have amazing news, Jason.

Me: What is it?

Jim: Last month, we surpassed 10 million donations in 2012 alone. We made history. And we raised $181 million during the month of September. I don't think I have to tell you how huge that number is. 

Me: No, that's pretty cool, Jim.

Jim: The more important tally, though, is the number of grassroots donors who came together last month to chip in what they can to help grow this campaign and our party's grassroots organization.

Me: About how many people?

Jim: More than 1.8 million Americans.

Me: I wonder if any were Phile readers. Jim, how many were first time donors?

Jim: About 567,044, giving an average donation of just $53.

Me: What about the regular donors?

Jim: Jason, 98% of the donations were $250 and under. Day in and day out, folks are out there getting the President's back.

Me: That must give the president an ego boost...

Jim: It's that commitment that gives him, and everybody who works for this campaign, the confidence and inspiration to get back at it every single day.

Me: And there's less then 30 days to go. What's gonna happen now?

Jim: We're all going to do the best we can over the next month days to honor that support. But this election isn't over. You've interviewed the President, Jason, but according to our records associated w you haven't donated to this campaign yet.

Me: Ummmm... no, I haven't.

Jim: With just one month left, what's holding you back?

Me: Comic books to buy. I figured having you, Stephanie, Patrick, Axelrod, and the President and First Lady here, plus all the other Democrat type people, I am doing my part that way.

Jim: Jason, chip in $5 or more now so we can finish strong.

Me: We'll see.

Jim: Jason, let me tell you something... Laurie, a factory worker in Iowa, perfectly captured the spirit of our campaign: "I plan to make another donation, probably several. I actually love that you can make a six-dollar donation. Six bucks? Come on, that's a burger or some coffee." What makes our campaign so strong is that people like Laurie are giving what they can when they can, because they know that every donation counts, no matter how big or small.

Me: I will say one thing, Jim, your opponents don't have that, do they?

Jim: No, they're relying on distortions, negativity, and outside groups to win this election.

Me: Okay, while you are here, let's talk about the debate. What did you think of Romney?

Jim: Romney showed just how far he was willing to deviate from the truth in order to win. Outside groups are flooding the airwaves with negative ads trashing President Obama and everything we've accomplished together in the past four years. Over the course of next week alone, these groups are planning an unprecedented negative ad blitz in battleground states across the country. That's why it's so critical that we don't get complacent. I know I've asked a lot of you these past few months, but that's only because this is extraordinarily important.

Me: Good point, Jim. Thanks for being on the Phile, and please come back again soon and twist my other arm. Is there anything else you wanna say?

Jim: Phile readers, help us keep our guy, the the right guy, in the Oval Office. Talk to you soon, Jason.

Well, if I'd known Jim would put pressure on me... I was thinking, Stephanie Cutter never gave me any grief. Anyway, as you probably know, this past week the latest nominees were announced for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Well, we here at the Phile, we have our own Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And it's time for another induction... one of my favorite bands. Please welcome back to the Phile,
raconteur, entreprenour, Jah Paul Jo in a past life and co-owner of Berdan Records... Joseph J. Ramsey.

Just in case you missed it, here are the new yawnHOF nominees. By "nominees," I guess they still need to be voted on by whoever it is who votes on such things. The name that seems to drawing the most controversy is Rush. Not as much for their own value per se... but because it points out bands that are NOT in... by name, King Crimson. Yeah, that part IS a joke.  Me? I have a problem with Donna Summer, NWA, Chic, The Marvelettes and The Meters... all of which I don't believe to be Rock'n'Roll. As far as real Rock'n'Roll bands are concerned, Heart and, to a slightly lesser extent, Joan Jett are poor choices. Middle of the road crap-0-la.  Surprising that there is finally a nod to The Paul Butterfield Blues Band. According to the Times article, which I find to be equally ignorant as the Hall choices, themselves... "although Butterfield backed Dylan at Newport, the band's influence has waned over the years." Just like the LA Times to make it all about Dylan (shades of Robert Hilburn!). Every hip musician I knew back in the late sixties had the first two Butterfield albums and cut their blues teeth on those two records. BBB turned young white kids on to the blues. Them and Canned Heat. Last I looked, blues rock still going strong. Dumb.  Finally... Deep Purple and Procol Harum. Doesn't this go against previous statements by the Hall that British bands are already in their own Hall Of Fame and would not be inducted in the yawnHOF? Does this open the door for Mott The Hoople, King Crimson, Roxy Music, etc etc? (probably not).  Rush... can't stand them. Never could. Perfect choice for the yawn-ster.
And now for today's induction... Status Quo.
Red letter day for me. My dad, probably tired of me playing my growing album collection on his beloved Hi-Fi and worrying that these new fangled stereo records are going to ruin it, is taking me to the department store to buy my own record player. Wow!  Picked out a groovy little fold-down turntable with speakers that you can detach (listen to that separation! Ha ha)... couldn't wait to get it home and listen but, wait... I didn't have anything new to play on it! Alright... you can choose ONE album only. My pick: "Messages From The Status Quo!"  I had heard "Pictures Of Matchstick Men" on the radio and loved it. Already had the single but needed the LP. It was the very first record that I played on my brand new record player in 1968 and I loved it. Still do.  Status Quo seemed to be a one hit wonder... in America, at least. Then, around 1972 or so, rumblings from the UK that this kind of semi-goofy psychedelic group had tuned into an all out, no-nonsense blues/boogie outfit. What?! Had to hear. Picked up "Piledriver" and fell in love... all over again.  To my 15 year old brain, this version of Status Quo had it all. Heavy boogie sound, long, long hair, levi jeans, high top tennis shoes, t-shirts and vests. Couldn't get much cooler than that for me and my crowd and The Quo quickly became a favorite. Had to fill in a lot of the blanks between
"Matchstick Men" and "Piledriver"; there were at least three albums including the magnificent "Dog Of Two Head." My early bands would always play a Status Quo song... I remember butchering "Big Fat Mama," "Roll Over Lay Down," and "Caroline."  My British friends can probably clarify this as Status Quo were largely ignored in the USA but, at one point in the seventies, they went from being an underground, heavy boogie combo to being Prince Charles' favorite group. They became so light and fluffy, they almost floated away. Indeed, fifty years later (50!!!) they are still making hit records in the UK that are STILL ignored in the US. Amazing.  The 1975 single, "Down, Down," was the absolute apex for me of the Status Quo sound. Crushing rhythm section complementing a Chuck Berry chording run amok, all sitting beneath high, melodic harmonies and a super pop melody... it was the perfect version of Status Quo. Their high point. There was nowhere to go from there but down. "Down, Down". Okay.  Now a British institution... in fact, probably the closest thing England has (in spirit) to The Beach Boys. Thankfully, there is no Mike Love there. Don't care much for the post seventies band but glad that they are still with us. They are like an old cuddly toy. Comforting. Long live The Status Quo!

Thanks, Joseph. I love Status Quo. I don't like "Pictures of Matchstick Men" though. Okay, it's time for the annoucement of the 26th artist to be pheatured in the Phile's Art Gallery. It is Timothy Lim, and here is one of his great pices.

Timothy will be a guest on the Phile next Monday.

Alright, today's pheatured guest is a is a Boston-based jazz musician, teacher at Berklee College of Music and author of the book "Beggining Ear Training". His new album called "Mozik" which is the name of his new band with drummer Mauricio Zottarelli. I think I called the band Muzik on the Phile's previous entries. Anyway, please welcome to the Phile... Gilson Schachnik.

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

Gilson: Very well, thanks.

Me: You're originally from Brazil, right? What part of Brazil?

Gilson: Sao Paulo.

Me: Now you live in Boston? What made you move to Boston from Brazil, sir?

Gilson: I received a scholarship to study at Berklee.

Me: How old were you when you first started to play piano, and how did you end up choosing that instrument?

Gilson: I was 11and I loved Deep Purple, so I started on organ, like Jon Lord.

Me: Who is your favorite piano player or keyboardist of all time?

Gilson: I don't have one, but several like: Kenny Kirkland, Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson, Cesar Camargo Mariano and many others.

Me: What is it about Deep Purple that you like so much?

Gilson: It was hard rock with catchy riffs and extended organ solos.

Me: If they invited you to be in the band, would you do it?

Gilson: Haha. No, I haven't listened to rock at all for over 30 years.

Me: What? What is wrong with you? LOL. Okay, I have to ask you about this, you had a job writing jingles for Playboy? I take it that was for the Playboy Channel?

Gilson: Noooooo. I wrote one jingle for radio for an issue of Playboy Magazine. It wasn't like I lived with Hef in the mansion, writing jingles.

Me: Did the jingles have lyrics? If so, what were the words?

Gilson: That particular jingle had no lyrics.

Me: You also wrote the music for a TV show called "Ratimbum". Was that an animated show?

Gilson: It was a children's TV show, with real actors, puppets and some animation.

Me: I thought it was the Richard Gere show. Think about it. Anyway, was that in Brazil?

Gilson: Yes.

Me: That TV show won an award for the Best TV show by the New York Film Festival, right? When was that?

Gilson: I wrote some of the song track in 1988-89 but I think the show won an award in the 90's.

Me: You went to school in Berklee, like a lot of interviewees I had on the Phile. How was that experience?

Gilson: Overall very positive. Berklee was very different back then. All we wanted to do was to practice and be the best performer we could. Now, the students want to learn other aspects of music such as: engineering, business, law and not focus as much in the performance side of it.

Me: Before you started to put your own music out, you played with a lot of other musicians as a session player. Who was the favorite musician you have ever worked with?

Gilson: I don't have one, but I have been fortunate enough to have played with some of my heroes such as Claudio Roditi, Paulo Braga, Peter Erskine, George Garzone, John Lockwood, Miguel Zenon, Antonio Sanchez and many others.

Me: You have a new album called "Mozik". Is that your second album?

Gilson: Third.

Me: You did the album with drummer Mauricio Zottarelli... did you know him from Brazil? Did you two write all the songs together?

Gilson: I met him in the US , when he was a student at Berklee. We did some of the arrangements together like "Desafinado".

Me: Who else plays on the album, Gilson?

Gilson: Yulia Musayelyan, Fernando Huergo and Gustavo Assis-Brasil.

Me: You do a cover of a Herbie Hancock song I think. Do you know if he heard it? How did you choose that song?

Gilson: That was Mauricio's arrangement of "Eye of The Hurricane". I don't know if he heard it, but it would be the ultimate honor for us if he liked our version.

Me: I am surprised you didn't cover "Smoke On the Water". Did you think of doing that?

Gilson: I actually did a show with a great vocalist from Boston, Ray Greene and we did a jazz lounge version of "Smoke on the Water".

Me: Most of the song's have song titles I don't understand, and I won't ask you to translate, except "Zelia". What does that mean? Is it a person?

Gilson: This is the deal, the song "Zelia" is based on the chord changes of a Bud Powell tune called "Celia". So I called mine something that sounds like Celia, which is Zelia.

Me: Where did the album title and band name come from? Does Mozik mean the same thing over in Brazil as it does here?

Gilson: We were trying to come up with a name, so we mixed Gilson Schachnik with Mauricio Zottarelli and came up with Mozik.

Me: I mentioned Berklee which you went to as a student, but you're a professor there as well now, am I right?

Gilson: Yes.

Me: What do you teach, Gil?

Gilson: Ear Training, private lessons and ensemble.

Me: Didn't you write a book called "Beginning Ear Training"? That sounds interesting. My son plays guitar and is learning a shit load of rock songs... he even does "Smoke on the Water". Anyway, he is 12, do you think that book would help him play by ear?

Gilson: I think so.

Me: Where is the book available, Gil?

Gilson: Online and at the Berklee Bookstore.

Me: I have to ask you one more thing about "Mozik". It's dedicated to Webster Ranch. Is that a place or a person?

Gilson: The song "Web's Samba" is dedicated to a dear friend of mine that passed away 2 years ago, Webster Roach.

Me: Oh, Webster Roach, not Webster Ranch. I am an idiot. So, what's next for you, sir?

Gilson: We are working very hard to put together a tour and take this music to as many places we can. 

Me: Thanks for being here on the Phile. Please come back when your next project comes out. Go ahead and plug your website. All the best, sir. Take care.

Gilson: Thank you so much for having me. Take care.

There, that about does it for another entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Jim Messina, Joseph J. Ramsey and of course Gilson Schachnik. I cannot believe I misspelt Mozik in prior entries but I didn't misspell Schachnik. Anyway, the Phile will be back tomorrow with Dave Rosin from the very popular Canadian band Hedley. Then on wednesday it's musician Chris Jagger... betcha can guess who he is related to. Next Sunday it's singer Holly Elle and on Monday artist Timothy Lim. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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