Saturday, February 23, 2013

Pheaturing George Kilby Jr.

Hello, kids, welcome to the Phile, entertainment in disguise. Let's start with something important. Last Wednesday, which was February 20th, it was my 25th anniversary working at Walt Disney World. I got a service pin, a statue of Tinkerbell and a giant cake. Check it out.

It says congratulations on 25 years of service. LOL. I hardly did 25 years of anything, let alone service. I am just surprised I lasted there so long.  President Obama played golf here in Florida with Tiger Woods this past week. Well, you thought Michelle got mad when Barack ate a cheeseburger. She told him, “No hanging out with Tiger afterward. You come right home.”  A top geneticist at Stanford says human intelligence is declining. You know what that means? We are seeing Congress at its smartest and most effective right now.  We're learning more about the Pope's condition finally. The Vatican announced that Pope Benedict hit his head during his March 2012 trip to Mexico. In fact, right after that, the Pope said he's sworn off spring break forever. The big question: Who's going to replace the Pope? Where's the new Pope going to come from? I think they should check out Whole Foods. I've seen plenty of holier-than-thou people walking around that place. He hit his head and is gonna quick. I broke my shoulder in four places and I didn't quit my job. Maybe I should be Pope. Wait, you have to be Catholic, right? Oh, well. Anyway, will be retiring to his sprawling ranch, the Pope-arosa.  Yoko Ono is 80 years old. People sometimes say or suggest that Yoko broke up the Beatles. Now that she's 80 the only thing she's breaking up is bingo games.  The Yankees are in spring training and you kind of feel it... the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, the smell of the deer antler spray.  The White House’s immigration plan was leaked over last weekend, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio is already calling it “dead on arrival.” That, incidentally, is also Florida's state motto.  I mentioned this last week I think, NBA legend Michael Jordan turned 50 years old. Scottie Pippen actually helped him blow out his candles, but nobody seemed to notice.  A new study found that humans are slowly getting less intelligent. I was going to read the whole study, but I’ll just wait for the movie.  A judge in California announced that Kim Kardashian’s divorce trial from Kris Humphries will begin on May 6. The pre-show on E! will begin on March 1.  Well, this week Sony announced the Playstation 4. I watched the presentation, and I couldn't help but to think those guys didn't know what to do with their hands.

Actually, I just thought they looked like a really bad boy band. Maybe that jerk off Clive Davis can sign them. Man, did you hear what he said about Kelly Clarkson? Let Clive Davis be a lesson for all of you: don't piss off Kelly. She will go IN with an open letter. She snatched Clive Davis' wig and you need to bow. Anyway, now I know what gets Kelly's attention. Hmmm, let me think of something that might piss her off. I know... now that I think of it, it's not ironic at all that heavier, full-figured Kelly Clarkson sings a song called "Catch My Breath"." LOL. Kelly, I'm just kidding. Come on the Phile, please. I won't make you cry, but my memory does lapse sometime.  Hey, I just heard they found a new Pope...

"A job opening, there is?"  Tomorrow is the Oscars. One of the movies up for Best Picture is Django Unchained. Do you know before it was called that it had a different name? Here is the original movie 
poster for it.

Slavery Sucks Fun Edition? What a stupid name. Glad they changed it.  I just mentioned Kelly Clarkson, and these last two months I have been running a campaign to get her on the Phile. Don't think it's gonna happen, but here's the campaign poster...

Okay, let's see who rolled snake-eyes this week.

Jerry Buss
Jan 27, 1934 - Feb 18, 2013
Buss stopped.


I had quite a few emails this past week saying I forgot the Oscar trivia pheature in the last entry. I did, and I apology, so I have two today. Tomorrow is the Oscars, and to help you for your Oscar party I am giving you some Oscar trivia. The first is Marlon Brando is widely known for his interest in Native Americans. A widely known expression of this interest was when he stayed away from Academy Award ceremony at which he was presented an Oscar for Best Actor for his role in The Godfather. Instead of going himself, Sacheen Littlefeather represented Mr. Brando at the ceremony. She appeared in full Apache clothing. She stated that owing to the "poor treatment of Native Americans in the film industry" Mr. Brando would not accept the award. It was later revealed that Littlefeather was actually Maria Cruz, an actress of Mexican descent. The second piece of Oscar trivia is the famous golden statuette, formally named the Academy Award of Merit, got its more popular moniker “Oscar” when Academy librarian Margaret Herrick said that it resembled her Uncle Oscar. Before this name stuck, other people had tried to call it “the golden trophy,” “the statue of merit,” and “the iron man.” Well, that's one theory. The root of the name Oscar is contested. Some people claim it was Bette Davis who named the famous statuette. There you go. Enjoy.

Okay, today's guest is a singer songwriter who has backed the legendary Pinetop Perkins for more than a decade. He has a new EP out called "Six Pack" and he'll be next appearing tonight at The Delta Grill in NYC. Please welcome to the Phile... George Kilby Jr.

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

George: Hey, Jason, I am great, but a little worn out. Just back from a run of gigs in the Teton mountains.

Me: Okay, before we start, I want to tell you something. If I was gonna put together a Foghat tribute band, or even if the real Foghat band needed a new singer, you would be my first pick. I love your singing style, and your voice. And like my dad, who was a fan of the blues like you, you'd be perfect. Wait, are you a Foghat fan?

George: Definitely. In the late 70's, what guitar player didn't grow up playing "Slow Ride"?? I actually opened up for Foghat once and it was a real honor. Was in Poughkeepsie NY, in the eighties.

Me: That's cool. George, did you ever meet my dad?

George: If I did, it was only hi/bye at the gig. At that theater, the bands were not able to hang out.

Me: You not only a fan of the blues, but you worked with the late great Pinetop Perkins. When did you first meet Pinetop?

George: I'll never forget the night. '83, maybe '84, at the Stanhope House, in Western NJ. I got up the courage to ask to sit in with the Legendary Blues Band, which was mostly made of the Muddy Waters Band members: Willie, Fuzz, Portnoy, and Pine. After the show, Pinetop took a liking to me, so I guess I played okay that night. He told me that I ever came to Chicago, I could stay at his his house. I don't know if he really meant it, but I showed up in a couple of months. It started a great relationship of over 20 years.

Me: You lived with him for awhile, right? I get you had many great discussions about the blues. Did he tell you some great stories?

George: Yes, great stories, but he never talked about the blues. You see, to those guys, the blues was just their way. It was not some kind of magical, mystical thing. To Pine, playing the blues was just like being a car mechanic, or a plumber, or any other way of making a living. That is just what he did.

Me: He passed away a few years ago. How did you find out he passed? Did you get to go to his funeral?

George: I was a pall bearer, right along side Willie. I was so floored when Willie died the next year. I am speaking of Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, formerly Muddy's drummer. He was Pine's best friend.

Me: You and he made some killer music together, George, you should be proud. Anyway, you also played with another great, Etta James. What was it like working with her?

George: We opened the show for Etta a few times in NYC. She was really sweet and used to call me Alabama because that is where I am from. When I saw her sing, perform, and dance on the stage, (unfortunately she was really big at the time, but lost the weight afterwards), I was completely blown away by her raw power and honesty. Back in the dressing room, I knew the shows took their toll, but on the bandstand, it was pure fire. Unbelievable!

Me: Is there anybody you haven't worked with that you would love to?

George: Lots of folks. Mostly folks that I wish were still here, but are gone. However, the list today would include Tom Waits, John Hiatt, Lyle Lovett, Bonnie Raitt, Phil Lesh, and tons more. I worked with Mose Allison once, but never really got a feel for him personally. I love his music. Would love to do that again.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your great EP "Six Pack". I was gonna ask you where the name of the EP came from, but I'm guessing it's because it has six songs on it, right?

George: There is much more to it than that. The record is a comment on the music business. Today it is no longer a business of albums, it is a business of songs. The record is built like a "variety" or sampler six pack from a brewery that brews lots of different kinds of beer. If you like one beer, from the sampler six pack, you will come back and buy it over and over. The songs on the record are certainly cousins but not brothers. The instrumentation and the vibe is often very different. I feel that I will reach more people if the record is done like this. Some music industry folks may disagree, but mark my words, that will change.

Me: So, if you could have a six pack of any beer, what would it be?

George: I like Brooklyn Beer and Saranac Beer. Both great breweries.

Me: You wrote all the songs, but there's one cover... "Sunshine Of Your Love". I love this countryish version, George. How did you choose this song to do?

George: I was asked by one of the guys who does some management for me to do a cover of a well known tune. As a writer, that irked me a lot because the plan was to only do six tunes. Anyway, the riff is so well known to everyone, so I fooled around with it, messed with the time a little bit, and turned it inside-out so it is almost unrecognizable. But take out a guitar or piano and check it. It is the very same riff.

Me: I interviewed Pete Brown on the Phile a few years ago, George. He would love your version. Anyway, are you a Cream fan, or Clapton?

George: I actually went over to Pete Brown's house one time when I was in London. A great guy. I lost touch with him, but I would love for him to hear the song. We had a mutual friend, so he invited me over, we had tea, listened to music, talked forever. Of course I'm a Clapton fan as are most guitar players. This might surprise you, but I am most impressed with him when he skillfully puts blues and soul into what most people think of as a pop song. Not everyone can do that.

Me: Who did you listen to growing up?

George: A lot of Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Outlaw Country. Singer songwriters too. Jim Croce was a huge influence in that department. Blues of course. Albert Collins and Albert King were amazing. Freddy King too.

Me: You recorded this album with the band The Road Dogs, is that your band?

George: Yep.

Me: Who is in The Road Dogs?

George: Neil Thomas, Arturo Baguer, Eric Halvorson. There are other Road Dogs that played on the record too. These are Brian Shafer and Sam Doyle. They play lots of the gigs in upstate NY when the NYC guys can't make it. I also played lots with the late Mike Dunn, a great bass player from the Woodstock area.

Me: Who else plays on the album with you, George?

George: We had a great cast of characters this trip out. George Breakfast, Andy Goessling, Tim Carbone, Jono Manson, all of who are big in the jam band community. The incredible harp player, Phil Wiggins is a real pleasure to play with.

Me: Your daughter sings on the song "When The People Sang", am I right?

George: Yep, that's Rosie Kilby, age 11, and two of her friends.

Me: Does she want to be a musician or a singer as well?

George: I would hope she has better sense than that, but you never can tell.

Me: Who did the artwork for the cover, George? I noticed on the guitar it says Katy Keen. Is that who did the artwork?

George: Yes, that is my wife Katy Keen, who is a great artist. She makes her living mostly in the textile world creating artwork for beach towels and kids clothes. I am so proud of this cover since it really brought out the concept I explained earlier and did it with a little fun. It was also a stretch for Katy stylistically and she really rose to the challenge.

Me: I need to interview her on the Phile, and show off her artwork in the Phile's art gallery. So, what's next for you? Any new music planned?

George: Always new music planned. I am working with a great female vocalist every once in a while, Becca Frame. We might record some duets together plus some of her new material, which I will produce. Also some tours and festivals in Europe are on the books for the Spring and Summer. Phil Wiggins will be on some of those dates.

Me: I have to ask about the song "Cro-Magnon Man". That song is very tongue in cheek, which I like. What was the inspiration and thought process behind that song?

George: Glad you asked. Even though might seem like a silly folk/pop ditty at first listen, there is a lot there. The song came out of my frustration with the strangle hold that technology has on us. As a musician, I feel that I am often tied to my laptop rather than my guitar. That just ain't right.

Me: You really need to do an EP of Foghat covers. You would rock "Third Time Lucky" and "Stone Blue". Whatcha think?

George: Would be fun. Those are great songs.

Me: Alright, so, on the Phile occasionally I ask random questions. Here is yours, George... Who would you like to trade places with for one month? I would say that bastard that is engaged to Kelly Clarkson. LOL.

George: I'd like to trade places with my son. Then I could see how difficult it is to grow up around me, my music, etc. Maybe after a month, I can learn to be a better dad.

Me: Wow, your answer is deeper than mine. Well done. George, thanks for being on the Phile. Go ahead and mention your website and I wish you lots of success and please come back to the Phile again. I hope this was fun.

George: This was lots of fun, Jason. Great questions, very thought-provoking. That is an important part of the process. Your questions are much more interesting than the usual drivel. My site is I hope we can do this again soon.

Me: No, never. Just kidding. Of course, George. Take care.

There, that about does it for this entry. Thanks to George for a great interview. The Phile will be back tomorrow with singer songwriter Natania. Then on Monday it's Phile Alum Kim Edwards. Well, as I said, last Wednesday was my 25th anniversary working at Disney, so all through the year I will be showing pictures of me through my Disney career... starting today. Anyway, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Strawberry Blondes Forever!


George Kilby Jr said...

A real pleasure doing the interview, Jason. Please stay in touch!

FearlessDreamer said...

I am playing trumpet with George Kilby Jr. in Lake Placid this weekend (Mar 1 & 2, 2014) - and I learned more about him in this interview than I ever knew before! Thanks! -Pam Fleming