Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pheaturing Andy Drudy From The Andy Drudy Disorder

Hello, kids, how are you? Welcome to the Phile for a Saturday. Yep, an extra entry this week. It beats laying in bed. There's only so much of VH1 Clasic I could watch in a day. My son is playing his first basketball game today, and I am in too much pain to sit and watch, and it's an hour away. So, as I do this little stupid blog, he is definitely in my thoughts. You know, I have to say something about Logan. He just turned thirteen, right, and in that time he has done soccer, karate, tennis, and now basketball. I was a Cub Scout and took drum lessons and went to art school. He definitely is more outgoing then I was ever at that age, or any age in fact. Alright, let's do some comedy.  Well, as you know by now, President Obama was re-elected president of the United States. Turns out it is not all bad news for the Republicans. It seems that depression is covered by Obamacare. Some more good news... the president announced today he is not going to raise taxes on the entire 1 percent, just Donald Trump. Trump is not giving up. When it was announced that President Obama easily won the Electoral College, Trump demanded to see Obama's Electoral College records. Exit polls show that President Obama did well with women, beating Romney by 11 binders. Some Republicans are taking it hard. Clint Eastwood spent the entire day buying drinks for an empty bar stool.  I have to say, though, what is going on here in Florida? They still haven't finished counting the votes there yet. You know, at this point, Florida shouldn't even be allowed to vote for "American Idol."  NBC News was the first to call the election for President Obama. ABC News was the first to call a cab for Diane Sawyer. The rumor is that Diane Sawyer allegedly had been drinking on election night. In fact, today Mitt Romney called and said, "You got any left?"  President Obama easily won his home state of Illinois. In fact, in Chicago Obama got 120 percent of the vote.  How is everything in New York? You guys had a snow storm, right? You need another snowstorm event like the Republicans need another old white guy.  Everybody is talking about the fiscal cliff. And I would be talking about the fiscal cliff too if I knew what it was.  My mum once dated a fiscal cliff... Cliff Richard.  Anyway, I knew Obama was going to win. I knew this little secret. Use it next time there is an election and see if it doesn't work out. The guy who wins the presidential election is usually the guy who kills bin Laden.  I was reading a newspaper the other day... no I wasn't, but pretend I was, and newspapers are wondering why everybody reads the new's on the computer. One word: color. Check this out.

I love the new poster that they are selling at the White House gift shop. Did you see it? Luckily I have a copy of it here.

I think that covers just about everybody, right?  So, a while ago, back in March, I interviewed a young musician named Lee Abramson who has Lou Gehrig's disease, and who ran for President. Some of you readers and myself wondered if he received any votes. He sent me this, so I know he at least got one vote.

Look in the right corner.  So, have you guys seen the new James Bond movie Skyfall, yet? I haven't, but we did go see Wreck-It Ralph, and man, was it hard sitting in that theater seat for two hours. Very painful. Anyway, I am a big Bond fan so will go see the movie, but I am not that excited on Bond's new look.

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

Speaking of James Bond...
Top Phive Similarities And Differences Between James Bond And Abraham Lincoln
5. Portrayed by a squinty British guy named Daniel.
4. Drives Doris Kearns mad with lust.
3. Known to introduce himself as "Lincoln. Abe Lincoln."
2. Has been on an airplane.
and the number one similar and different between Bond and Lincoln is...
1. Great at dodging bullets.

Lee MacPhail
Oct 25, 1917 - Nov 8, 2012

Black-and-white Dorothy leaves black-and-white Kansas, the home she hates where nobody appreciates her, where people are always hassling her. But in colorful Oz she gets to reinvent herself, steal some shoes, join a gang of new friends and perfect the art of heroic witch-slaying. Her reward for this is winding up back in black-and-white, back where she started. Make sense? Of course not. But the moral of the story trumps all: don't leave home for the Big World Out There, kids. It's just a bunch of people with no hearts, brains or courage. And the rest of them want to set you on fire.  And so it is with Wreck-It Ralph (the voice of John C. Reilly), a lumbering ox of a video game character and destroyer of everything he touches in the vintage '80s arcade standby "Fix-It Felix Jr." Treated poorly for no better reason than being good at his job, Ralph needs a little validation. Attending "Bad-Anon" meetings doesn't help. Even "Street Fighter"'s Zangief can't convince him that he's not a bad person simply because his day job involves constant demolition. Lonely, sad, and longing for the day he's thought of as a hero, Ralph returns to his garbage dump home each night and sleeps under a blanket of bricks.  That is, until he goes AWOL from his own game. Entering the first-person shooter "Hero's Duty" to steal a hero's medal and then stumbling into the world of "Sugar Rush"... a little girl's candyland where he meets a cutesy misfit glitch named Vanellope (Sarah Silverman)... Ralph has to beat back the forces of evil, save Vanellope from her fate and learn to appreciate his own role in the arcade food chain. Of course, if everyone else had just expanded their minds a little bit and appreciated Ralph first (they started it, after all) he wouldn't need to go around proving himself to others. But thems the breaks when the world hates you irrationally. You just have to be better. I won't spoil the happy ending for you, but the Oz parallels remain fairly consistent and, occasionally, blatant.  And that's to be expected. So if Wreck-It Ralph fails at anything it's message freshness. Save the princess, join the heroic thousand-face throng, know yourself and your purpose... it's a blueprint you've known since the first time anyone told any story about anything. And the somewhat befuddling reward for heroic achievement, the return to a less exciting life (or, to put a positive spin on it, the comfort and love of the familiar), well, that's just part of the bargain. They're not sold separately unless you're James Bond. Setting that stuff aside, Wreck-It Ralph further (and happily) blurs the animation lines between Disney and Pixar, straddling that difficult empty space between just-for-kids films like Cars and more complex, all-ages entertainment like the Toy Story movies. Every day-glo-digital moment is impeccably constructed, the script (from Jennifer Lee and Phil Johnston) is funny, smart, simple to follow and sweetly moving when it comes to the obligatory final-act hugs, reconciliations and affirmations of there being no place like home. So if, in the end, it has less on its mind than a more dramatic movie like Brave, its pleasures are are no less warm, bright and witty, a repositioned Who Framed Roger Rabbit for generations of people raised on Donkey Kong. From 1 to 10, it gets a 7.

Okay, so, as you know, I am big into comic books, right? Well, a friend of the Phile who hasn't been here recently, is even bigger on comics than me. Please welcome back to thew Phile, my good friend, and comic expert, Jim Mello, in a pheature we call...

The latent addition to the "Before Watchmen" series reads like a comprehensive overview of the vaudeville-esque villains early life and criminal career. Moloch is portrayed as a outcast due to a birth deformity, that turns to violence and, later, crime to cure his loneliness. The Moloch here seems much more sinister than the sobbing villain at the end of the regular "Watchmen" series, with an inherent lack of empathy in line with sociopath tendencies. Instead of a more effective Mysterio type character (I think) he was portrayed as in the original series, we get a budding monster looking to take revenge on the world. Risso is solid on art, and if you like him, he shines here. All in all it's a little underwhelming, but if you have been enjoying the other series, this one is worth a look.

What? What's with that logo again, you ask yourself. I do to. LOL. Jim Messina, Campaign Manager for Obama For America, wanted to come up on the Phile and thank you, and I guess me for all our help. I said, why not, as long as I can talk to Stephanie Cutter again. She'll be on the Phile tomorrow. Anyway, please welcome back to the Phile... Jim Messina.

Me: Hello, Jim, welcome back to the Phile. So, before you start, I have to say something, after the President won, did you all get together and party?

Jim: Hello, Jason. President Obama made a surprise visit to the campaign office in Chicago to give a heartfelt thank-you to staff and volunteers.

Me: So, what did he say to you guys in the office?

Jim: He wasn't just talking to those of us in the office... he was talking to all of you. In his speech on Election Night, President Obama gave you all the title you have spent the last year and a half earning: "The best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics."

Me: I bet no one saw this coming really, did they?

Jim: So many times in this election, this campaign was counted out. They said our supporters wouldn't turn out, and we'd never see the kind of voter participation we saw in 2008. They said we'd be buried in money and special-interest influence. And they said that no campaign could overcome the political headwinds we faced.

Me: A lot of people didn't think he'd win?

Jim: Last year, a major American newspaper asked, "Is Obama toast?" As recently as two weeks ago, another ran this headline: "Can Obama win?"

Me: Well, Tuesday night, he did.

Jim: With a resounding YES WE CAN.

Me: And the volunteers helped, I didn't do anything really.

Jim: By knocking on doors, organizing phone banks, and chipping in a few bucks when you could, you built a campaign that is unparalleled.

Me: All I did was have you and other guys on the Phile.

Jim: The public also proved that millions of ordinary people taking ownership of a cause is still the most powerful force in our political process. You showed that grassroots organizing and small donations are not only the right way to win, but also the most effective way. How we got here must guide where we go.

Me: So, what now, Jim? How are you going to accomplish the things everybody voted for?

Jim: You've got to be even more involved in getting them done than you were in giving us all the chance. We'll be in touch soon about how we can get started on some of the President's top priorities in his second term.

Me: Okay, in the meantime, do you have anything else you want to say?

Jim: For now, I just want to say I am so proud of this team. And I can't wait to see where we take this incredible movement from here.

Me: Thanks, Jim.

Jim: Thank you, Jason, more to come.

Me: Jim Messina, kids. So, does he want to come back on the Phile again? I thought this was it. I am confused. Anyway, Stephanie will be on the Phile tomorrow.

Alright, today's pheatured guest is a top British guitarist whose band The Andy Drudy Disorder's new EP "The Blues Civilisation" is available on iTunes. He'll next be appearing on my birthday, November 23rd, with the Allstars at The Boot in Seaford, England. Please welcome to the Phile, the great... Andy Drudy.

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

Andy: I am very well thank you.

Me: Okay, before we get started, I have to ask you something very important... you were once tutored by Eddie Van Halen on guitar? Wot? Where was this?

Andy: Ouch! That is not strictly speaking true. Back in 1982 I went to GIT in Los Angeles. This was the very first of the vocational guitar schools and had only been going a couple of years or so and was very jazz orientated. The school was in Hollywood, which at the time was the center of all good things in the guitar world. Amazing people used to pop in and out of the school and give seminars and converts. One day, Alan Holdsworth turned up to give a concert at around 11am in the morning! Eddie was a big fan of Alan’s and got wind of the fact the he was turning up at the school. So, at around 10:45, Eddie appears with beer can in hand (and looking pretty overhung it must be said). Alan clocked that he was there and asked him to jump up and play. There were a hundred or so spotty guitar oiks like me sitting there with our jaws on the floor! This was just around the time "Thriller" hit the streets, so Eddie was at the peak of his notoriety and very “god” like. He hung around for a while and chatted with the us kids and then disappeared onto Hollywood Boulavard. So not exactly a guitar lesson as such, but a totally unforgettable experience.

Me: How old was he then?

Andy: I am not sure, but he was a young guy.

Me: Did you follow his career at all?

Andy: I remember the very first time I heard Van Halen, which was on Alan Freeman's Saturday Rock Show. He played "Running With The Devil" and I was out the door even before the song ended and on my way to WH Smiths on Streatham High Rd to buy the album. "VH 1" was a total game changer. I was hysterical. I saw him several times, first at the Rainbow and then later at Wembley. His energy was incredible. I have not seen the like since.

Me: Okay, now we got that outta the way, Andy, you're originally from England, right? What part? 

Andy: Yes, London. Balham to be precise.

Me: Balham?! Me too. Were you born at Weir Hospital?!

Andy: Me too! Weir Hospital. Small world. I lived on Ormeley Road opposite the post office. I went to Holy Ghost School.

Me: I didn't go to school there, I went to school in Putney. I live outside Orlando in Florida now. Where do you live now?

Andy: I was in LA for about a year after which I returned to the UK to nail every gig I could possibly find. I live on the South Coast of England at the moment in a Seaside town called Seaford which I love. My wife is Australian so I have spent some time over there and will do again in the future. But I love the States, it is an amazing and beautiful country. I love going there.

Me: Before we talk about your music and stuff, I read you biked across America. How long did it take?

Andy: It takes me about five or six weeks depending on the route. I have cycled across the US twice and Australia one time.

Me: Where did you start off and end up?

Andy: The first time, I went NY to LA, the second time, NY to San Francisco. The second time I took a more northerly route so as to avoid the vast cornfields in the mid west which consists of a straight road for weeks!

Me: What made you wanna do this, Andy?

Andy: There was this woman called Fyyona Campbell who walked around the world. She had a book called “On Foot Through Africa”. I got completely caught up in her adventure and wanted to do something similar except that walking takes rather a long time! So, I had a rusty old bike in the back of my dads shed which I polished off and cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats. That took 11 days and was easy. I needed a bigger challenge.

Me: Is cycling a hobby of yours? What about Bradley Wiggins, eh?

Andy: Not really, it is a mode of transport and cheap travel. As an artistic person, there is no output without input. Nothing stimulates the mind more that traveling and there is no better way of seeing the world than on the back of a bike. You meet some amazing people and see places that you never even new existed. The United States is an incredibly beautiful place. I am envious of anyone that lives there. Bradley Wiggins is amazing. A real inspiration. It is nice to see a Brit winning something. Through I have to say that I still am shocked at the astonishing amount of money that was spent on the Olympics. 

Me: I know you didn't come on the Phile to talk about cycling, Andy. Okay, you just recently released your first solo EP "The Blues Civilisation", which I downloaded from iTunes and really liked a lot. What made you want to release a solo release after all this time?

Andy: That is simple really. I did not have anything to say up till now. Anything that was not completely generic at least. I have had projects before, but they were with other musicians involved so it was a combined effort. I have been a professional musician for decades, and have observed and listened and taken on board everything around me. I want to do this thing right, I have goals for this project and reach as wide an audience as possible. It would be easy to do a straight widdly guitar album. I could do that without waking up. What is far more difficult is to make a great record like "Dark Side of The Moon" or "Thriller" or any of those great albums. Both feature great guitar playing, great songs and are full of surprises. But it is a long journey to making a record like that, and you have to start somewhere. That is a big challenge for you, right there!

Me: Did you write all the songs on the record, Andy?

Andy: Yes, over a few years. The material is quite diverse. It is not all blues as the name would suggest. I like to think there is something there for everyone if that does not sound too cheesy.

Me: It's released under the name The Andy Drudy Disorder. You sound very in order to me. Anyway, is The Disorder a band?

Andy: I have a great record company! They are very organized! Yes, it is a band, but quite flexible at to who I use. I only use professional musicians and they are not always around, so the line-up changes depending on who’s available. I have a pretty amazing address book with some pretty amazing names in there. I would like to rope is some “name” guests at some point.

Me: Who is in the band, Andy?

Andy: I see recording and live as two completely separate undertakings. The record is NOT a representation of the live show and vice versa. That is just the way I want it to be. At the moment I am using Paul Francis on bass, he has worked with Paul Weller, Steve Hillage, and many others. And on drums, Alun Harris. I love Aluns playing and he completely “gets” what I am trying to do. He is an amazing drummer and spends most of the gig making me look great. I can buy into that. For the record I used a bunch of guys. On bass Paul and another guy called Chris Hill. Chris currently plays for Jamie Cullum and I regard him as one of the finest musicians currently on the London scene. It is a real honour to have him on board. On drums I have my old buddy Adam Bushell. Anyone reading Rhythm magazine will be familiar with Adam, he also is a big player at BIMM in Brighton. Also Alex Reeves, who is currently playing with Dizzy Rascal, Marcus Bonfanti and countless others. Alex is unique. No one plays quite like Reeves. He’s a little bit special. If you want a groove and you want to sound slightly different. Reeves is your man.

Me: How long have you been playing music professionally?

Andy: About 35 years. It is amazing how things have changed over that time.

Me: How old were you when you started to play guitar?

Andy: Thirteen.

Me: The album has a modern blues feel. Are you a big fan of the blues?

Andy: Am I a big fan of the blues? That is an interesting question. If you ask me would I put on a Muddy Waters CD on in the car on the way to a gig, the answer will be no. The Stones? Definitely. But blues has a wide influence across popular music and most of the music that I have spent my whole life listening too sprang from those early blues roots. There is a strong vein of blues running through most of what I listen to and certainly what I play.

Me: Who were your influences growing up?

Andy: I loved Ritchie Blackmore. I first saw him with Rainbow and for me it was like going to church.”Made In Japan” is quite simply staggering. Now THAT is what I call blues. Pat Travers was huge for me, specifically "Making Magic". That was who I wanted to be. I do have a thing about three pieces, like Rush, Trapeze, Frank Marino (Check out “King Bee” on the live album.). I also loved prog. Genesis were magical. I still play those records endlessly. In recent years I have been working with David Hentschel that either engineered or produced some of their greatest work. I go around Dave’s house and the platinum discs are on the wall. I sit staring at them. There is something religious about that stuff for me. When AC/DC first came to the UK, they did a residency at the old Marquee club on Wardour St. I think it was every Monday for about 10 weeks or so. I only missed the first one! They were incredible. Just incredible. Been a major fan ever since. Also Micheal Shenker with UFO. There was something special going on there. I would play “This Kids” over and over and over. When I was growing up there was a guitar player knocking around the London scene called Alan Murphy. He was truly amazing, one of the most inspired musicians I have ever heard. He played for Go West ("Bangs and Crashes") and Level 42 and Kate Bush. Probably the most amazing player I have ever seem. Then of coarse there is Metheny. There is the whole jazz thing. There was an album by Lorne Lofsky called “It Could Happen To You” that blow my mind completely. Still does. Then there is that huge legacy of the greats like Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery. I pretty much soaked it all up.

Me: I have to say, listening to your vocals, you sound a little like Jon Bon Jovi. That's a compliment by the way. Who would you say you sound like?

Andy: I am trying to sound like me. I think it is important that I find my own identity in both my singing and guitar playing. That is by far the greatest challenge with every song I write, everything I record, or every time I hit the stage. There is still work to do.

Me: My dad was into the blues as well. Who is your favorite blues musician, Andy?

Andy: Well actually, Dave Gilmore or Tom Waits. Gary Moore has always been at the front in that blues rock kind of way. But blues to me is such a broad subject. I don’t buy the traditionalist line. Check out Metheny on “Go Get It”, or Wayne Krantz on “0’6”. So much of Steely Dan’s work is derived straight from the blues and twisted in such a delightful way. Throughout the seventies, guitar music had moved on from the original blues flavours to what must have seemed at the time more sophisticated bands like free an Paul Kossoff, And Cream of coarse. Led Zeppelin took the blues and changed the world. Early Zeppelin is out an out blues and that morphed into (my favourite) "Physical Graffitti". That is what I like about the blues, how bands took that initial sound and turned it into something of their own.

Me: You were mostly a session guitarist, right? Who have you worked with, Andy?

Andy: Well, session guitarist is such an odd term. I never set out to be a professional musician. It has just worked out that way. When you start to make a little money it is no great leap to think that this is better than getting a job, so you network a little harder and hustle a little harder and I was always lucky that people kept asking me to do stuff. There have been a few names along the way, but I think I would prefer to be judged on my own music and not on the fact that I had some small part to play in someone else’s. I started playing because I wanted to be in a band like my heroes’ Ritchie Blackmore and Jimmy Page and Pat Travers. And I have always felt more at home and had more fun in that kind of situation. Sessioneering is not my natural state. Plus the fact that whole session scene has pretty much evapourated since home recording took off. Most of the session players these days earn their bread and butter primarily doing show’s but I just can’t do that. I have done short runs but by the end of it I just want to kill everyone. I didn’t get into music to sit in a pit band.

Me: You also worked on movies and TV shows. Anything I might've seen?

Andy: I have friends that have worked in library and composing so I have done a fair amount of that. That stuff crops up on TV all the time in the most surprising places. I have also written stuff for documentaries, theme tunes and stuff like that. I think that film score and TV music is pretty much at the cutting edge today. The standard is unbelievably high. Again, I prefer to keep the what’s and where’s under my hat. I am primarily a solo guitarist and prefer to be known for that at this time.

Me: As well as being a musician, you are a writer. I recently interviewed Chris Jagger, Mick's brother, and was surprised he was a writer as well. You write articles on music for various magazines, am I right?

Andy: I used to do stuff with Tony Skinner of the RGT for Total Guiar Magazine.

Me: And you wrote a bunch of instructional books on learning to play guitar? How many books have you written?

Andy: There are a whole bunch of books which is a compilation of the stuff I did with Tony for Total Guitar. After a few years there were reams of lessons so it was all compiled into about half a dozen books. I also have a bunch of pdf’s that are floating around on the internet and easy to find that are free for anyone to download. Basic lesson stuff.

Me: What do you like best, writing, teaching, or recording?

Andy: Now that depends what mood I am in. I love writing. Your writing is your legacy. It is what you will leave behind when you are gone. That is an exciting thought to me. The writing has to be worthy of that. Teaching is great. I have taught at BIMM in Brighton in the past and still occasionally do some work down there. I love how teaching forces you to think about things in different ways. I think teaching music is an important part of being a musician. I almost regard it as an obligation. Passing on the baton so to speak. I love private teaching and I think I will always do that till I drop Recording can be difficult. It can be like pulling teeth. Other times it can be an almost miraculous experience. I would love to be a better producer. I would love to take a younger artist and develop their songs. Ultimately the think I like best is standing on a stage with a Fender Strat around my neck. I am lucky to have spent the most of my life doing that. Earning a living doing what you love is not a job so I am very, very lucky.

Me: Now you had your first release out as a solo artist, are you gonna be releasing more music?

Andy: Yes, working on the next EP as we speak. I think we are looking at March for the next release. Initially I am planning a series of three EP’s and then I will have a change of direction.

Me: I have to ask you about the drawing of the building on the cover, sir. What is it?

Andy: The house is The Carson Mansion in Eureka California. Like the blues, houses have secrets and stories to tell. Houses are full of mystery.

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile. Is there a website you'd like to plug?

Andy: I am humbled that you asked.

Me: Thanks very much for being here, and please come back again when your next release comes out. Take care.

Andy: Many thanks.

Well, that about does it for another entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Jim Mello, Jim Messina and of course Andy Drudy. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Alumni Sam and Luke, then on Monday with Alumni Kevin Rowe. On Wednesday I go get my staples removed from my arm, so the Phile will be on Thursday instead with a great rock band from England... Damn Vandals. Then either Saturday or Sunday, I don't know yet it's Alumni Jon Tiven from the new band Yo Ma Ma. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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