Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pheaturing Vic Flick

Hello, kids, so, who wants so see some rad stitches? No, me neither. Welcome to a Saturday entry of the Phile, I'm Wreck-It Jason.  As you know the Phile was supposed to be posted again last Wednesday but that was the day I ended up having surgery in my right shoulder. They put inn 11 screws, a long metal plate and a bone from a dead person. That's the first time I ever had a bone put in me, but that's not the first time I got screwed so many times. I don't know who the bone belonged to before it was given to me, but I'm just hoping it's not from a French person. Anyway, thanks for your continued well-wishes, and I am still in a lot of pain.  Alright, let's talk about the other big news of the week, apart from my surgery... George Lucas sold LucasFim to the greatest company to work for ever... Disney. Disney's Star Wars is going to be Jar-Jar spending Christmas with the Ewoks. I can feel it in my balls.  You know, I was thinking... Things that happened under a Republican President: Star Wars prequels. Things that happened under a Democratic President: Disney Star Wars movies. After working for Disney going on 25 years, I better get a part in the new Star Wars films.  Tests conducted in Italian cities revealed that the air in some cities contains traces of psychedelic drugs. The Italians went crazy. They took to the streets, waving their hands in the air. Then they heard about the psychedelic drug. Doctors say it's the best time to get the flu shot. This year there is the seal flu. It comes from seals to humans. If you're inflected with the seal flu, you get the chills and an uncontrollable desire to balance balls on your nose.  So, you folks up in New York and Jersey, and other places, how did Sandy effect you? I watched a lot of storm coverage over the last couple of days. I spent 36 hours watching weather reporters standing in water while telling us not to stand in water. Governor Christie did a great job with the storm press conferences. It's hard to be boring in the middle of a disaster but somehow Mayor Bloomberg managed to do it. Although the sign language woman didn't speak a word, she had a lot more personality than Mayor Bloomberg did.  The presidential race continues. Did you forget about that for a few days? Maybe the only good thing about the hurricane is that we forgot about the presidential race. Mitt Romney resumed campaigning. He was visiting those hardest hit by the storm, and that would be swing-state Latinos.  The New York City Marathon is still on for tomorrow. Typically the New York City Marathon is won by a guy from Kenya. No, no, I'm sorry. I'm thinking about next week's election.  New Jersey is in bad shape. Governor Christie announced water restrictions. No one is allowed to water their lawns, but they just got 18 feet of water so that seems like a reasonable request. The power is still out for 4.5 million people. And they say 20 percent of the cell towers in New York have been wiped out. That means people have been resorting to using pay phones. They're so filthy I'd rather write a letter.  Meanwhile, Apple went forward with the release of the iPad mini, or for the millions of people who still don't have electricity, a paperweight. Anyone standing in line for an iPad mini in New York or New Jersey this week should be punched, all right? If you have that kind of time, volunteer for something.  Well, that Hurricane Sandy was one helluva storm. Did you see what it did to the Statue of Liberty?

The eye of the storm looked a little bit different when I saw it on the news.

So, you know I am in a sling, right? Well, it seems I am starting a trend. I was watching "Conan" the other day and he had an actress named Casey Wilson who wore something she could only have copies from me.

And I think she's here impersonating me after the accident.  As I mentioned Disney now owns the Star Wars films. They have already begun to make changes in the parks.

And now for another...

Well, the Mayans said in a few weeks the world is gonna end. That's good as I cannot take this shoulder pain anymore. Anyway, I thought I would invite an old friend back to the Phile to give us some Mayan advice. Please welcome back...

Me: Hello, Marvin, what advice do you have for us today?

Marvin: Nya b’a’n tu’n cycub’ tajlan tal k’ak, ku’n a’lix taljiy tzul.

Me: Fantastic. But I have no patience today. What is that in English?

Marvin: It is not good to count matches because if there are many that is how many children you will have.

Me: Counting matches is also a waste of time. Thanks, Marvin.

Last Wednesday there was supposed to be a Phile entry, but like I said I had to have surgery. Normally on Wednesday's I invite my friend Jeff on and we talk football. We'll do that now instead.

Me: Hey, Jeff, before we start football talk, what do you think about Disney buying Lucas Film?

Jeff: I'm honestly not sure what to think. Other then a new Star Wars movie in 2015 I'm curious what Disney plans on doing with it.

Me: Yeah, me, too. So, Jeff, it's been awhile. How have you been?

Jeff: Finally Jeff has come back to the Phile. Oh wait, sorry. I was channeling my inner Rock. I'm doing well.

Me: Okay, so, on vacation as you know, I was seriously injured. If I was a football player I'd be out for the season. Has anybody got seriously hurt in the NFL these last few weeks?

Jeff: I'm sorry to hear about your injury. But you aren't on the injured reserve so at least our games can continue.  The biggest injuries were Troy Polamalau from the Steelers and Maurice Jones-Drew from Jacksonville. Neither are career or even season ending injuries so that's at least good.

Me: Okay, last time you were here we predicted two weeks of games. Before we do this weeks picks, how did we do? How did we do the week before? So, we are up to date, right?

Jeff: Over the last two weeks I went 3-3 and you went 1-4-1. The Steelers won both their games. So did the Giants. But now I'm up by one point!

Me: You're winning again? Aggghhh.  So, let's do this weeks picks. I say San Diego will win by 7, Broncos will win by three and the Saints will win by 5. What do you pick?

Jeff: I'm going to pick Ravens by 10, Atlanta by a touchdown. And finally Miami by 3. Plus it should be a fun week. Your Giants play my Steelers! Bring it on! See you next week!

Me: Alright, I will see you back next week.

This is pretty damn cool, today's pheatured guest is an English guitarist, most famous for playing the guitar riff in the "James Bond Theme". His autobiography "Vic Flick, Guitarman" is the 21st book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Please welcome to the Phile the legendary... Vic Flick.

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

Vic: I'm very well, thank you. A few creaks and squeaks as time marches on but okay.

Me: I have to comment on your name, sir. It's very hip sounding. Is it a stage name or your real name?

Vic: Less of the Sir and more of the Vic, please, Jason. I was Christened 'Victor Harold Flick'. My parents always called me Victor so I don't think they got the rhyming bit. I grateful, really. as it is quite a memorable and commercial sounding name.

Me: We'll talk about James Bond in a minute, but Vic Flick sounds like a Bond character. I am sure I am not the first person to ask you about your name, am I?

Vic: No. And the could be connection with James Bond has been noticed many times. When I first met my wife to be, I was leading a band in the Rock and Calypso Ballroom in Butlins, Clacton. It was formed with my brother, Alan and called the Vic Alan Quintet. When she found out my real name was Flick she had to laugh... and has been laughing for the last 52 years!

Me: Vic, you were born in Worcester Park outside London. My sister was born there as well. I was born in Balham. Do you still live in London?

Vic: Haven't lived in the London area for at least 25 years. I now live in Las Vegas. A great town and we both love it here. 

Me: I live outside Orlando now, Vic. Ever been here?

Vic: I have been to Orlando. My Clifford Essex guitar, the "James Bond Theme" guitar, was in the National Guitar Musem at the Science Center. The museum moves around the country, staying maybe three to six months in each place. I think it's in Richmond at the moment... but without my guitar which is up for auction by Profiles In History. The guitar has also been in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum.

Me: Anyway, I have to tell you, Vic, your book "Vic Flick, Guitarman" is the newest book in the Phile's book club. When did you decide to write the book, Vic?

Vic: About eight years ago. Many people have suggested me writing a book and it took about five years to complete. Sounds like a long time, but it you've ever tried to write a book...

Me: You had a long an amazing career, Vic. Was it hard remembering everything? Is there anything you wanted to put in the book but didn't because of space, or you forgot?

Vic: I was on an airplane from Los Angeles to London with a legal pad and a pen. Once we were in the air I started jotting down memories and one thing led to another... as the man said to the judge! I soon had four pages full of notes, headlines and ideas for chapter headings. The minute I signed with BearManor Media I started rememebering other things. Maybe another book in the making.

Me: Vic, how old were you when you started to play guitar?

Vic: I was 14 years old. I had studied piano from the age of 7 and got quite high in the exam things. The difficult thing was getting the tips of my fingers hard enough to practice as much as I wanted. My father and brother had a small dance band and as my father played piano, I had to play something else to get in the band. Took a while, but I got there in the end. "Tea For Two" never sounded better.

Me: Did you start off on acoustic or electric?

Vic: I started on a Gibson Kalamazoo which was a small bodied round sound hole acoustic. I later 'electrified' it with a Tank Commander Neck Microphone stuck to the machine head played through my father's large radio. Things have moved on since those days. My next guitar was a Hofner President. I worked all one summer laying concrete floors to buy that one. Very flashy guitar.

Me: I am a big Bond fan and Beatles fan, so I don't know what to ask you about first. I guess Bond, as that came first, right?

Vic: Ask away.

Me: Did Monty Norman who wrote the music for the first Bond film Dr. No approach you to do that infamous guitar part, Vic?

Vic: No, I was with the John Barry seven and John was asked to arrange a tune that Mony had written and make it punchy and spy like. John and I worked on the sound we wanted and the result had been following me around for 50 years.

Me: You were in other bands before this when you were a kid, right?

Vic: My first professional job was with the Bob Cort Skiffle and when we were on Paul Anka's first ever tour of Europe I met John Barry, who's Seven was soloing and backing Anka I was also with Eric Winstone's Orchestra and a few others I can't remember plus doing dance gigs and other bookings.

Me: When were you in Paul Anka's band? Wait, it wasn't his band, but he was in it, right?

Vic: Anka didn't have a band per se as he was accompanied by The John Barry Seven. I never worked in a band with Anka.

Me: Did you have to audition for John Barry Seven band?

Vic: As I said before, The Skiffle group I was in was on the same bill as The John Barry Seven. John Barry and I became friends and he knew I could read music so when he called me to join the Seven several months later, I had kinda already done the audition. 

Me: What songs did you guys perform?

Vic: All the John Barry Seven recordings like "Hit and Miss", "The Magnificent Seven", "Walk Don't Run", "Black Stockings". All instrumentals until the desperate day we got a girl singer in the band. The less said about that, the better!

Me: One of the John Barry Seven songs was called "Zapata". What does "Zapata" mean, do you know?

Vic: It was a number written by me and included on an album called "Stringbeat". The tune had a Latin feel to it and the name "Zapata" was of a romantic cavalier sort of person. The name seemed to fit. We recorded the album in three sessions with me soloing on guitar faced with a bank of string players... many of whom were fixers, or contractors. It was basically from that moment when my session career took of.

Me: Before Dr. No came out, no one knew how big the James Bond movies would be. Were you surprised how big that franchise got?

Vic: Never stopped being surprised, Jason. At the time it was just another music session for a film about a spy. I know the producers were down to their last couple of quid and still looking for a distributor. After they found a distributor with a few cinemas, and the audiences went crazy about Dr. No and Mr. Bond everything took off. Amazing story of success.

Me: Did you read any of Ian Fleming's books?

Vic: Have to admit, no. And never had. I know the films are so different from the books that I'm sure I would have been disappointed.

Me: I have to tell you, I used to live across from Sean Connery in Putney, and went to school with his son Jason. Did you ever meet Sean, or any of the Bond's?

Vic: Wow, Jason. That's your claim to fame! No, I didn't meet Connery but met Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan. Both really nice guys.

Me: When Monty Norman gave you the music to play, did you know exactly what he wanted? Did you do it in one take?

Vic: Monty had nothing to do with the recording apart from supplying the top line of an old show tune he had stuck in a drawer. The theme he had come up with wasn't dynamic enough for the Brocollis so the the tune was given to John Barry and me and you know the result.

Me: Did anybody tell you where the music in the film would be?

Vic: Interesting question. The music we recorded was supposed to be just the opening. The editor, Peter Hunt, had to slip in into the film quite a few times to emphasis James Bond and his energy etc.! We should have been paid extra but as I said, not much money around then!

Me: I have a lot of guitar geeks who read the Phile, so I have to ask, what type of guitar did you play in that recording?

Vic: A British guitar, the Clifford Essex Paragon De Luxe with a De Armond pick up attached. It was a cello bodied acoustic and a great guitar for a big band rhythm section.

Me: Vic, that guitar could be worth so much money, did you ever think of selling it?

Vic: As I said, it's to be auctioned in December of this year and I'm hoping for a substantial figure. :)

Me: I read something you played or were part of a plus four sound. What exactly is that, Vic?

Vic: The Seven was used by EMI records to accompany a new pop singer called Adam Faith. John Barry thought he had a similar voice to Buddy Holly so incorporated 4 violins to pluck a rhythmic acompanyment. So the 'plus four' was four violinists. Those recording has a distinctive sound and a lot of sore fingers. 

Me: Growing up, what bands or musicians did you listen to or were influenced by?

Vic: Guitar would be Jim Hall, Tal Farlow, Barney Kessel and a few others and I loved big bands, so Count Basie, Ellington, the British band Ted Heath. Some of my happy musical moments were in the rhythm section of big bands.

Me: For some reason I am guessing you were a Gene Vincent fan, am I right?

Vic: I liked Gene Vincent and all of the singers of that time. A musical paper called the New Musical Express held concerts at the Wembley Stadium and many of the American singers would appear, along with the British groups, Cream etc. That's where I first met Eric Clapton.

Me: Other musicians have played the James Bond song over the years for various projects. I have on my iTunes an acoustic one someone did. Do you have a favorite, Vic, of the James Bond covers?

Vic: Not really. I hear covers and don't follow through with who it is. I've heard enough myself without hearing it from other people... as good as they are.

Me: Before we get done talking about Bond, you played on a few James Bond soundtracks through the years. What is your favorite Bond film of all time?

Vic: I think it's Goldfinger. I like everything about it, the characters, Blomfeld and the girls and the plot and especially the theme tune sung by Shirley Bassey.

Me: Okay, let's talk about The Beatles. After the James Bond film came out, you were approached by George Martin to write something for A Hard Day's Night. Okay, I have to ask, when he asked you, how quick did you say yes?

Vic: Well, it wasn't quite like that. I got a call from the EMI fixer to see if I could do a session on such and such a day... and I could. I turned up at EMI with my Fender Strat and a Fender Vibrolux amp to find it was the George Martin Orchestra. George told me he had asked for me as he wanted 'that ' sound. The tune was "Ringo's Theme" to be played when Ringo walked about at the end of the film. So I was given the music, a music stand and a chair and off we went. It didn't take long, as I remember and you know the result. I didn't write it, but wish I had!!

Me: Were you a Beatles fan?

Vic: Oh, yes. They wrote some great songs and were a great group. I have to tell you that the drummer on "Love Me Do" and another song was Andy White, not Ringo. And Ringo played a bit of tambourine on one of them. Just setting the record straight!!

Me: Okay. Did you get to meet the Beatles at all?

Vic: They recorded most of their stuff at EMI, now Abbey Road Studios, in Studio 2. That studio was good for pop recordings. The other two studios were being used for other artists recording and I seemed to live at EMI for many months during the busy periods. The studios had a tea room where musicians would go for their breaks. I met the Beatles and chatted. Nice guys. I particularly admired Lennon until he started living in a sack with his lady. No need for all that suff.

Me: I downloaded the album "James Bond Now" from iTunes, Vic. Did you have fun putting that album together?

Vic: Yes, again, like the book it took a long time and I have to thank my co writer and producer, Les Hurdle for all the work he put into it. Plus, the Mastering Engineer, Mike Aarvold who pulled the whole album together. Thanks for downloading it.

Me: What made you record that album after all these years?

Vic: Like the book, people kept asking me and I succumbed to their wishes. I'm glad I did.

Me: So, do you tour and play shows? I am guessing if there's one song you have to play is that James Bond theme. Do you ever get bored playing it?

Vic: I do very little live work. There used to be a couple of Blues Clubs in Santa Monica I played at and in Las Vegas, where I now live, there used to be some places to have a jam but they've disappeared now. Sad, but that's progress, I suppose. I don't get bored playing the "Bond Theme" because usually it's for a convention where everybody is interested and I play to my own backing rack so I know it's going to be okay.

Me: Do you ever go to any Bond themed conventions?

Vic: I was a guest at a few Bond Weekends organized by my friend Matt Sherman but those have stopped. I played a selection of Bond themes which were always well received.

Me: You played with Tom Jones, Nancy Sinatra, Cliff Richard and Eric Clapton. Is there any musician or singer that you haven't played with that you wish you could?

Vic: I nearly got to work with Frank Sinatra when he came to London but I was already working, I would have liked to work in the Count Basie Band, with Dean Martin and Ella Fitzgerald. There are many I could list but can't remember their names.

Me: Vic, thanks so much for being on the Phile. I have a million more questions for you, sir, so please come back again. Go ahead and plug your website.

Vic: It's been a pleasure, Jason. You ask some good questions. My web site is and my book, available at and Kindle is "Vic Flick, Guitarman".

Me: Take care, thanks again, keep playing that great tune, and please come back. I hope this was fun. You are truly a legend.

Vic: Very many thanks and very best wishes to you and your readers.

Okay, that was a great interview, but don't get me wrong, I am glad this entry is done. My arm is killing me! Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz and of course Vic Flick. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Neara Russell. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

No comments: