Monday, February 11, 2013

Pheaturing Uncle Devin From The Uncle Devin Show

And the Grammy for best new band goes go Strawberry Blondes Forever. LOL. Hello, and welcome to a Monday entry of the Phile.  Well, let's start off with breaking news. The Vatican said today Pope Benedict XVI is resigning on February 28th. The Vatican said it took us by surprise. "The Pope took us by surprise" is not a phrase you really hear all that often. Benedict XVI is retiring before he gets thrown down a reactor shaft by Darth Vader, like his brother Emperor Palpatine. News about the Pope resigning leaked when the Vatican made an inquiry call to The Villages, Florida's Friendliest Retirement Community. He obviously quit on account on some little boy touching... Obviously! Just kidding. I don't wanna alienate half my readers. The Pope said in a statement, "Guess what I'm giving up for lent? This job! Pope out." Back in my day, a Pope worked until he died in office or was poisoned by his closest bishops. These Popes nowadays... The question on everyone's minds now is: will Hillary Clinton run for Pope?  So, the Grammy's were last night, who saw it? I thought it was weird that half way through the show there was a quarter of a football game. Okay, that joke made no sense. During Fun's performance they were rained on, except for the hot blonde chick in the band. I thought to myself, raining on stage... sorry, but Kelly Clarkson already did that at the 2005 VMA's... and way better! The Grammy's are rigged, Justin Bieber totally should have won for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.  More bad news for A-Rod. It looks like there is more evidence linking Alex Rodriguez to a Miami doctor who prescribed steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. Here's how bad it is for A-Rod. He is now favored to win this year's Tour de France.  Several states are now looking into the possibility of taxing marijuana as a source of revenue. That is so typical of the government, isn't it? Trying to squeeze blood from a stoner.  Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he wants to become the first Iranian to go into outer space. He wants to study the effects of anti-gravity on anti-Semitism.  I think I mentioned this yesterday, Monopoly is getting a big makeover. They want to make the Monopoly game more modern and bring it up to date to reflect our current culture. Like, in the new version of Monopoly, the banker never goes to jail.  Did you hear the Republican Party has its own line of clothing? The problem is it keeps coming apart at the seams. Mayor Bloomberg is on a campaign to make New York City a better place to live. Guess what he's done now? He's outlawing Styrofoam cups. He wants New York City to have the nation's toughest cup control laws.  A new report by economists lists the world's most expensive cities. It turns out the most expensive city is Tokyo, Japan. Tokyo unveiled their new tourism slogan today. Their slogan is: "Tokyo: We'll leave you brokeo." I'd love to go to Tokyo. It's not just expensive; it's also one of the most crowded cities in the world. A city full of people with thick wallets? It makes me pine for the days when I was a Dickensian pickpocket. Paris finished number eight. The people in France were very annoyed today. Then they heard about the list. And then they said, "Just do not raise the price of soft cheese." Oslo, Norway, is number five on the list. Apparently it is very expensive to buy umlauts. That's what they have in Norway. Umlauts are those dots they put above vowels.  Supporters of Hillary Clinton have already started a 2016 super PAC on her behalf called “Ready for Hillary.” And more cautious Democratic supporters have started another super PAC called "Bracing for Biden.”  Just now I mentioned that the Pope is the brother of Emperor Palpatine from the Star Wars movies. I don't want to offend anybody, but take a look at this picture of the Emperor and Vader...

Now take a look at a picture of the Pope.

I arrest my case.  Alright, as I said the last few days, the White House released a photo over the weekend that showed Obama skeet shooting. Some wondered what he was shooting at, and here on the Phile I am gonna clear up that mystery.

I know how to milk a joke on the Phile, don't I?  So, Beyonce is everywhere now. She was at the Super Bowl, the Grammy's, and last Summer she was at the Olympics. What? You don't believe me? Take a look.

This just in, that photo of Obama with the gun is not the first time the public saw him shooting. Apparently he had a bit part in Return of the Jedi. I don't believe it.

Okay, now I believe it. I saw that movie a million times and never noticed him before. That is so stupid.
So, Kelly Clarkson won a Grammy last night, people.

She needs to be interviewed on the Phile so I can congratulate her. Only a few more weeks for the campaign before I give up.

Valentine's Day, kids, is just around the corner, and if you are trying to find that special gift for your loved ones, you might need help. That's what I'm here for. So, here's another...

The Heart Gelatin Mold ($6.95) makes it easy to give someone your whole heart. Now you can sit back and watch while they devour it with delight. It's perfect for lovebirds, med school students, and aspiring cannibals.

That's disgusting. I would not eat that.  The Oscars are in a few weeks, and I want you to feel smart at your Oscar party, so this month I am giving you a bunch of Oscar facts so you can show off in a pheature I call...

Kathryn Bigelow is the first woman to win the Oscar as best director for The Hurt Locker and only the fourth woman to ever receive a nomination. She beat ex husband James Cameron's Avatar. This is the first time former spouses compete for the same award.

The 28th artist to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Art Gallery is musician Rick Vito. This is one of his pieces, kids.

Rick will be a guest on the Phile soon.

Today's pheatured guest is both a drummer and percussionist, and, therefore, is known as the original Drumcussionist. His CD "Uncle Devin's Drum Tales!" is available on CDBaby. Please welcome to the Phile... Uncle Devin.

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

Devin: Hey, Jason! I am doing well. I hope all is well with you. Thank you for welcoming me to the Phile.

Me: So, should I call you Devin or Uncle?

Devin: Please call me Devin.

Me: Are you really an uncle?

Devin: Yes I am. I have three nephews and three nieces, children of both my brother and sister.

Me: Where are you from, Devin?

Devin: I was born in Washington DC. When I was three years old, my family moved to Prince George's County, Maryland and I grew up in a small city called Seat Pleasant.

Me: Do you still live in that area?

Devin: I lived in Seat Pleasant, MD until five years after I graduated from college and then move back into the District of Columbia. I been living in the Nation’s Capitol since 1998.

Me: You are a drummer that plays children's music, am I right?

Devin: That's correct.

Me: How long have you been playing drums and percussion, Devin?

Devin: I started around seven years old when my father made me my very own drum pads. My father used to play drums in a marching band and peaked my interest by teaching me some lovely cadences he had learned.

Me: I used to play drums but got lazy. Was that the first instrument you learnt?

Devin: I would have to say the snare drum, thanks to my father.

Me: Do you have a favorite drummer?

Devin: My favorite drummer is Art Blakey, with Max Roach a very close second.

Me: You call yourself a, and correct me if I get his wrong, a Drumcussionist... I'm just a cussionist.. Anyway, what does that mean?

Devin: A Drumcussionist is a combination of the words "drummer" and "percussionist." I have always been able to play not only the drum set but many different percussion instruments thanks to my years of performing in different concert bands and wind ensemble groups while living in Maryland. Growing up in the Washington DC area, there is a music called go-go music that uses all of these instruments in a nonstop pattern for hours. I learned how to play the drum set, congas, and cowbells all at the same time. Therefore, I came up with this term “Drumcussionist” to describe my musical style.

Me: Devin, I have to ask you this, you once played drums with Dizzy Gillespie? What was that experience like?

Devin: It was an experience that I will never forget. I was a freshman at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and our jazz band was holding a clinic in honor of Mr. Gillespie. We were performing one of his songs entitled, "Island Girl” and he was sitting on the stage taking it all in. Well, I was on the drums when the band director walked over to Mr. Gillespie to let him solo. The next thing I know, I'm playing drums while the great Dizzy is soloing. I was so nervous because I didn't want to mess up while he was performing, but the greatest part of it all is that it was all videotaped. So no one can ever take this away from me.

Me: Did you get to hang out and talk to him much?

Devin: I did not get a chance to hang out or with him; however, I did get to go to his live performance later that night on campus. He turned it out.

Me: Did you get a picture with him?

Devin: Unfortunately, no. Only the videotape, which can be seen on my YouTube page at

Me: As far as your instruments go, what do you call that yellow thing with the eyes, nose and mouth? That creeps me out.

Devin: It's actually called a güiro  that is played by rubbing a stick or tines along the notches to produce a ratchet-like sound. It consists of an open-ended, hollow gourd with parallel notches cut in one side. The eyes and nose is used to place your fingers so they can be held steady. I drew the mouth on it myself. I call him, Gary the Güiro.

Me: Well, Gary creeps me out. LOL. Apart from the Uncle Devin Show, you are in a band called ElectroKoustic, is that right? Who is in that band with you?

Devin: Yes, I was a part of the ElectroKoustic Band. This was a trio that included guitarist John Lewis and flautist Arch (A.T.) Thompson. A.T. also works with me in The Uncle Devin Show and is known as Mr. Grasshopper.

Me: What kinda music does ElectroKoustic play?

Devin: This group specialized in Brazilian and acoustic jazz with a touch of the 80s funk. We were together for about four years and performed pretty regularly, which included the Capital Jazz SuperCruise to Antigua, St. Lucia and St. Martin in October 2012. However, I informed the group that I was going to take a sabbatical for a while so that I could focus my time on my children's show. My heart is with the children, which is why I made this decision.

Me: Alright, let's talk about your album "Drum Tales!" Is that your first release, Devin?

Devin: Yes, it is my first professionally released CD; however, it is not my first CD. I actually created a CD just for my nephews and nieces, along with a few church members, back in 2006 or 2007 called, "Uncle Devin: All By Himself!". I did not sell it nor did I attempt to distribute it outside of my immediate circle.

Me: Who plays on the album with you?

Devin: I performed all instruments and vocals on all of the songs with the exception of "The Uncle Devin Theme Song". In that song, Mr. Roberto Tyson was on guitar.

Me: I got to listen to it, and it's definitely a children's album, but I like the song "I Like Onions", even though I don't like onions. Do you like onions?

Devin: In certain foods, yes.

Me: Did you write all the songs on the album?

Devin: Yes.

Me: Okay, so I imagine you do a lot of shows for children, where do you play for them? I am guessing schools?

Devin: Yes, I perform in schools, libraries, religious institutions and festivals. In 2012, I was showcased at the KindieFest Conference in Brooklyn, NY; MusicFest 2012 in Bethlehem, PA; and the Lehigh Valley Music Conference in Pennsylvania. I also performed 15 workshops in five days for the Maryland-National Capitol Parks and Planning Commission (N-CPPC), The World Café in Wilmington, DE; and Jammin’ Java in Vienna, VA.

Me: And what's this I see that you played in front of the Capital Building in DC?

Me: How did that happen?

Devin: I was invited to perform at the first-ever Great Nurse-In that took place in August 2012 on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building. It took place in the midst of World Breastfeeding Week and welcomed everyone... nursers, non-nursers, men, women, children, for a day full of fun, learning, and a chance to support the right to breastfeed in public.

Me: I guess you had to get a permit, right?

Devin: That’s correct, the organizers had a permit.

Me: So, is a children's album and project something you've been wanting to do for a long time?

Devin: I have been performing children's music for years, but it wasn't until 2011 that I decided to do so on a more professional and serious basis. So I guess the answer is yes, I have been wanting to do this for a long time but it didn't come together until the last two years.

Me: Do you have children yourself, Devin?

Devin: No, I do not have any children. The idea of The Uncle Devin Show was inspired by my nephews and nieces as I sung and performed music to them while baby sitting. I began recording some of the songs and they would take it to school with them. The next thing I knew, their friends were loving my music and calling me Uncle Devin. It just grew from there.

Me: Your influences I read are The Muppets and "Schoolhouse Rock". That's very cool. Did you ever think about making The Uncle Devin show a TV show?

Devin: I'm actually working on my own television show as we speak. A PBS affiliate has expressed interest in this endeavor and we are working on a few possibilities for next fall.

Me: Speaking of TV, did you watch "The Great Space Coaster" when you were a kid as well?

Devin: I do remember it but I don’t recall watching it because when it was out (1981-86), I was a budding teenager more focus on girls, the two hairs on my chin and playing football.

Me: So, what's next for you, Devin? Are you gonna do another children's album again?

Devin: Outside of working on my TV show, I am working on two new children CD’s, my own line of drum equipment, and a few music videos.

Me: Okay, so, on the Phile I ask random questions that have nothing to do with anything. Here is yours, and it's completely random, but it's kinda fitting for you. At what age do most people become old and what is the secret to staying young? I am 44 years old and I feel old.

Devin: The age most people become old depends on what ever age they are when they don’t laugh any more. I always say that a day without laughter is a day without living. Therefore, the secret to staying young is learning something new everyday and finding something that makes you laugh.

Me: Nicely out, and deep. Devin, man, thanks so much for being on the Phile. I hope it was fun. Go ahead and mention your website and everything.

Devin: This was the best interview ever. And, yes it was fun. I will mention your website to everyone.  

Me: So, will you come back when your next CD comes out?

Devin: Absolutely. Will do.

Me: Take care, and keep doing what you're doing. It's very unique.

Devin: Thank you. You do the same.

There you go, another entry of the Phile done. That's three in a row, people. Thanks to Uncle Devin for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Saturday with Michael Fargnoli, the lead singer from the band Hadley's Hope. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Strawberry Blondes Forever.

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