Sunday, August 25, 2013

Pheaturing Sheldon Gomberg

Hello, and welcome to the Phile. The first thing I have to say is... chemical attacks killed a hundred people in Syria and nobody panicked. Ben Affleck becomes Batman and everyone just loses their minds. I hope Ben didn't check the internet in the last few days. Poor guy, he spends ten years working your his back into everyone's good graces. He wins an Oscar. Then he gets cast as Batman, and BAM! He's Gigli again. All this outrage over Affleck, yet no noise of the fact that they've got less than two years to make a $200 million movie they have no script for. I have to hand it to Warner Brothers, those boy are smart. "A Wonder Woman movie would be too big a financial risk! We've decided to go with a proven moneymaker: A Ben Affleck superhero movie!" There's other stuff going on, people.  Recently, in one of the New York City subway cars, they found a dead shark. Other passengers just thought he was sleeping so they didn't say anything. The Transit authority suspects foul play. This is bad for the city because now there's been a huge drop in marine predator tourism.  So, former President George W. Bush had to go into the hospital, had a little heart surgery and he's okay, but he blames it all on the fatty foods served by White House butler Forest Whitaker. Doctors told him to avoid any heavy exertion, so that means no reading. He had a little touch of coronary artery disease. One of his arteries was clogged with old Al Gore ballots.  This is a weird story... Bradley Manning is choosing to become Chelsea Manning. Unwilling to simply serve his 35 year prison term for espionage in the normal shitty manner of most convicted felons, Pfc. Bradley Manning is seeking hormone therapy as preparation for a sex-change operation and wishes to be considered a woman. A gay transgendered person who leaks U.S. military secrets... Bradley Manning is like the final boss in a Republican video game.  Yesterday I went to the Tampa Bay Comic Con and walking around, there was a lot of Star Wars stuff everywhere. I was thinking to myself, man, if I was to make Star Wars it would be a whole different movie. It would look more like this...

And then I saw a picture from Star Trek that I have never seen before. And it kinda worried me...

Well, it's Sunday and "Breaking Bad" is on tonight, kids. A Phile reader was at a store the other day and saw this and sent it into me.

It seems everybody is jumping on the "Breaking" Bad band wagon. Not me...

Okay, before we continue I have to mention something. I don't know if you noticed but in last Monday's entry in the iPhone graphic where I list who is gonna be on the Phile in the future I mentioned Sid Bernstein. Well, on August 21st, Sid passed away at the age of 95. If you don't know who Sid was, he was the man who brought The Beatles to America. Reading about the growing Beatlemania, he persuaded the group's manager Brian Epstein to let him promote two shows at Carnegie Hall despite the fact, Bernstein said, that he had never actually heard their music. A Carnegie Hall official told Bernstein the demand for tickets was so high that he could have sold out 50 dates. That remark led him to book the 55,000-capacity Shea Stadium for the following year. In 1976 and '79, Bernstein tried to persuade The Beatles to reform for charity concerts. They declined. He also arranged concerts for artists ranging from Frank Sinatra to Jimi Hendrix. In a documentary about Bernstein's life, late funk singer James Brown said the promoter was the only mainstream impresario booking black singers in the 1960s and so, according to Brown, "was in the forefront of race relations". Bernstein made his own musical debut at the age of 93 with an album of cover versions of his favorite songs which what he was gonna be on the Phile promoting. Anyway, RIP, Sid.

Alright, now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this weeks...

Top Phile Reasons The World's Oldest Man Is Still Alive
5. He smokes three packs a day (low tar).
4. He loves sticking it to Sears and their "lifetime warranty" on all Craftsman tools. 
3. He always lifts from the knees
2. He was determined to get into the Guinness Book... and as long that as Kobayashi guy is still alive, the hot dog eating record is out of reach.
And the number one reason the oldest man in the world is still alive...
1. He studiously avoids sugar, pasta and alcohol... which is actually pretty easy when you live in a dirt-floor hut in Bolivia. 

If you spot the Mindphuck email me at Hey, do you know what time it is? He's a patriot, singer and renaissance man, and a phriend of the Phile. It's...

Good morning humans... Your future is not a destination, it's a journey. Best if you keep both hands on the wheel. Happy Sunday. Ben Affleck to replace Christian Bale as Batman in new movie. Gotta say, Ben was pretty good in Daredevil. Bale turns down a reported 50 million for role... really? Small world... but I wouldn't want to paint it. Heading for a late lunch in Chinatown, driving on Canal St. Some jackass in a brand new Mustang cuts me off, forcing me to stand on the brakes... then as fate would have it gets stuck next to me at the same red light. He flips me the middle finger and says, "Fuck you, pal!" I roll down my window and say, "You're instigating a confrontation with someone you don't even know. What if I was the kind of man who would shove this stainless steel Parker pen through your ear and tickle your brain?" Just then, a uniformed member of the NYPD stepped out of an unmarked patrol car that I didn't see and walked between our two vehicles. The jackass laughs, "Now, it's MY turn, smart guy. Officer, this man just threatened me." "I heard no threat made... this man was asking you a very valid question... and I see your inspection sticker is past due... please pull over after the light changes and give me your license and registration." I smiled at the officer and he says to me, "I see you haven't lost that famous Laird charm." "I'm sorry, do I know you?""I worked with your brother, we met a few years back at a barbeque at his place. You're alot like him... NUTS. Just like the stories I used to hear about your dad." Couldn't stop smiling all through lunch...

The 28th book to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Book Club is...

Although everyone went to school, beginning to work on the other side of the desk can be frightening and exciting. The tips in this book are intended as a helpful guide to the many nuances of working on that other side. Sections in the book include students, guardians, colleagues, substitutes, and self while the tips range from classroom management to storing your lunch. The book is filled with not-so-common tips that long time veterans of a particular school may consider common sense. Of course, nothing is common sense when you're just beginning your career. Dr. Beverly Wixon will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

Today's pheatured guest is a is a producer, engineer and bassist who has worked with many artists including Ben Harper, Warren Zevon, Rickie Lee Jones, Ryan Adams, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and more. He has a new project out called Secret Skwirl whose album "Nothing is Real" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Sheldon Gomberg.

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

Sheldon: Phine. Better than Phine actually. One might even say Phantastic. Think to come of it, I’ve never Phelt better.

Me: That's good. Okay, I have interviewed many people from many bands, sir, but this interview about a band that is kinda different. You are not in the band, but you produced the band, right?

Sheldon: Sorta, kinda, not really. It’s true that I’m not in the band. And I did mix the songs, as well as having some parts added. So, I’d say that I mixed and co-produced the “Nothing is Real” album.

Me: No one knows who is in Secret Skwirl, is that true?

Sheldon: No one that I know of knows who’s in the band. Is it true that you also don’t know who’s in the band?

Me: Yep, I have no idea. Haha. You came up with the band name though, right? How did you come up with that name and why is squirrel misspelt?

Sheldon: Now you tell me that I misspelt squirrel!!!? The name came up quite by accident, really. It was during a conversation with a friend of mine who was speaking about a vendor he deals with. He mentioned that they act very “secret squirrel” when asked certain questions about their process. I knew instantly that I had to use it for this band. I misspelt “squirrel” to avoid a lawsuit with Hanna Barbera, who had a cartoon called “Secret Squirrel”, in the late 60s or early 70s.

Me: I loved "Secret Squirrel".

Sheldon: By the way, one could argue that misspelt is misspelled. I also had a grade school teacher called Miss Pelt. Coincidence? I think not!

Me: Anyway, this is a fascinating story, Sheldon. Can you tell the story of when you found these tapes?

Sheldon: Total fluke of circumstance. I was dropping off a friend of mine at his home in Tarzana. On the way, we drove by a garage sale. We could hardly believe our eyes, as we noticed several stacks of what appeared to be 2 two-inch tape boxes.

Me: So, how did you find the boxes?

Sheldon: We turned left at Greenland. Seriously though, they were on a table, in the front yard. They appeared to have been well taken care of: no stains, dents, rips, etc.

Me: When you heard the music for the first time what did you think?

Sheldon: I was fascinated. Immediately intrigued. I could hardly believe my ears. But of course, I had to. After all, they are my ears. Why would they lie? And, if you can’t believe your own ears…

Me: When do you think the original songs were recorded?

Sheldon: It’s hard to say. Sonically, they are quite well done. The woman who owned the house had been in it only four years. They could have been recorded as recently as 2005, or… who knows when?

Me: What was the quality of the tapes like?

Sheldon: Quite good actually.

Me: I know you must've done some detective work to find out who the band is. Did you come up with anything?

Sheldon: Even though I donned my deerstalker hat and calabash pipe I was unable to find out anything. Even my good friend Watson also came up empty.

Me: Did you hire an investigator?

Sheldon: No. I did however hire an instigator. I thought about hiring an alligator. If one owns a deerstalker and a calabash, and has a friend called Watson, why bother?

Me: With the tapes, did they have the song listings, or did you come up with them yourself?

Sheldon: Good question. Of the very little documentation in the boxes, we did have song titles.

Me: I noticed one song was named "Deep Purple". I wish it would of been "Foghat". Anyway, the first single for the album is "Jeez Louise". How did you pick that song to be the single?

Sheldon: I wish that I had a hat to wear in the fog. As for “Jeez Louise” I loved the sound of the song as well as the imagery that it brought to mind. I hired an animator to do a video and used it as the first single.

Me: How many songs were they altogether?

Sheldon: Right around one hundred. Some are in pieces, live jams in the studio, the majority are complete.

Me: So, will there be more Secret Skwirl music coming out?

Sheldon: We’re working on a Christmas album! Seriously though, there will be. In fact the second album is nearly finished being mixed.

Me: With the songs, did you add anything to them or take anything away?

Sheldon: I did add some things. Horns, for one. I also reprocessed some of the guitars, bass and drum sounds, as well as a lot of the vocals. The goal was to “modern up” the sounds while still retaining the vintage vibe that was obviously intentionally intended.

Me: You set up a website to explain and showcase the music. Has anybody come out and said, "Hey, that's our music"?

Sheldon: Unfortunately, no.

Me: If anybody did, how would they prove it?

Sheldon: I imagine that whoever recorded these songs originally MUST have some cassette copies or something. Plus, the lead singer’s voice is so identifiable. All he’d have to do is sing a few lines for me.

Me: So, how did you come up with the album name "Nothing is Real"?

Sheldon: It’s a line from “Strawberry Fields”, and I felt that it fit the whole mysterious vibe of the project.

Me: Obviously you are making money from this release with the music on iTunes and whatever. If someone does pop up and they wrote the songs will you start giving that person money? What happens then?

Sheldon: All proceeds generated by this project are being kept in reserve, in case we do find the real guys.

Me: Do you think you'll ever find out who Secret Skwirl is?

Sheldon: Right now, I’d be happy to phind my wallet. Have you seen it?

Me: No, I haven't... yet. Okay, let's talk about your other career. when not finding boxes of old tapes and putting music out from a mysterious band you also engineer and produce, right?

Sheldon: It’s true. Guilty as charged.

Me: You worked with so many people. One of which was a guest on the Phile... Ron Sexsmith. Who has been your favorite band or musician you worked with?

Sheldon: Ron was certainly one my phaves. Ben Harper, Rickie Lee Jones, the list is long. I’ve also played with so many greats. I’d have to say that the entire list of those on my website, are all among my phaves.

Me: I thought you were gonna say Joey Lawrence. You did a session or so with him, right? I didn't know he sang.

Sheldon: He does sing! He sings great! We did a Sinatra style/big band thing. He was great.

Me: Is there someone you would love to work with?

Sheldon: The list is too long. There are so many. Please, send them all my way.

Me: You also play bass. Is that your main instrument?

Sheldon: Yes. Is there another?

Me: Hmmmm... kazoo. Sheldon, do you have your own band... apart from Secret Skwirl that is?

Sheldon: I have my own rubber band. I believe you call them elastic bands. Does that count?

Me: No, and I call them rubber bands. Sheldon, please come back on the Phile when the next Secret Skwirl album comes out. Go ahead and mention the Secret Skwirl website and any other website you wanna. Good luck, Sheldon.

Sheldon: Well, let’s see. We have that ought to do it. By the way, this has been a blast. Is it usual for the interviewee to answer out loud, while alone in a room? That’s how I do it! Cheers!

Me: Thanks, Sheldon.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Laird Jim as always and Sheldon Gomberg. The Phile will be back tomorrow with the guys from the band Chocolate Robots. 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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