Saturday, March 23, 2013

Pheaturing Sink Swim

Hey, everybody, how's it going? Welcome to the Phile. I woke up with "The Great Space Coaster" theme stuck in my head. What goes on in there while I sleep? My shoulder is hurting pretty bad, so I had to take some pain medicine before I started to do this thing. I'm still waiting to find out when the hell I'm gonna have my surgery. Anyway, at this point I could be driving the great space coaster itself and I wouldn't know.  Let's start off with some good news though, enough about me. It's now Spring! The first day of spring is known as the "vernal equinox." The equinox is special. It only happens twice a year, like a good night with no pain in my shoulder. Spring also means March Madness. I love the name March Madness. I'm glad the PC police haven't made us change March Madness to "early spring psychosis." The president filled out his NCAA bracket. He picked Indiana, Louisville, Florida, and Ohio State to reach the Final Four. He had Indiana to win, but Republicans in the House blocked that. Do I have any spring breakers reading this? You have the week off. You know, the kids in China get only six MINUTES off for spring break. How does spring break work for people who get their degrees online? Do they go to websites about the beach?  There’s talk that “Today” show host Matt Lauer is the top choice to replace Alex Trebek when he leaves “Jeopardy.” Or as Alex Trebek put it, "Who is Matt Lauer?" Trebek  said he's too old and just doesn't have the energy to be the host anymore. And I said, "Great, another conclave. Here we go."  A woman in New York gave birth to a healthy baby girl inside a Walmart. Obviously it's a little embarrassing to give birth in a Walmart, which is why she plans on telling her daughter she was born in a Target.  U.S. officials have revealed that America is ready to launch cyber attacks of its own. We have a program that can totally crash someone's computer. It's called "Microsoft Windows."  Lindsay Lohan was back in court this week for a probation violation hearing. She was 48 minutes late to court. What she really needs to steal is a watch.  Tiger Woods announced he is dating Lindsey Vonn. So just when you thought Lohan had a lock on the title of Lindsay with the worst judgment, along comes Lindsey Vonn. Tiger said, "We have become close and are now dating. We thank you for your support and respecting our privacy." And the best way to keep it private is to post about it on Facebook. It's nice to see Tiger with a woman not holding a subpoena for a change.  Have you been watching that TV show "The Bible". It's based on a book. Anyway, the guy who plays Satan on the History Channel's "The Bible" looks like President Obama. Even Rush Limbaugh was outraged. He was like, "How can you do that to Satan?"  A few entries ago I showed you a picture that a Phile reader sent to me of a Gary Gnu stuffed animal he had in his office. He had this doll since he was a kid, and now it's sitting in his office. I think I still have the picture if you didn't see it.

Well, I thought it'll be great to have one, so I looked around the internet and found one on eBay. Here is what I found.

Over two hundred dollars for a used stuff animal... excuse me, a plush. My wife would KILL me if I bidded and won that. But then again, it comes with the box. LOL. No, I'm not bidding on it, but any of you readers would like to, you can send it to me if you win the auction. Next week I'll have the real Gary Gnu on the Phile, not a stuffed animal.  Last weekend I was at MegaCon, which was fantastic as always. They were selling this poster which I almost did buy, but something was wrong with it.

That's a mind phuck, right?  My son is addicted to the game "Halo". Have any of you played that? Anyway, I bet he's playing it right now. I don't know to much about it, but I saw a screen shot of it, and wonder if that's a game that he should be playing. Take a look to see what I'm talking about.

I thought the game was about angel's.  I was watching the Cartoon Network yesterday, and I couldn't help but notice cartoon's seem a lot more violent then they were when I was a kid. Take a look...

That's gross! I never did like Tom and Jerry though. That mouse had it coming.  So, one of the thing's I like to do in my spare time is to go on Twitter and look up certain words. One of those words is Foghat, as you never know what people are gonna say. Take this one for instance.

Next time I interview someone from Denver I'm gonna ask them if they ate at La Fogata. As it's "The Great Space Coaster" Month on the Phile I have been showing you pictures of actual people on actual roller coasters. So, here we go.

Baxter would be scared shitless if that guy with the hood hopped into the space coaster. Yikes. Okay, and now for some sad news, kids.

Rise Stevens
June 11, 1913 - March 20, 2013
Did you see her portrayal of Marfa in Moussorgsky's Khovanshchina? She kicked ass in that.

Harry Reems
August 27, 1947 - March 20, 2013
Rest in penis.

Right, I know, the trailer is barf. They're selling it to people who loved Alice in Wonderland, like me, and bought it on Blu-ray, like me, hoping against all post-Alice evidence that lightning will strike twice in Overblown War-Themed Fantasyland. So set that aside if you can.  You'll also have to set aside your annoyance at the parent company's obvious endgame of merch and theme park rides. If they could make money off whatever trending baby names result from this thing they'd do that, too.  But mostly you'll have to set aside whatever fatigue you've earned after being assaulted by effects-and-green-screen-heavy movie products. Most of them are giant boxes of nothing, terrible blasts of empty-hearted, digital cartooning.  You're right to be wary, obviously, it's just that this time around you don't have to be. Sam Raimi may have traded in the wilder elements of his personality to helm this giant family film spectacle, but what he gives you in return is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz that comes closer to being worthy of the association than any other movie attempt at expanding that beloved fantasy universe. Yeah, a prequel. Okay, set that fear aside, too. It's the story of how Oz the man (short for Oscar) became the smoke-and-mirrors wizard of Oz the land and it nods many times in the direction of the classic 1939 musical... you can experience references for yourself without any advance clues from me, minus too much shouting and jokey intrusion. James Franco, as the sepia-toned, Kansas flim-flam man, crash lands in Oz's eye-popping CGI world, meets a handful of good, bad and eventually badder witches (Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis) a talking monkey in a bellboy costume (Zach Braff) and a broken porcelain doll (Joey King). And much like Dorothy's eventual journey, the future wizard has to find the brains, the heart and "da noive" to rescue the land from evil forces.  Raimi's not afraid to go big here, taking pages directly from the most old-fashioned of Disney sentimentality textbooks, nor is he concerned about frightening the littlest audience members with one witch's eventual transformation into a terrifying green monstress and some hideously scary flying monkeys (if you, as a very small child, weren't equally freaked out by Margaret Hamilton then you're a liar). His Oz isn't a hard, sophisticated place for wisecracking adults, it's a land of clever, inventive goodness and heartsick, sad-eyed dolls, grumpy munchkins and con artists learning how to use their dubious skill sets to turn wrongs to right, relying on cliches here, yet trading in warm-hearted joy much more frequently. I'll take it over a disco-dancing Johnny Depp in a Mad Hatter costume any day. It's not a perfect place, but it's closer to home than we've been given in a while. From 1 to 10, I give it a 9, and yeah, I'll buy it when it comes out.

Okay, so, one of the regular Phile phamily members I have on the Phile is always introduced as a surfer, singer and renaissance man. Well, that's gonna change. SO, I invited him back to the Phile to explain. You know what time it is. Please welcome back to the Phile Laird Jim in a pheature called...

I really miss my morning surf runs... usually, right about now I'd be grabbing my board and heading out to watch the sun come up. But my doctor told me that I should make a choice between walking without a cane and surfing. I feel a part of my soul has been torn from my body. This was my life... my release... my church. It's been months since I've surfed... sold all but one of my boards. This blows.

Man, that's a bright blue. Sorry to hear you can't surf, Laird. I never surfed, unless you count the computer. Okay, so, you heard about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, right? Well, with the help of a group called UnHOF I have started the Peverett Phile Hall of Phame. So far inducted into this Hall is Savoy Brown, The J. Geils Band, Status Quo, Sparks, Mick Ronson, ELO, Rockpile, and Dr. Feelgood. And my dad is the patron saint of the Hall of Phame. Today a new band will be inducted. So, please welcome back to the Phile, Raconteur, entreprenour, Jah Paul Jo in a past life and co-owner of Berdan Records... Joseph J. Ramsey.

In London in the Summer of 1977, I had a little flat on Ladbroke Grove. I had bought a cheap portable stereo at the Portobello Road Market and I was on a hunt for cool albums and mainly, any of the new punk singles. I was reading Melody Maker, Sounds, NME voraciously, trying to understand the scene, who was releasing what and when and where the bands were playing live.  The one that everyone was talking about, of course, was "God Save The Queen" by The Sex Pistols. If you walked into any regular shop, they would not advertise that they had the record in the shop. If you looked at the sales chart, it would show up blank. The day I bought it, it was #2... so #2 was blank. You had to ask for it by name and get a concerned eye from the shopkeeper when doing so. The other singles I remember having at the time were, "Remote Control" by The Clash, "All Around The World" by The Jam, "I Wanna Be Free" By The Rings, "Pogo Dancing" by Chris Spedding and The Vibrators, "The Bowi E.P." by Nick Lowe and something that I liked very much, a single by The Stranglers called "Go Buddy Go."
Today's Induction: The Stranglers.
In a sea of new and exciting punk bands, The Stranglers stood out. They looked older (they were!) than most of the other groups. Their instrumentation was far different as they had an amazing organist... leading to not-very-apt comparisons to The Doors. The spoken line by The Great Bela Lugosi in the movie The Raven (apropos) pops into my mind: "Ugly people do ugly things." The Stranglers reveled in their ugliness. They wrote songs about it and, apparently, lived it.  Perversely, the one pretty boy in the band, who was the most prototypically looking punk, bassist/vocalist Jean Jacque Burnell, was the most dangerous. A martial arts enthusiast, Burnell was known for looking up journalists who wrote bad early reviews of the band and having little "talks" with them. There was some nasty business about him actually kidnapping a music journalist once... don't know if it's rumor or not.  Hugh Cornwell was the singer/ guitarist and probably considered the front man of the group. Cornwell had a kind of dangerous air himself... The Stranglers were dark and seemed very serious; Cornwell and Burnell absolutely projected a kind of menacing presence. Keyboard player/vocalist Dave Greenwell gave the band an even stranger look as his hair (and mustache... on a punk? In 1977???) were just plain odd back then. His organ and keyboard work was excellent and gave the band a third dimension few others had. Drummer, Jet Black (real name: Jethro Black!) was way older and looked like a transient.  Although dismissed by some who didn't consider them real punks or missed the humor and found their music too dark or, even worse, misogynistic, their early singles, in my opinion, were sublime. "Peaches," "(Get A) Grip (On Yourself), "Straighten Out" and "Something Better Change" were absolute classics. Cornwell says that the concept of "The Men In Black," or alien invaders that control day to day life, runs throughout their entire career and points out that two of the shadowy characters are even on their very first album cover.  By their fourth LP, the amazing "Black And White", The Stranglers had moved beyond punk and maybe were actually the first group that could be labeled post-punk. Their sound was clanky, atonal and the singers delivered deep, gruff, alienated vocals that sang of things far beyond most punk fare. Never shying from controversial subjects, the single from the album was a song about the life of Jesus Christ called "Nice 'n' Sleazy."  The apex of The Stranglers Mach 1 was their groundbreaking album, "The Raven". Originally released with one of the most beautiful album covers ever, a 3D image of Poe's black bird, the album is a non-stop thrill ride of dark and eerie things. One of my absolute favorites from that era. Says Wikipedia of "The Raven": "The songs are multi-layered and musically complicated, and deal with such subjects as a Viking's lonely voyage, heroin addiction, genetic engineering, contemporary political events in Iran and Australia and extraterrestrial visitors, 'The Meninblack'." The Stranglers continued to change and mutate... every version seemed to have a signature song and sound and they always retained their star status in the UK and Europe, having hit songs all along the way. Typically, with great, challenging bands like this, they stayed relatively obscure in the USA.  Hugh Cornwell bowed out of the group in 1990 but The Stranglers persevered. They originally replaced Hugh with a singer, Paul Roberts, and guitarist John Ellis, formerly of The Vibrators. That version of the group made three albums and then jettisoned both Roberts and Ellis for guitarist/vocalist Baz Warne, who is still with them today along with the remaining original three.  Now, with 23 UK top 40 singles and 17 UK top 40 albums to date in a career spanning four decades, they are considered the longest surviving and continuously successful of all the punk bands class of 1977.

Thanks, Joseph. Great job as always.

Alright, the 24th book to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Book Club is...

Noel is gonna be a guest on the Phile tomorrow. It's gonna be great!

Today's pheatured guest are the three guys that make up the cool new band Sink Swim, who have a new EP out called "Heights". Please welcome to the Phile... Dane Petersen, Jake Lopez, and Corey Backer from... Sink Swim.

Me: Hey, fellas, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Dane: What's up, Phile! We're doing great!

Me: You kids are from California, right? What part?

Dane: We live in Thousand Oaks, CA. It's about 45 minutes north of LA.

Me: I interviewed a lot of kids in bands, who weren't even in bands when I started this blog. You are just teenagers, right?

Jake: Dane just turned 20 the other day so we are no longer teens! Corey's oldest and he's 21.

Me: Are you in college, you three?

Dane: We are each doing the band full time!

Me: Great. So, introduce yourselves. What do you play?

Dane: Dane Petersen, vocals and guitar.

Jake: Jake Lopez: Lead guitar.

Corey: Corey Backer: drums.

Me: Who started the band and who came up with the band name Sink Swim?

Jake: The idea behind the band and its name was originally thought up by Dane.

Me: Where did the band name come from?

Dane: Jake and I were in a band previously that we cared a lot for and when it eventually disbanded, we knew that we couldn't let life's obstacles hinder our dream so we decided to push on for something bigger and better. We were either going to "sink" or "swim". We then proceeded to take out the "or"...  haha.

Me: Okay, so, I downloaded the two EP's off from iTunes... the latest "Heights" and the prior one "Elements". Both have photos of mountains on the cover. Do you guys like mountains?

Dane: We love the mountains! We want to write a future record up in Tahoe for sure. Other than a little reminder of home, there wasn't a particular reason for having mountains on the covers.

Me: So, how would you compare both EP's?

Dane: Our first EP "Elements" really tells the story of what was going on in our lives at the time and is a real representation of who Sink Swim is and what we set out to do with our music. As a debut EP, we feel it definitely showcased our songwriting abilities and unique sound. As for our 2nd EP "Heights", the story of our band and lives continues with a true maturation in sound. The "Heights" EP is who were are right now in our lives, the dreams we set out to accomplish and how we want to touch lives in the process. We're getting louder and clearer.

Me: Who does the songwriting for the band, Corey?

Corey: Jake and Dane are the ones behind all the guitar work and song structuring mainly but we're a team and I'm always there with his input as well! When it comes to the vocal melody and lyrics, Dane writes it all.

Me: On "Heights" you guys do a song with a girl singer named Alexa San Roman. Is she from another band?

Dane: Yes! Alexa sings in an amazing band called Love, Robot. They reside in Long Island, New York.

Me: Long Island! I grew up on L.I. Where did you meet her?

Dane: When Sink Swim put out it's first material, I was introduced to her and her music through Facebook by a mutual friend. From there, Alexa and I kept in contact and planned to get our bands together to do something in the near future since we both really were into each others' music. As we were writing the "Heights" EP, I finished our song "Pull Together" and knew she had to sing on it. We got the track done and decided to fly out to New York to do the video. Now our bands are real close. There will be more collaborations for sure.

Me: You have to tell Alexa to be on the Phile as well, you guys. Whatcha think?

Dane: Absolutely! We're always trying to hook each other's bands up with cool things so this would fall under that category!

Me: Is she gonna become a permanent member of Sink Swim?

Dane: No, she will not be. We are both extremely invested in our own bands right now but there will surely be collabs of all kinds! I can't give it all away yet though!

Me: Dane, it says in the bio you are a music junkie. What kinda music do you listen to, and who are your influences?

Dane: The bio doesn't lie! I'm big into loud music so anything rock is where my passion lies but I love to listen to everything. Anything that makes me feel something! I'd say I pull a lot of influence vocally from bands like Underoath, Mayday Parade, Paramore etc. But the people in my life are my biggest inspirations.

Me: Do all three of you share the same influences?

Jake: We actually do mainly. We're best buds!

Me: Dane, I have to ask you about your giant tattoo... what is it and how long have you had it?

Dane: I guess you could call it one big tattoo at this point! My right hand contains the inside of a music box in a picture frame, cranking out music notes along the sleeve and around the other picture frames, which are portraits of my grandparents. Then the music notes turn to constellations and sky containing a moon man and a hot air balloon made of an elephant holding feathers to propel the fire. The basket has a little mouse explorer in it... haha. Then my knuckles say "Destined". I've been getting tattooed since I was 18 and have one or 2 more. So about 2 years now!

Me: And Corey, what the fuck did you do with your ears? You have giant holes in them, or am I seeing things?

Corey: Haha, I get that a lot, and yes I do have giant holes in my ears. An inch and a half in diameter to be exact. I dig the idea of body mods though, tattoos, piercings, stretching, it’s all a sort of style thing. I may not go quite as far as others, but it definitely takes a certain type of person to do what I have done. My life is all about art, and I believe that our body is a work of art as well. It’s a form of physical expression of the artistic aspects of my personality. I'm currently wearing organic plugs with the universal symbol of OM, believed to be the source of creation of the universe through sound.

Me: Alright, so, how long has the band been together? Have you played many shows?

Dane: We've been together for about a year and are coming up on our 9th show. The best 9 shows we've ever played... haha. The crowds are growing and the people are singing it's a real trip! We've played at multiple LA venues and a couple local spots as well. There's a handful more lined up right now then we plan to hit the road.

Me: Corey, you went to Berklee, right? Do you bring your expertise to the band?

Corey: I took a few audio production courses from them online, mainly having to do with various DAWs like Reason, Sonar, and obviously Pro Tools. I mainly did it because I dabble in electronic music production on the side because I dig the technical aspects of music. Our producer Bob mostly did the production on "Heights", but I think the future could hold some interesting new additions to our sound and I definitely would like to incorporate some of my other musical knowledge in the progression of our overall vibe as band.

Me: Okay, so, on the Phile I like to ask random questions, and this is for all three of you... Would you rather meet your great-great grandparents or your great-great grandchildren?

Dane: I say great-great grandchildren.

Jake: Great-great grandchildren.

Corey: Great-great grandchildren.

Me: I'll say the same. Thanks so much for being on the Phile. Please come back again when your next release comes out. Go ahead and mention your website.

Dane: Thank you guys for having us! We'd love to come back. For anyone interested in our music here are our sites:,,,,

Me: Thanks again, and I hope this was fun, you guys. Keep it up.

Dane: One of our favorite interviews so far! Thanks for the love, you guys!

Well, that about does it for another entry. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim, Joseph J. Ramsey and the kids from Sink Swim. The Phile will be back tomorrow with author and puppeteer Noel MacNeal, then on Monday it's parody songwriter The Fresh Topping. Next Saturday... Gary Gnu! 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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