Monday, December 3, 2012

Pheaturing Zeeshan Zaidi From The Commuters

Hey, kids, welcome to another entry of the Phile for a Monday. What's up? I am going on only a few hours sleep, so bear with me.  So, do you guys know who Rupert Murdoch is? He's the guy whose tabloids hacked into people's phones in England. He's back in hot water. The British parliamentary commission delivered its findings. The report assessed the standards and ethics of the British tabloids. Spoiler alert: They don't have any. The investigation concluded that Britain's current press watchdog has no teeth. I'm like, it's Britain. Who the heck does? Have you seen my teeth, people?  Everyone in California goes nuts when it rains. People are like, "Oh, no, it's raining! It's never been this bad before!" People are taking shelter under Meg Ryan's lips. There is panic there. Lindsay Lohan went to jail just to stay dry. Californians need to grow a big one like New Yorkers. They're not crying... and look what they went through.  Jeff Zucker, the former head of NBC, is taking over CNN. And today Wolf Blitzer announced in five years he's stepping aside for Conan O'Brien.  I'm so excited, tomorrow I am gonna finally see the new James Bond movie, it only took a month. It's the 23rd James Bond film, and it might be the best. Some people think Roger Moore was the best Bond ever. Those people are called "Roger Moore." One of my favorites is the first one, "Doctor No." Sean Connery looked so cool, kissing Ursula Andress on that lush tropical island. Not only did Connery play James Bond, but his chest hair doubled as the lush tropical island. Every guy in the world wants to be James Bond. Even guys in al-Qaida are like, "Death to the West. But not 007."  Well, have you heard the crazy news? The Phile has a sponsor!! For real. Check it out, kids.

This just in... Kate Middleton is pregnant. Just because my shoulder is broken doesn't mean anything else is. LOL. How long before somebody Photoshops a picture of John Terry climbing out of a window at Buckingham Palace? Kate Middleton is pregnant, Rita Ora maybe cheated on Rob Kardashian with twenty men and Harry Styles is dating Taylor Swift! What's going on? Kate Middleton says she will now stop attending the royal balls.  You guys know I love inspirational posters, right? Check this one out, it's definitely made for me.

We went to Hallmark yesterday and I found this book... this is 100% real.

Willie McSquee is my blues name. The pirate who loved to clean. I bet.  There's a new movie out called Life of Pi about an Indian kid and a tiger, or something like that. I'd rather see a movie called Life of Pie. Anyway, here's a picture from the movie.

Well, it's not to be confused with a similar movie from China... called Life With Li. Here's a picture from that movie.

Don't get them confused!  Okay, Christmas, kids, is in just a few weeks, so here on the Phile I like to help you in case you having problems picking out a gift for your loved ones, or friends. So here, once again, is the...

Let's face it, it's hard to indoctrinate children into lives of geekdom, which is why it is so important you start early. The Star Trek Enterprise Light Up Feeding System allows you to ensure that your child immediately begins to identify the Enterprise as an icon of health and nourishment, sure to foster a love of sci-fi that will never die. You can buy it right here: And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York...

Top Phive Most Awkward Moments At The Obama/Romney Lunch
5. Obama answered the door in his bathrobe and said, "Oh shit, was that today?!"
4. Every time Obama took a work call, he insisted that Romney cover his ears and hum loudly.
3. Romney didn't bring a thank-you gift, but he DID leave a floater.
2. Romney ate so much, he had to lean back and have his manservant undo his top pants button.
And the number one awkward moment at the lunch...
1. The meal was interrupted when a stark-naked Joe Biden hurried through on his way to the john.

I am so excited, yesterday on the Phile I had Jeremy Bird here, and today, my favorite politician type person... Stephanie Cutter! That's a very unprofessional way to introduce her. Please welcome back to the Phile, the very attractive Deputy Campaign Manager Obama for America... Stephanie Cutter!

Me: Hello, Stephanie, welcome back.

Stephanie: Hello, Jason, I hope you had a lovely holiday and all is well.

Me: I am hanging in there. I have no idea why you wanted to be back on the Phile, Stephanie.

Stephanie: I'm here with a quick update on the "fiscal cliff" and how you can get involved.

Me: Yeah, we've been hearing a lot about this "fiscal cliff" lately.

Stephanie: Right now, President Obama is asking you to think about what $2,000 a year means to you and your family... because Congress needs to hear it.

Me: The Senate passed a bill about this , or something, right?

Stephanie: The Senate has passed a bill that stops taxes from going up for 98 percent of American families, and asks those who can afford it to pay a little more.

Me: And if the House follows suit?

Stephanie: If the House follows suit, President Obama is ready to sign it as soon as it hits his desk.

Me: What about if they fail to do so?

Stephanie: If they fail to do so, a typical middle-class family of four will see their taxes go up by $2,000 in just a few short weeks.

Me: So, I'm guessing President Obama is asking Congress to do the right thing, right?

Stephanie: Of course, Jason, and act before the New Year, but he needs our help.

Me: How can we help? Does that work?

Stephanie: We've got a good track record here. When we make our voices heard and urge Congress to take action... whether it's about health care, student loans, Wall Street reform, or "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"... they listen. Ask the people you interview what does $2,000 a year mean to you and your family.

Me: The president has worked hard on this, right?

Stephanie: For more than 19 months, President Obama campaigned on the idea that if we're going to be successful, every American has to do their part and pay their fair share. A centerpiece of his platform, and the campaign you built, was that income taxes should not go up on the middle class... that the responsible way to pay down the deficit, while investing in education, job training, research, and science, is to ask the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more.

Me: Stephanie, I am sure none of this is a surprise to anyone in Washington.

Stephanie: Yeah, they heard the same arguments we did... they paid attention to the campaign, and then they saw a clear majority of voters deliver a verdict on November 6th.

Me: So, again, what happens if the House passes the bill?

Stephanie: If and when the House passes this bill, 98 percent of American families and 97 percent of small businesses will not see a tax increase. Your story matters and Congress needs to hear it.

Me: Okay, readers, think about what $2,000 a year can do for you, or your family, or someone you know.

Stephanie: Thanks for speaking out, Jason. More soon.

Me: Thanks, Stephanie.

Stephanie: We've got to make our voices heard in this debate.

Me: The lovely Stephanie Cutter, kids!

Today's guest is the lead singer for the really cool New York based band The Commuters. You can download their new album "Rescue" at Please welcome to the Phile... Zeeshan Zaidi.

Me: Hello, Zeeshan, welcome to the Phile, man. How are you?

Zeeshan: Great, Jason! Thanks for featuring me on your blog.

Me: You're welcome, man. I love the band. I have to ask you about your name first of... Zeeshan Zaidi... very cool. It almost sounds like a character from Star Wars. Does the name mean anything, Zeeshan?

Zeeshan: It's an Arabic word, meaning something like "The Great One". Not a very humble name, but I didn't pick it :-)

Me: My name means sexual healer. Where are you from?

Zeehsan: The short answer: New York, NY in the US of A. The long answer: born in Canada, grew up in the Philippines, parents from Pakistan, and came to the states for college, been here since. A very patriotic naturalized American now.

Me: The Commuters are based in New York, right? What part?

Zeeshan: Yep... in Manhattan.

Me: Who else is in the band with you?

Zeeshan: Uri Djemal, a friend of mine since the age of 6 is the other guitarist. Ben Zwerin on bass, Paul Amorese on drums.

Me: Well, shit, you are not the only one in the band with a cool name. Uri has a cool name as well. And then there's Ben and Paul... LOL. Where are the other guys from?

Zeeshan: Uri's father is Israeli and mother is American. Ben's dad was American and mother is French. Paul's Italian-American from upstate.

Me: Okay, so, I downloaded the album "Rescue" and I have to say, it's one of my favorite albums I heard in awhile. Who does most of the songwriting, Zeeshan?

Zeeshan: Thanks Jason! I write all the songs.

Me: Who produced the album?

Zeeshan: I co-produced the album with Uri. I've been engineering and producing music off and on for many years. Uri is a producer in New York, with an awesome studio called Madpan Studios. We did it there.

Me: How did you decide "Rescue" was gonna be the title track?

Zeeshan: It was one of the most personal and meaningful songs on the album and it just sort of felt right.

Me: Before this full length you guys had an EP with some of the songs from "Rescue". What made you put the same songs on the new release?

Zeeshan: I wanted to put out a single with few extra songs to gain a little traction before hitting the market with the full album. So the EP was a preview of the album It worked well!

Me: Both EP and album are selling pretty good, right?

Zeeshan: Yep... really excited by both. That said, I'm giving the full album away for free on our website:  

Me: I am sure you play a lot of shows around the city. Do you plan to tour the rest of the country, say down to Florida?

Zeeshan: Most definitely! Want to do an East Coast tour sometime next year. Would love to make it down to Florida. I love your state.

Me: Zeeshan, I don't know who your influences music wise are. What bands are you into?

Zeeshan: A whole range of stuff... some classical (Bach), some classic rock (Led Zeppelin, Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton), some 90s rock (Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins), some world music, some more contemporary acts (Bon Iver, Arcade Fire) and even some pop.

Me: One of my favorite bands is from L.A. called The Whiskey Saints... actually, they changed their name to Burning Jet Black. They have been on the Phile a number of times. Anyway, you should look them up. You guys would both work well playing gigs together. Similar type of music. Have you heard of them already?

Zeeshan: I have not heard of them before I'll definitely check them out. Thanks for the suggestion. Always looking for bands to connect with and tour with.

Me: Zeeshan, you have your own record label, right? Communal Records? Is The Commuters the only band on the label?

Zeeshan: Yep, I set up a label to market and distribute The Commuters. I used to work in the music industry and know the ins and outs so it seemed like the right move.

Me: I have to ask you about this, you once worked for a company that worked with The OutKast and Cee Lo Green amongst other bands. What did you do for them, Zeeshan?

Zeeshan: That's right... I was Senior Director of Marketing for Arista Records. Did all of the online and sponsorship marketing for OutKast and CeeLo and the other artists on the label (Santana, Avril Lavigne, Sarah McLachlan, Pink, Dido, Usher).

Me: How were those bands to work with? Can you believe how big Cee Lo got, career wise?

Zeeshan: Awesome. Cee Lo is one of the genuinely nicest guys I had the pleasure of working with. At the time he was just starting his post-Goodie Mob solo career and wasn't really having the success he deserved. I was always confident that with time and persistence he would get there because he's immensely talented. I'm so glad it work out that way.

Me: So, what's next for you guys? Please come back on the Phile again soon. Take care, and continued success.

Zeeshan: More touring outside of the New York area for sure. Plus, I'm writing more songs now so hopefully we'll have new material to put out. Thanks so much for the interview, Jason, look forward to meeting you in person!

Well, there you go, another entry done. Thanks to my guests Stephanie Cutter and of course Zeeshan. The Phile will be back on Wednesday with Alumni Adam Bentley and Anna Jarvis from The Rest. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.


Marko said...

Zeeshan Zaidi i know about your history and i think you are powerful man!!! Great job man keep doing like that! All best!!!

Anonymous said...

No better group!

Olubayo Samuel said...

Great feature, thanks for writing and giving attention to this band.

Sumi Akter said...

I love this story -- great job!

Parvez Parvez said...

Owo that's great. I am waiting to get more track.

Anonymous said...

The Commuters and Zeeshan Zaidi are getting bigger and bigger. Good article.