Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pheaturing Jack Kansas and Frank Pick From Damn Vandals

Chick's dig scars, and mine is a doozy. LOL.

Hello, welcome to the Phile for a Thursday. How are you? This is the first entry in weeks since my accident that I am doing with both hands, and no sling. Yesterday I went to get my seventeen staples removed and I am not supposed to wear the sling except when I go out, I am supposed to exercise and move my arm a little during the day. Right now, this is exercise.  Well, the CIA director, David Petraeus, resigned. The FBI caught him having an affair with his biographer. Hey general, you work for the CIA, not the TSA. There's a double standard here. The head of the CIA gets caught having sex and has to resign. Meanwhile, a British special agent, James Bond, has sex with tons of women and makes $90 million at the box office. Where's the justice? No one knows what David Petraeus will do next. All I know is he's in for one awkward Thanksgiving. The truth is, many women are attracted to men in power. And powerful men are attracted to women who... well, women. So to recap, men are pigs but some of them have cool jobs.  The presidential election officially ended this weekend, four days after the polls closed. The votes from Florida finally came in. So now Florida can get back to doing what it does best, which is eating early and driving slowly.  Mitt Romney has a supporter in Indiana who thought it was a good idea to have the Romney/Ryan logo tattooed on his face. He'll feel stupid when he finds out about campaign buttons. Even Mike Tyson was like, "That's a ridiculous tattoo." I wonder if laser tattoo removal is covered under Obamacare. That would be ironic, wouldn't it?  News from the world of auction houses: Christies last night auctioned off a 76-carat diamond. I believe it was purchased by General Petraeus for his wife.  A woman is so angry with the election results that reportedly she got in her car and ran over her husband. She's so mad that Romney didn't win, she runs over her husband. It was Karl Rove's wife.  So, I am guessing a lot of you reader's play video games, right? The game "Call of Duty: Black Ops 2." came out a few days ago. I saw on the news people camped out waiting for it. I thought it was some kind of Occupy Toys "R" Us. There is a huge battle in the video game to see who'll control Los Angeles. They lost me right there. No one would fight for Los Angeles. Nobody really wants it. There was a video game that I loved when I was a kid. It was Pac-Man, a little yellow guy who kept popping pills until he won. He was the Lance Armstrong of his day.  A Key West man who told his partner that if Barack gets re-elected, he was not going to be around killed himself with the words "Fuck Obama!" scrawled on his will and two empty prescription bottles nearby. He was a man of his word. Of course, that word was "cuckoo," but what the hell.  I mentioned just now David Petraeus resigning from the CIA after having an affair with his biographer. Didn't anybody see this coming? Take a look at his official photo, people.

He's saluting you.  So, one of my hobbies is going on Twitter looking up different words to see what the people are talking about, and one of the words I always type in is Foghat. This is what I found recently...

Whatever you say, Quinn. Speaking of Foghat, I am glad they had another gig squeezed in recently.

Thanks to the Phile reader who sent that to me.  Well, I am not wearing my sling right now, but because of me, the sling wearing look is becoming the next big thing in Hollywood. Check out this picture of Robert Downey Jr., he is clearly a fan of the Phile.

That is so stupid. No, I'm so stupid. Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's...

Top Phive Reasons Why The L.A. Lakers Didn't Rehire Phil Jackson
5. It came out after that Jackson was also having an affair with General Petraeus.
4. In lieu of traveling with the team, Jackson wanted to pioneer a method hew called "Skype coaching".
3. Jackson's ongoing, crippling fear of "Linsanity"
2. If Jackson accepted the job, it would've jeopardized his sweet unemployment benefits.
And the number one reason why the Lakers didn't rehire Phil Jackson...
1. When Jackson came in for a meeting, Metta World Peace elbowed him right in the chops.

Dennis "Cat Man" Avner 
Aug 27, 1958 - Nov 5, 2012
I'm not surprised he offed himself. He'd been feline pretty depressed lately.

I met him once at Epcot, that Cat Man, guy. He was very creepy close up. If you don't know who he was, here's a picture...

When I met him I thought on what bloody planet do cats have scales? I must not have seen that episode of "Doctor Who" yet. Alright, moving on, and there is no segue, please welcome back to the Phile, singer, surfer, patriot, renaissance man... one of the most popular pheatures on the Phile... Laird Jim with...

Good morning, humans. It would seem that Sandy has taken something dear to my heart. As many of you know, one of my favorite activities is to sit with my back to one end of Ocean Parkway and blast my way to the other end at high speed while listening to great music. I took a tour yesterday of the damage on that area of the island. Large sections of the road are undermined and others are simply gone... I'm heartbroken. Many areas of Jones Beach, Robert Moses and more are just GONE... Fucking GONE! I can't put into words how I feel right now. This is what's left of Ocean Parkway... south shore of Long Island.

Driving through a wealthy area on the north shore... stop for pizza... guy behind the counter says,"I'm sorry sir, we never serve slices here... just individual, one of a kind pies, second to none." I stared at him for a few seconds and replied, "I don't want a work of art... I want a slice of pizza." Then walked out. This guy looked like the doorman at The Four Seasons in NYC... all proper and jacked about selling me a 22 dollar mini pie. Don't think so, pal.

Laird Jim, everyone! Thanks, Laird. Well, do you know what time it is? It's time my good friend Jeff Trelewicz comes on the Phile for...

Me: Hey there, Jeff. So, first of, the Giants lost bad this week. I am not happy. How'd the Steelers do? 

Jeff: Yes, the Giants looked rather pathetic. The Steelers won in OT in a game they should of dominated.

Me: So, how are you?

Jeff: I'm doing well.

Me: Cool, so, what's the NFL news this week?

Jeff: The biggest news is the quarterbacks that got hurt in the past week. Michael Vick, Pittsburgh's Big Ben and 49ers Alex Smith all injured and most likely out next week too.

Me: I bet none of the injuries these guys had are as bad as a humerous broken in 4 places. LOL.

Jeff: Most likey they didn't.

Me: Alright, so, how did we do last week?

Jeff: Ironically one team lost (Eagles), one team won (Steelers) and one team tied (49ers). That's right there was a rare tie this week. It always makes for interesting standings as a team can fail to make the playoffs by half a game. I had a much better week, winning all 3 of my games plus a Steeler win. You went 1-2 and a Giants loss. So now I'm leading by 2 points, but there is plenty of time left. You and I have taken turns in the lead last 3 weeks.

Me: Man, this is a close season. Okay, now for this weeks picks. I say Miami will win by 6, the Falcons will win by 8 and the Texans will neat the Jags by 9. What do you say?

Jeff: I pick Saints by 10 over Oakland, Bengals by a point and Packers by a touchdown.

Me: Thanks again, and I will talk to you soon next Wednesday.

Jeff: Hope you are feeling better. See you next week!

Today's pheatured guests are two members from the great new British rock band Damn Vandals. They have a new album out which is available on iTunes called "Done For Desire" and they'll next be appearing at The Fleece in Bristol, UK on December 7th. Please welcome to the Phile from Damn Vandals... Jack Kansas and Frank Pick.

Me: Hello, guys, and welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Jack: All’s good thanks. Today we’ve mainly been struggling with a puncture repair kit... trying to patch up an eight foot inflatable dinosaur. The dinosaur wears a Damn Vandals t-shirt and stands in the crowd at gigs, trouble is he gets a bit abused by drunken mobs sometimes. Actually, once Adam the bassist stabbed it... he really hates that dinosaur. Whether to retire the Damn Vandalsaurus is practically the only thing this band ever argues about.

Me: I hope you get the dinosaur fixed. You guys are based in England, right? What part?

Frank: We’re all living in London at the moment. Jack and I flank North Central/Kentish Town boarders whilst Adam guards the East and Chris patrols the deep South... kind of got the city covered…

Me: I am originally from London but lived in Oxford. Are you all from the same area?

Frank: No, we’re from all over the place really... Sheffield, Switzerland, London, and Northern Ireland, to name a few…

Me: Who is in the band, you guys? And how did you all meet?

Jack: Frank’s on guitar, great ears, quick fingers. Adam the dinosaur killer is on bass. Chris does drums, and me, I try and sing loud enough over the top of them. We’re all friends of friends really... that and knowing each other from the London circuit.

Me: I have to ask you about the band name. Did you think, being from England, calling yourselves Bloody Vandals? Who came up with the band name?

Jack: Ah, never thought of Bloody Vandals. I’m assuming that might work well your side of the pond as you guys love our little linguistic quirks. My mum used to complain about ‘damn vandals’ if anyone scrawled any graffiti locally. I always thought it would be a good name for a band, but was never singing songs that suited the name... until now…

Me: How long has Damn Vandals been together?

Frank: The first Damn Vandals gig was just a little over two years ago, although we spent months practising and hanging out beforehand. We wanted the band to be slick, well rehearsed and in control of the kind of music we all wanted to play from the word go.

Me: Have any of you guys actually vandalized something? I have, but I am not saying what.

Jack: For sure. Like most male members of the human race, we’ve all vented rage out on an inanimate object at some point in time. We don’t make a habit out of it nowadays as loud guitars are a pretty good way of alleviating frustration. The type of vandalism I really dig is the sort that actually improves on the thing that was there beforehand. Graffiti writers like Banksy do that. He takes an ugly, normal wall and turns it into something that makes people look, laugh and think all at the same time. We’d love to do something like that, but with music.

Me: I have to tell you, you're one of my favorite new bands to come out in ages. You have been described as "bringing rock and roll back to the 21st century". That's a pretty cool quote. When you first heard that, what did you think?

Frank: Yeah, that’s quite a bombastic statement. I guess my first thought was, wow did rock and roll ever leave the 21st century... if it did then I’m glad we’re here to capitalise on this travesty.

Me: You guys have a new full length album out, after the EP "The Beautiful Mind". How would you compare both releases?

Frank: The recording sessions were both very close together so they both kind of blur into one. The songs on the EP and album are certainly from the same time and place. "Beautiful Mind" worked well as a platform for the LP... now it’s just a case of trying to get the long-player into as many ears as possible…

Me: I downloaded all your music from iTunes. I love the new album "Done For Desire". Is Desire a woman or are you actually talking about desire?

Jack: No, Desire isn’t an actual person... though if people want to think that it’s no skin off our noses. It’s desire as in lust, greed, revenge, want, love etc. A lot of the songs on the album have themes and characters of desire so "Done For Desire" seemed like a handy title at the time. I still like it…

Me: Who does most of the songwriting in the band?

Jack: We write the songs together in a rehearsal room. Recently I’ve been coming in with a riff and a vocal hook, we’ll then just have fun playing it. After that we condense it into the shortest song format possible, making sure that it still contains all the initial thrills, tingles, buzzes and highs that it had on conception.

Me: I have to mention the song "Trouble With Jesus". What is that song about? Here in Florida and the South they might not like that song ... or at least the title.

Jack: Yes, it’s a track that could be easily misunderstood. Basically it’s a song written from the point of view of someone who can find no solace in any of the world’s major religions... he/she doesn’t know if it’s their fault or the fault of the trappings of organized faith. It’s just a lost individual’s story taking place on the international heavy weight stage of belief.

Me: I have to ask as well who came up with the album cover. Is that angel based on a real woman? 

Jack: I did the cover art. I drew it initially then made it into a graffiti-style stencil. It’s just silver and gold spray paint on black. The angel type figure isn’t a real woman... more a figment of desire spray painting the words "Damn Vandals" on a wall. It seemed to work with the title so we just went with it. 

Me: So, I am guessing you guys play a lot of shows in England. Ever been to America yet to play? 

Frank: Yeah, we haven’t ventured away from these shores yet, but playing anywhere that will have us at the moment. We’d love to come to the US as soon as possible but, it’s a question of getting the cash together to do it.

Me: I have to ask, Frank, your guitar playing sounds very Slashish, which my 13 year old son is a huge fan of. I am guessing he'll love Damn Vandals as well. Are you a Slash fan?

Frank: Of course... you’ve got to love Slash! When I think about it, my use of a Les Paul and Marshall are probably directly down to him. Yeah, play the LP to your son, we’ll send him a t-shirt if he likes the music!

Me: Well, I like the band and want a t-shirt. XXL, please. ; ) How long have you been playing guitar, Frank?

Frank: Since I was knee-high to a grasshopper.

Me: Who are all your influences? Jack's singing sounds a little like David Bowie, if David Bowie was in a kick-ass rock band. Actually, he was, he was in Tin Machine.

Jack: Yes, Bowie has to be up there amongst the influences. He’s pretty much done every genre of popular music and done it well (with exception of drum and bass perhaps). I guess Bowie kind of prowls over rock history to the point where he can’t be denied.

Frank: Throw some Pixies, early Manics, The Doors and Grinderman in there and you have just the tip of a pretty large musical iceberg really…

Me: Have you guys heard of the group Foghat? Just wondering.

Jack: Must admit we hadn’t, but just went to Spotify to get a flavour... recognised a couple of their tunes, so they’ve been buried in our subconscious somewhere. Will check out more!

Me: So, what's next for you guys? Any new music coming out?

Jack: There’ll be a few more tracks off "Done For Desire" coming out as singles in the next few months... need to milk that LP as much as possible! Then hopefully they’ll be another album out next year, already have a pile of ideas just waiting to be exercised in the rehearsal room.

Me: Thanks so much for being here on the Phile. Please come back again soon. Go ahead and plug your website and everything. All the best.

Jack: It’s been a pleasure, cheers for having us & best of luck. Here are some links:,, Twitter @DamnVandals.

That about does it, and man, I am worn out. My arm, and the rest of my body needs a rest. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim, Jeff Trelewicz and of course Jack Kansas and Frank Pick from Damn Vandals. That is a great album, kids. Check it out. Alright, so, I said the Phile will be posted on Sunday, but Logan has his delayed birthday party that day, so instead the Phile will be back tomorrow with Alumni Jon Tiven from Yo Yo Ma. Then on Monday it's young singer Anya Parker-Lentz and on Wednesday Amy Lynhn from Amy Lynn & The Gunshow. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. I will leave you with a picture of a dare. On the way to South Carolina we stopped at Fort Sumter and Logan dared me to lick the fort. 'Nuff said. See you tomorrow.

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