Saturday, September 7, 2013

Pheaturing Phile Alumni David Bloomfield, Rob Hughes, David Sparrow And Wes Hall From Burning Jet Black

Hello, and welcome to the Phile, kids, for a Saturday. Today I will be doing the show without a shark cage. Have you heard this story this week? Diana Nyad swam from Cuba to Florida without using a shark cage. She swam all the way from Cuba to Miami... accompanied by five Cuban pitchers. She swam all that way and I can't even drive from work to home without something happening.  President Obama is trying to get congressional approval before we attack Syria. And if that works, there’s talk we might even consider bringing back the rest of the Constitution. President Obama is pretty clever. Did you see what he is doing to get Congress to approve the attack? He told them Syrian President Assad supports Obamacare.  About $30 million in $100 bills had to be destroyed because of a printing problem. Isn't that unbelievable? The only thing we know how to do right in this country is print money and we screw that up.  Dennis Rodman returned to North Korea and with any luck, for good. Rodman says he is not going to North Korea for diplomatic reasons. He just likes being taller than an entire country. Actually, Rodman is going to hang out with his friend, Kim Jong Un. If somebody told you Dennis Rodman, a basketball player, was hooking up with Kim you would assume they meant a Kardashian, right?  Star Wars creator George Lucas recently invested $10 million in Starbucks. Yeah, TEN million. Of course, most fans think he should have stopped at three.  An 80-year-old weightlifter has been banned from the sport for two years after he was caught using steroids at a competition. Officials became suspicious that he was using steroids when he was an 80-year-old man in a weightlifting competition.  A new report says 60 percent of teenagers don't have even a basic knowledge of finances. Although in fairness, I'm 44 and I just found out this year that a 401(k) is NOT a type of marathon.  Here's some news I wish I knew about last week... last Sunday, more than 1,500 people set a world record by holding the largest gathering of redheads in history... marking the first event that nearly got canceled due to sun. Oh, it got canceled... never mind. I could of got Strawberry Blondes Forever to play at the gathering. Where was the gathering anyway?  Shellie Zimmerman is filing for divorce after six years of marriage to her famous ground-standing, teen-shooting, gun-factory-visiting husband George Zimmerman. Her attorney says that the decision was made "after much soul searching and recent disappointments," and also presumably so that she can safely eat Skittles without fear of vigilante justice. If ChristianMingle sets you up with George Zimmerman, you're going to hell.  Football season has started, and players for the Baltimore Ravens got to see history in the making up close as Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning threw seven touchdown passes against them for a 49-27 win, tying the NFL record for TD passes in one game which hasn't been touched since 1969. The Broncos also set a record for the most points ever scored against the Ravens, who were surprisingly unenthusiastic about getting to share in this historic moment.  So, today at Disney's Hollywood Studios where I work two celebrities were spotted... Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez and I have a picture to prove they were there.

That is I think it's Selena...  Have you heard about the burger from Burger King? If not, a Phile reader sent me a picture of his local Burger King that had it. Take a look.

I think I'll pass, I'm more of a McDonald's fan myself anyway.  Well, it's football season like I said and I have to show you this... this is real.

I really have no idea why I showed that to you. It's not funny and kinda stupid.  Now, there are a lot of different teams out there, and some have some unusual names. For example, there is a hockey team from the Rhode Island School of Design called the Nads. This name was created for the sole purpose of being funny. Their mascot is a giant set of genitals on hockey skates. Their basketball team is called the “Balls.” You don't believe me? Check it out.

Those crazy kids. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is today's...

Top Phive Lines From Diana Nyad's Victory Speech
5. Oh God, now I'm in Florida... what was I thinking?!?!
4. To all the jellyfish who stung me: I never forget a face... and I will rain down shit on you if it's the last thing I ever do!
3. To those who would attempt this journey, I have one bit of advice: Say "no, gracias" to the pre-swim buffet at Chorizo Hut!
2. Everything is pruney. Just... everything.
And the number one line heard from Diana Nyad's victory speech...
1. Crap... I left my car keys in Havana! Back in the water!

Frederik Pohl
Nov 26, 1919 - Sept 2, 2013
Dead Pohl.

Tommy Morrison
Jan 2, 1969 - Sept 1, 2013

Don't they look so cute. If you spot the Mindphuck email me at Okay, you know about The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, right? Well, here on the Phile I have a Rock and Roll Hall of Phame. With the help of unHOF the inductees have been Savoy Brown, The J. Geils Band, Status Quo, Sparks, Mick Ronson, ELO, Rockpile, Dr. Feelgood, The Stranglers and The Jam. Today a new inductee will be added to the Hall of Phame. So, please welcome back to the Phile...
raconteur, entreprenour, Jah Paul Jo in a past life and co-owner of Berdan Records, Joe Ramsey.

Today's Induction: The Buzzcocks.
Manchester's first entree into the 1977 punk sweepstakes, The Buzzcocks, recorded three great albums and some of the best singles of that era. Combining an almost hypnotic guitar swirl, underpinned by a very muscular rhythm section and almost whiny vocals surfing the top, the Buzzcocks had a unique sound and an excellent songwriter in guitarist/vocalist, Pete Shelley.  Original singer, Howard Devoto, and Shelley chose the name "Buzzcocks" after reading the headline, "It's the buzz, cocks!", in a review of the TV series "Rock Follies" in Time Out Magazine. The "buzz" is the excitement of playing on stage; "cock" is Manchester slang meaning "mate" (as in friend/buddy). With Devoto, The Buzzcock's formed what is generally regarded as the first punk independent label, New Hormones, and released a four-song EP in 1977 called "Spiral Scratch." The EP was produced by Martin Hannett (then calling himself Martin Zero), and was Hannett's introduction to the world before forming the label Factory Records and producing the now-legendary Joy Division albums.  Devoto's last Buzzcock's release was the single "Orgasm Addict" released in 1977. The single sold well despite The BBC's refusal to play it due to it's bold sexual theme. Upon Devoto's departure to form the group Magazine, Pete Shelley stepped up to the mike stand and instead of one excellent band in shambles, the split gave us two great ones. Shelley's "What Do I Get" was the Buzzcock's first non-Devoto single, and one of their best. The very Buzzcock-sounding "Shot By Both Sides" was Magazine's answer... and also very good.  The Buzzcocks soon settled into it's longest lasting formation: Pete Shelley with Steve Diggle on guitar, drummer John Maher and Steve Garvey on bass. That band would last nearly into the nineties but the glory days were definitely those of the late seventies. Besides the first three LPs, the Buzzcocks had no less than eight top UK hits.  Writing about The Buzzcock's single, "Ever Fallen in Love?" writer Mark Deming summed up The Buzzcocks appeal beautifully: "Pete Shelley's basic formula in the Buzzcocks was to marry the speed and emotional urgency of punk with the hooky melodies and boy/girl thematics of classic pop/rock. When he applied this thinking to that most classic of pop themes, unrequited teenage love, he crafted one of his most indelible songs."

The 34th artist to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Art Gallery is DJ Clulow and this is one of his pieces...

Rocket!! I love Rocket. Anyway, DJ will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

Alright, today's pheatured guests are three Alumni and one new guy who make up one of my favorite bands ever... Burning Jet Black. They have a new single out on iTunes called "The Brutal Beyond" and they will be appearing next at TRiP Santa Monica in Santa Monica, California on September 21st. Please welcome back to the Phile David Bloomfield, Rob Hughes and DAvid Sparrow and welcome Wes Hall from... Burning Jet Black!

Me: Hello, guys, and welcome back to the Phile. How have you been?

David S: Jason, we’ve been great! We’ve been playing some shows here and there, but mostly getting our new EP ready for everyone.

Me: Okay, last time you were here you had just changed the band name from The Whiskey Saints to Burning Jet Black. I take it you're gonna keep that band name for awhile?

David S: Well, it seems to be working. It’s been a good reflection of the music we’re making. The Whiskey Saints name always lent a sort of ambiguous nature to the sound of our music. With BJB, you get what you expect.

David B: I actually feel like Burning Jet Black is way more ambiguous than The Whiskey Saints. That's the problem I had with that name: it sounds like a country bar band and nothing else, ie "whiskey drinking music." I mean, other than the occasional Black Keys comparison (which is definitely a stretch), most people haven't been quick to assume we're anything. A few people have commented that the name sounds "sexy," which is pretty accurate for us, haha.

Me: I see since you were last here Jeff Bell, your drummer is gone, and you have a new drummer. Tell the readers who he is.

David S: Our new drummer is Wes Hall. We met him through our long time friend (and director of several of our videos) Dan Mercaldi. Wes actually filled in with us a few times when we were in a pinch before Jeff left.

Me: Wes, where are you from?

Wes: I'm from Collinsville, Connecticut. It's small New England town, the kind of place where everyone knows each other. Quiet and peaceful, very rural.

Me: Were you aware of the band before you joined them?

Wes: Yes, I actually met these guys as soon as I moved out here. It was summer and Dan Mercaldi ("Magazine Girl" music video director) who I knew from CT brought me to this big house party where the guys were at. Just hanging out and I think I was talking to David Bloomfield about music, they had a little studio at the house and we got a jam on. Since then I had gone to see The Whiskey Saints a bunch of times and really had a great time at their shows. I saw the evolution into Burning Jet Black as an outsider and was definitely into the music.

Me: Did you have to audition?

Wes: I didn't really have to audition, after our first meeting they knew I could play and we all got along really well. I actually joined a band with some mutual friends called Groamville. There was this amazing metal guitar player (Art Bertik Marquez) who offered me the gig. Groamville played around the typical Hollywood venues and the guys (Whiskey Saints at the time) had come out to see us, that was sort of my informal audition. That band ended and since I was a BJB fan and already familiar with the material it seemed inevitable that I would play with the Daves and Rob at some point.

Me: How many drummers auditioned before you settled in Wes?

David S: I think we auditioned two or three guys before we settled on Wes. None of these guys came close to being as good as he is. When a band sends you songs to learn, you should at least practice them a few times. One guy didn’t even bother to listen to the stuff we sent him.

Rob: I think when Jeff left we knew we at least had a safety net since Wes had filled in with us a few times in the past. Wes plays in another band and so we didn't think he'd want to play with us all the time as well, but he was completely open to it, so we didn't have to do too many auditions before we just started leaning on Wes. Eventually he became one of us. Ha!

Me: So, where did Jeff go? Is he in a new band?

David B: We sort of explained it in the "No Soul" video... so definitely refer to that if you want a misleading and completely ridiculous answer to this question. In reality Jeff got a great job offer in New York City, so we had to unfortunately part ways. Great guy, great drummer, we miss him. However, Wes has stepped in and become an integral part of the new material the band has written and recorded. 

Rob: Jeff also wanted to work on a pet project of his, a documentary about the Sons of Ben (, Philadelphia's MLS team. A few Burning Jet Black songs are featured in the doc and footage that we've seen looks pretty radical.

Me: I should get him on the Phile to talk about the documentary. We'll move on from this. You guys have been compared to Kings of Leon and I am sure you are influenced by them, am I right?

David B: Rob actually turned me on Kings of Leon quite a few years ago, and they quickly became one of my favorite bands. Those older records are just raw, punch you in the face rock n roll tracks... and I can definitely say that style of recording music definitely influenced how we approached the recording process for "The Modern Egotist". We're all pretty big fans of Ethan Johns, the guy who produced all those early Kings of Leon records and some of Ryan Adams best records... think if we had the choice of any record producer on the planet he'd be our guy.

Rob: I was listening to "Youth" and "Young Manhood" and "Aha Shake Heartbreak" almost exclusively just before I met Sparrow and Bloomfield. I still love those records. Bloomfield and I used to joke that you knew we were drunk when we started talking about Ethan Johns producing our records.

Me: I like some of their songs but all their songs sound the same. You guys are a lot better in my opinion and should be bigger and more popular than the Kings. Anyway, how do you keep your music so fresh?

David B: I don't think it's completely intentional, but there's an adventurous spirit with regard to songwriting and arranging music in BJB. Any time we start to compile any sort of formula, it gets broken down quickly in favor of trying something new and exciting, for us and our audience. With all the limitations of being an indie band financially, you do have all the creative freedom in the world, and squandering that would be pretty damn shameful. As I often say, most of my favorite bands haven't been afraid to "reinvent" themselves a bit and challenge their audience with each record. I'll defend the Kings a bit and note that their sound has evolved dramatically over the past 10 years, definitely more than most big label rock bands... they've definitely lost a few fans of those old, raw records, but picked up a bunch of new ones along the way.

David S: I’m glad you like us better than them.

Me: There's not many bands or performers I look forward to hearing new music from, but you guys I do. I am so glad you have a new single called "The Brutal Beyond". What is that song about?

David B: "The Brutal Beyond" title was actually born off Sparrow's misinterpretation of the original rough lyrics. We all got a good laugh out of it, so it stuck. It's actually a pretty accurate title for the song, too, sort of a tongue-in-cheek ode to the doldrums of life. When you're stuck in the brutal beyond, everything is just kinda crappy, slow and boring, to be blunt about it.

Me: Who wrote it?

David B: It was my tune but we all really fleshed it out by just jamming as a band... that's been the writing process with most of our newer songs. I think if you allow the band to form the material naturally, you get a lot more variety because you're utilizing the creative ideas of four people to various degrees versus just yourself. I think this is why a lot of solo artists and singer-songwriters tend to struggle more with all their material sounding homogeneous. Being in a band is pretty radical sometimes in that respect.

Me: You are coming out with a new album or EP, right?

David S: We’ll be releasing a new EP.

David B: We got the opportunity to work with Todd Richards and Adam Cameron at Studio Rev again to track, and it was mixed by the great Joe McGrath. We've worked with these guys on the last three projects that we've done so they know us pretty well. You know, quirks and shit.

Rob: Yeah, our grand scheme was to release this EP about 6 months after "The Modern Egotist", but then we wanted to include some newer songs so the date got pushed back. "The Brutal Beyond" was actually one of the new songs we recorded for it so the wait paid off in the end. It's a much stronger EP than it would have been.

Me: When will that be out and does it have a name?

David S: It looks like an late fall release and the EP is titled “Rascals.”

David B: Realistically we're looking at October or November for the release, although you'll probably get an opportunity to hear some more new music beforehand, and hopefully a new music video here soon, too.

Me: You know, since you were here last I have two singles out on iTunes and Bandcamp. The 'band' name is Strawberry Blondes Forever. I don't play on it, but I wrote the songs. Have you heard of my music?

David B: We're playing it right now. Sparrow's computer speakers are terrible but I'm slowly getting a groove on. Just heard a line about social tolerance followed by the usage of the word whore, nice man.

Me: What do you think, guys? Be honest.

David B: I'm a fan of Kelly Clarkson, so I can roll with the music.

Me: The name of the band is pretty cool, right? Strawberry Blondes Forever.

David B: I'm a fan of ladies with strawberry blonde hair, too, so I can roll with the name. Amy Adams, hot.

Me: Okay, so, this year on the Phile I am asking random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Are you guys ready? Shit, this is a deep one... How do you define integrity and do you have it?

David B: Do what you need to do to make yourself happy, whether that's making music, building homes, trading stocks and bonds, whatever. That may sound selfish, but it doesn't mean it can't also include making other people happy, too, helping provide for and raising a family takes a lot of balls. I'm just saying that if you're just out to please other people and not doing something to satisfy your own needs and desires, you've lost it. C'mon, do you really want to end up trapped in "the brutal beyond" (wink)?

Rob: Integrity starts with the choices that you make but ultimately ends with your ownership of those choices. Everyone makes a poor decision from time to time but your integrity really isn't tested until you have to deal with it. So far I don't think we've really had our integrity tested as a band but I'd say on an individual level we've got it.

Me: Thanks so much for being in the Phile again. I'm a HUGE fan and wish you guys will come play in Orlando. Plug your website, guys.

David S: Thanks for having us. As for websites, we’re all over the place.,, You can download the new single “The Brutal Beyond” at the Bandcamp page.

 David B: Thanks again Jason, it's always a pleasure to stop by.

Me: Come back when the new release comes out. Rock on. Oh, and I want a Burning Jet Black tshirt in XXL. Haha.

David B: Next time we print up some t-shirts, consider it done.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Joe Ramsey and of course the boys from BJB. The Phiole will be back tomorrow with Phile Alum Lindsay Rush and on Monday Phile Alum Kevin Hearn from Barenaked Ladies. I cannot believe he's gonna be back on the Phile. 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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