Monday, December 30, 2013

Pheaturing Mark Lassiter

Hey there, and welcome to the Phile, the last entry of the year. How are you? Man, the year flew by, didn't it? It did for me.  So, yesterday I told you two stories that happened on Christmas. I hope your Christmas was better than those stories. I have another one that I hope was better than yours as well. A South Carolina woman was arrested and charged with domestic abuse on Christmas day after she used a ceramic squirrel to bludgeon and stab her husband because he apparently failed to return home with the case of beer he was supposed to buy. And while we can certainly blame the wife in this situation, we must ask ourselves what the odds are that this would have happened if the husband were carrying his own rodent figurine. This is why it's so important to protect whichever amendment it is that grants us the right to carry ceramic squirrels.  A herd of wild teenagers stampeded through the Kings Plaza Shopping Center in Brooklyn on Thursday, causing mass chaos for terrified adults, damaging property and "making trouble." Some teen experts believe that the unruly crowd was attempting to migrate to the mall under the mistaken belief that they would see the rapper Fabolous, who is apparently a real thing. France has officially instituted a "millionaire tax" of 50% on any income above 1 million euros ($1.38 million), thus infuriating the nation's top earners, who will now theoretically have no reason to try to make money other than the fact that there's no chance in the world that they're going to stop trying to make money.  It turns out that members of al Qaeda are not only depraved, fundamentalist, murderous monsters, but also nitpicky, penny-pinching, bottom line-driven monsters. According to new reports, the terrorist organization is really into collecting receipts and documenting expenses for even really small things, like a jar of mustard or a canister of mustard gas. And just when you thought you couldn't like them any less. A&E Networks has announced that it will be allowing "Duck Dynasty's" Phil Robertson to return from from the "indefinite hiatus" he's been on for the past several weeks... following some homophobic and racist comments he made during a magazine interview during which time the show was not actually filming any episodes, thus achieving the company's apparent goal of looking weak and silly to people on both side of the controversy. DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed on "Duck Dynasty" are not necessarily those of A&E, unless they are about profiting at any cost.  A federal judge has ruled that the classic detective stories of Arthur Conan Doyle may now enter the public domain. This means that anyone may use Sherlock Holmes, Dr. John Watson and all other characters from the stories for whatever reasons they see fit, without having to pay Doyle's estate. This is great news for fans of terrible, terrible writing writing.  People will go to great lengths to get out of a bad date. Make up a family emergency. Get a friend to call pretending to be work. Fake an illness. But 24 year old Siyah Brown wins the award for most dramatic exit from a bad date. Apparently, Brown was on a date with another man a few days ago and around 4:20 am when their car ran out of gas on the New Jersey Turnpike. But wait! It gets weirder. The reason Brown, a crossdresser who was wearing women's red pants and a sweater at the time, decided to jump ship was that his date had called in a third guy to bring them fuel. For some reason, that weirded Brown out enough to take off. Brown scaled a fence protected by "cameras, sensors, and barbed wire" and crossed over two runways before an airline official caught him. Don't worry: airport officials are investigating the breach in security. Have a good flight home, everyone!  I was just about convinced that all high school students do anymore is cyberbully each other using forms of social media that I will never understand, and then this story popped up. Like it was the freaking '60s or something, students at Eastside Catholic High School in Seattle walked out of class a week or so ago one morning to protest the forced resignation of their vice principal Mark Zmuda. Zmuda has been working as a teacher and administrator at the school... and connected middle school for the last 13 years. When the administration found out he married his same-sex partner Dana Jergens in July, they asked Zmuda to leave. Word of the protest, which involved over 400 students, spread via Twitter at #KeepMrZ2013 and Facebook to other schools, leading students at other Catholic schools in the area to hold sit-ins of their own in solidarity. Luckily, it's the time of year when most teachers are just playing Home Alone on the projector and trying to get through the end of the week, so there was plenty of time for protesting. Students also started a petition on urging the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to reverse the Church's position on gay marriage. It has over 12,000 signatures. Though gay marriage is legal in the state of Washington, Zmuda signed a contract when he began working at Eastside agreeing to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church, which even though the pope is super cool and humble and shit, still includes a condemnation of gay marriage. Mike Patterson, a spokesman for the school, says it was ultimately the decision of the Archdiocese of Seattle to let Zmuda go once his same-sex marriage came to light. Of all the tweets of appreciation and support, this one is by far my favorite:

High School, y'all.  Did you see that UFC fight where Anderson Silva broke his leg? Well, I didn't. I know nothing about UFC, or Anderson Silva, so I thought I'd look into this whole thing considering it's news and this is what I found.

I don't know if that's funny or not.  So, my son got "Call of Duty 3" for Christmas and I was looking at the cover and I noticed something...

He's facing the wrong way. Haha. Alright, and now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Things I Really Hope Will Happen in 2014
5. Pope Francis changes the priest's uniform to jeans and a blazer, and gives a mass where he hops up on a desk and gets real with the congregation.
4. A light fixture falls in the White House, bumping Obama on the head and making him remember his 2008 campaign promises.
3. The Duck King and Queen return to claim their throne from the Robertson usurpers, ushering in 100 years of peace between man and fowl, even the gay ones. Bestiality still not cool, though. Ducks think we're gross.
2. People start really connecting again without the Internet, forcing the NSA to plant microphones in board games.
And the number one thing I really hope will happen in 2014...
1. The Sochi Olympics breaks out into a massive, spontaneous song-and-dance number filled with feather boas and led by Neil Patrick Harris.

Oh, lord. Hahahaha. I don't know what to say. If you spot the Mindphuck email me at Well, it's that time of year when people start making their New Years resolutions. And here with his is a friend of the Phile, patriot, singer and renaissance man. You know what time it is...

Good morning, humans. Time to do the whole Monday thing once again. Random thought of the day... My New Year's resolution is... to stop making New Year's resolutions. I never stick to them longer than a week or two and it is indeed a waste of time to do so. Besides, how do you improve on perfection?

It's 1:33 am, 58°F and Kelly is starting to show a baby bump. Great, just bloody great.

Today's pheatured guest is a musician and a dentist... yup, you read that right, whose new EP is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Mark Lassiter.

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

Mark: Thanks for having me!! I am great... excited about having a great 2013 and a lot of cool stuff coming in '14.

Me: You're not related to John Lassiter, are you? Do you know who that is?

Mark: I know two John Lassiter's. One is a dentist and one is an orthopedic surgeon and politician. I am not sure if you are speaking of either of those but I am distantly related to the dentist. Or was he the character Tom Selleck played in "Lassiter"?

Me: I wasn't thinking of either of those guys. Mark, where are you from? Where do you live now?

Mark: I am from Smyrna, Georgia born in Atlanta and live in Charlotte, North Carolina now.

Me: Alright, so, you're a musician and a dentist, am I right?

Mark: That is correct.

Me: So, which came first? I am guessing being a dentist is your day job.

Mark: Ha... I became a dentist in 1995 and a musician in 2000. I spend quite a few more hours doing dentistry.

Me: How long have you been a dentist, Mark?

Mark: I was thinking about that yesterday... Not counting the four years in dental school I have been a dentist over 18 years! Unbelievable.

Me: And how did you start being a musician? 

Mark: I started with a $60 beater guitar in the Winter of 2000.

Me: You play guitar I know, do you play any other instruments?

Mark: No. I do mess around with Garageband on iPad and it feels like I can play a string quartet sometimes.

Me: What was the first song you learned to play on the guitar?

Mark: "Polly" by Nirvana.

Me: Do your patients know you are a musician as well?

Mark: Oh yes, I give my albums to my patients daily and they are some of my biggest and best fans. 

Me: I read you are the dentist to the rock stars. Really? Who are your patients, can you say?

Mark: I have their permission to mention it but I have worked with band members of Tonic, The Wallflowers, and Collective Soul.

Me: And what's this story you worked on somebody right before they performed before President Obama? When was this, where and who was it?

Mark: It was actually after the gig at the Democratic National Convention. Rami Jaffee, who played with The Wallflowers AND Foo Fighters, broke his tooth on popcorn. So I drove him an hour to my office in Norwood and fixed him up. I was able to hear the new Wallflower's record that evening before it was widely released. Very cool.

Me: Did you meet the President?

Mark: Nah. I actually didn't even see that show. He just texted me because he works with me on my albums and said, "Aren't you a dentist too?"

Me: You worked also worked along the side of Foo Fighters, The Wallflowers and Collective Soul. When it says you worked along the side of them what does it mean?

Mark: It really means that members of those bands have helped me with my recorded music as session players. But we have really become friends since we all first met on my first record, "Living Past", in 2009. I am working on my second LP with them as we speak.

Me: Okay, I drilled you enough about the dentist thing... get it, drilled... your last album was nominated in the Top 20 Indie Albums of '09. Did you win and what did you win?

Mark: I love puns. This was an award from podcaster Zack Daggy at I was honored. There is some great music on there.

Me: You have a new EP out called "Endlessly" which has two versions of the title song and another song, Mark. Are you planning on releasing a full release?

Mark: No... this was written at several stages of going through a divorce and finding a new love. It's time to move on.

Me: Does songwriting come easy for you?

Mark: Sometimes. I love it when it happens like that because with a dental practice, 7 kids and a new relationship time is literally a commodity. Sometimes it is hard work like anything else worth creating. 

Me: For your last single called "One More Second" you released a short little film for a video. Was that fun to do?

Mark: Yes! My buddy and director John Foutz put that together for me in Charlotte. We did it for a zero dollar budget and volunteers. It was a social event more than anything and a cool way to start into music vids. I think I did pay for pizza.

Me: Where was it filmed, Mark, and did you have your friends take part?

Mark: It was filmed on location at the Sunset Club in Charlotte and around South Charlotte. I had all of my supportive and close friends there. There were also some serious character actors, an OB Gyn, several actors and actresses, at least two strippers, the movie editor for the Charlotte Observer, Divakar (the most supportive DJ's of indie music in Charlotte), and several folks I don't know.

Me: Another song of yours, "Living Past", was used in a documentary. What was the documentary about?

Mark: Again, Rami Jaffee from Wallflowers was playing Hammond B3 on one of my songs. The folks from The Grammy Museum came to him and wanted to film him doing his session player thing in Malibu. He used my song to play to to show him how collaboration works now throughout the world. The video was in the Producers and Session Players video in The Grammy Museum in L.A. about 3 weeks after I wrote the song. I flew out and heard it. It was incredible!

Me: How did you get involved in this?

Mark: Rami thought it was cool what I was doing and saw how the future of music production would look back in 2008. He is a visionary.

Me: I have to ask you about MusiCares... that's your organization, am I right?

Mark: Oh no. This is a philanthropic arm of The Grammy Organization NARAS. It supports music people in need. It is a huge organization and it's mission is that it provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need. MusiCares' services and resources cover a wide range of financial, medical and personal emergencies, and each case is treated with integrity and confidentiality. MusiCares also focuses the resources and attention of the music industry on human service issues that directly impact the health and welfare of the music community.

Me: Does MusiCares have a website, Mark?


Me: Alright, so, you're coming out with new music under the name Fringe. Is that a band, or a name you're gonna be recording under?

Mark: This was a side project with a colleague, Wes Mauldin. It is an indie rock production.

Me: Why not release the music under your own name?

Mark: I generally do. If I do a side project it may be done as a separate band name as in the case of Fringe.

Me: So, Fringe, when the new music comes out, will you come back on the Phile? Should I call you Fringe then?

Mark: I think I may start going by Fringe anyway. Dr. Fringe that is.

Me: Okay, doctor. On the Phile I am asking random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Are you ready? This is random but kinda fitting. If you could work as an assistant to anyone for a year who would you choose?

Mark: Charlize Theron. Because she is cognizant of the need for global... okay, she is hot.

Me: Yeah, she is. Mark, thanks for being on the Phile. Go ahead and plug your website and I wish you lots of luck and continued success. Take care.

Mark: Thanks, Phile!! My website is My new release "Endlessly" is available at iTunes and Amazon. Thanks for the outlet and great questions!!

Me: You got it. Take care, and come back soon.

Well, that about wraps it up for this entry and another year of the Phile. Thanks to Laird Jim and Mark Lassiter and also everyone else I interviewed this year and who helped out. It was a great year for the Phile which I hope will continue through 2014. Alright, the Phile will be back next Sunday with stand-up comedian Sammy Obeid, and on Monday it's Phile Alum Kevin Coehlo. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Have a safe New Years and I'll see you in 2014!

1 comment:

Leavethedarkness said...

Thanks for having me on! Have a Happy New Year!!