Monday, February 25, 2013

Pheaturing Phile Alum Kim Edwards

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile. This is gonna be a short and brief entry as my stomach is in a lot of pain and I feel very nauseous.  So, let's get this going. Who watched the Oscars? You'd think that foreign language winner had won for Titanic based on how many times he said "sank you". What about John Travolta, eh? I was thinking, he's gonna have a Jodi Foster moment. They did a tribute for 50 years of Bond and they have a catwalk over the audience... and nobody repelled off! And what about that Adele? She kinda stays under the radar, right? Okay, I can't do this, I feel really bad. I have never done this before, but let's get right into the interview.

Today's guest was last on the Phile last summer. Her CD "Wanderlust" is available on iTunes and doing very well, and she has a brand new video out for the title track. Please welcome back to the Phile... Kim Edwards.

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

Kim: Hey, Jason! I'm doing well, thanks. It's really great to be back.

Me: So, how has 2013 been for you? Busy?

Kim: Very much so. I was hoping for a little more down time since last year was so crazy (in a good way), but there have been a lot of great music-related opportunities popping up lately. So I'm more than fine with it!

Me: Last time you were here you said you were living out of a suitcase. Are you still doing that?

Kim: Not so much at the moment, but I'm gearing up to hit the road again in a few weeks for a spring mini-tour. 

Me: Dallas is your home, right, but you are from Pennsylvania. Do you get back home often?

Kim: I'm actually at my parents' home in Pennsylvania right now for an extended stay. I usually only get back to Pennsylvania about once or twice a year, so it's been wonderful being home over the holidays and spending some extra time with family. It's also nice to be on the East Coast during winter... call me crazy, but I love snow!

Me: When you were here before we talked about how much you like Disney movie scores, especially The Little Mermaid. Do you sing any Mermaid or Disney songs in your shows?

Kim: Haha, I haven't yet, but maybe I will now since you mentioned it!

Me: Did you see Wreck-It Ralph? What did you think of that score?

Kim: Nope, haven't seen Wreck-It Ralph yet, but it's on my list of movies to see.

Me: What about Tangled?

Kim: I did see Tangled, and I LOVED it! It reminded me a lot of some of the great movies that came out of the "golden era" of Disney back in the 80s and 90s (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin)... which is fitting since Alan Menken composed the score. He did an incredible job as he always does. Aaaaand I happen to be a huge fan of Zachary Levi (Flynn Rider), so it was right up my alley.

Me: Brave? LOL.

Kim: Haven't seen that one yet either... another on the list!

Me: Kim, if you could have your songs in any TV show, what show would you want your music to be in?

Kim: Good question. Part of me says "Grey's Anatomy" since nowadays it seems to be the golden goose of TV placements, but I also like "Castle" and what little bits and pieces I've seen of "Parenthood."

Me: Okay, let's talk about your album "Wanderlust". It took quite a few years to make, Kim, are you glad it's out and doing well? Man, that's a dumb question. 

Kim: Haha, there are no dumb questions! "Wanderlust" did take a few years from the time I first started writing to the release of the album, but it was worth the wait to me. I think no matter what, I'll always love that album because it was my first. And yes, I'm very glad it's out and about and doing well. It's been almost a year since the release, and it's still gaining new fans... I'm really grateful.

Me: I have to ask you about the song "121". What does that mean? 121 what?

Kim: It's called "121" because the lyrics are taken from Hebrew scripture, specifically the 121st Psalm. (I think it's one of the most beautiful pieces of literature ever.) When we were recording, I didn't have a title for it, so we called it "121"... and it just stuck.

Me: Your latest video is for the title track, and you look beautiful in it. How long did it take to film? 

Kim: Thanks so much, Jason. The whole video was filmed in less than a day.

Me: It's simple concept, you playing piano and singing, but it works. It was directed by Bruce Kite. Where did you meet him and did you choose him as a director?

Kim: Bruce and I have been friends for a few years now. We're from the same town in Pennsylvania and have lots of mutual friends. Bruce is a creative genius; I always describe him as a jack of all trades and a master of them, too. He was my photographer and graphic designer for my album artwork and website, and so it just seemed natural to also tap him for the music video. He always does great work, and I trust his eye.

Me: Who else has Bruce worked for?

Kim: Bruce has worked with Olympus on a lot of projects as well as Ferasha Films, but as far as musician-related work, I love his work with a band called Coastal Rise. His photography is killer.

Me: Are you going to be making any more videos for the songs from "Wanderlust"?

Kim: I would definitely like to. I'd love to make one for "It Was Me" especially. Of course, I wouldn't mind shooting an on-location video for "Aloha", either...

Me: So, this album took so long to make, do you think your next album will take as long?

Kim: Hopefully not! "Wanderlust" was a great learning experience, and I think I'll be better prepared for making the next album whenever the time comes.

Me: Kim, I have to ask you about the photo's in the desert. Where was this? And are you crazy, they are snakes in the desert. You saw one, right? I have a picture of that actual snake here.

Kim: I was on tour in Southern California over the summer, and while I was out there I spent some time with friends in San Bernadino. My friend Shay Arthur also happens to be a great photographer, and since she lived right near the desert, we decided to do a photo shoot. And yes, we ran into a full-grown rattlesnake while we were out there. We were only a few feet away when we heard the rattle...
definitely the closest I've ever been to a rattlesnake without a glass partition between us!

Me: I would of ran away and screamed like a girl. What did you do?

Kim: Pretty much ran away and screamed like a girl.

Me: You tour all over the States and said last time you play in people's living rooms. Are you still doing that?

Kim: I have been playing more live venues than living rooms lately, but I still love playing living rooms. I love the intimacy (ugh, I kind of hate using that word in this context... feels slightly creepy to me, haha... but I can't think of anything better) of playing in people's houses. I think there's more audience interaction and it feels less like a performance and more like just hanging out... with music.

Me: What has been your favorite show you have played, Kim?

Kim: So far, my favorite show was one that I played last year while on tour. It was a benefit concert for a friend's organization (they work to bring awareness about human-trafficking) and a TON of people came out... so much so that it was standing-room only. The thing that stands out to me about this concert was that it was probably the most attentive audience I've ever played for, which was a real miracle for a crowd that size. I tend to feed off the crowd, and so when people are really into the show, that makes it that much easier for me. Some shows are like pulling teeth... but this one was so. much. fun. It was also a fave because we raised money for a great cause... doesn't get much better than that! 

Me: I have to mention the album cover, you look kinda guilty on it. LOL. It's better than the cover of the EP, where there's a picture of the back of you. Are you picky about the artwork and photos for your releases, Kim?

Kim: Guilty, huh?! Haha. I guess I'm pretty picky about my artwork and photos (or maybe "thoughtful" is a better term?). Each release is a new learning experience for sure. For the EP, I just went with what I liked and thought looked good at the time. For "Wanderlust", I thought it best to let someone else design the artwork, so I hired Bruce Kite. I gave him a few guidelines and sent him a Pinterest board of pictures that I liked (to help give him a feel for the vibe I wanted), and he knocked it out of the park. I LOVE the album artwork, especially the booklet he designed. I never would have come up with it, but it is exactly what I had hoped for and more.

Me: Alright, so this year on the Phile I am asking random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Are you ready? This is random, but it's kinda fitting... What makes your generation unique? I don't know why it's fitting, but doing these interviews, there's so many talented young people born ion the last 20 or so years.

Kim: Hmm, interesting question. I think my generation is unique because we are born into a plugged-in world. I mean, I still remember the pre-internet days, but it's weird to me to think that there are kids out there now who have never known life without the internet. Or cell phones. Or so many of the other wonders of technology we have today. And while my generation might be guilty of being too plugged-in at time, I also think it makes the world more open and interconnected than ever before. And that opens up so many doors for inspiration and collaboration and creativity in general... which is a really great thing, in my opinion!

Me: Kim, thanks again for being here, and please come back soon. Go ahead and plug your website and I wish you continued success. All the best.

Kim: Thanks for having me, Jason! It's always a pleasure.,,

Me: Thanks, Kim.

Man, I am so sorry this entry was so short. I had lots of cool stuff planned as well, but when you're sick... Anyway, thanks to Kim for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Friday where we kick off "The Great Space Coaster" Month with Phile Alum Robert A. Medeiros from The Clarences. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Strawberry Blondes Forever!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pheaturing Natania

Hello, and welcome to the Phile for a Sunday. A lot of stuff is happening in Florida today, kids. There's the Princess Marathon at Disney and the Daytona 500 in Daytona. I bet a Kenyan won't win any of them.  So, I was thinking... the Pope quit, a meteor fell in Russia, an asteroid passed close to Earth, it's snowing in Arizona, Star Wars and Star Trek have the same director... who the hell is playing Jumanji?!  You gotta love politicians. Former Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico revealed that while in office he fathered a child with the daughter of another senator, who was a friend of his. He cheated on his wife with the daughter of another senator and they had a baby. When did the Senate become "The Jerry Springer Show"? Domenici is defending himself by saying that he is no better or worse than the next guy. And he’s right, because you know who the next guy was? John Edwards.  The former San Diego mayor, Maureen O'Connor, told federal prosecutors she went broke after gambling away more than a billion dollars she inherited from her late husband at casinos playing video poker. But to be fair, at one point, she was up 300 bucks.  Former Chicago Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. pled guilty to misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign funds for personal use, including buying a $43,000 Rolex watch. How ironic is that? All that money on a watch, and now he's going to wind up doing time.  Only four more days with this Pope, kids. They're going to miss Pope Benedict. He's very underrated. This is the guy who wanted to replace Communion wafers with unlimited bread sticks. They're looking for a new Pope. Each candidate will get a week's tryout with Kelly Ripa.  A woman called 911 because she ran out of cigarettes. You don't see me calling 911 because I run out of jokes, do you? Not anymore, anyway.  The Bulgarian prime minister, Boyko Borisov, stepped down. He's stepping down like the Pope, but with a funnier name and a smaller hat. I'm not sure who'll replace Boyko Borisov. My money's on Ashton Kutcher.  Any Led Zeppelin fans out there? I am sure you are. Robert Plant told Australia's version of "60 Minutes" that he'd be willing to reform Led Zeppelin. When I heard this, I said, "What? Australia has a ‘60 Minutes?’"  A woman in New York has been arrested for hiring strippers to perform at her son's 16th birthday party. Even Dina and Michael Lohan were like, "That's a really bad parenting choice."  Florida Atlantic University announced a new corporate sponsor for their football stadium. It happens to be America's second largest operator of for-profit prisons. I guess they figured a lot of the athletes end up in prison anyway. The school, Florida Atlantic University, says very little will change. The only change they're making is that hot dogs will now go for two packs of cigarettes.  In November, Colorado voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Currently, only Colorado residents can purchase marijuana in the state. But they may open it up to nonresidents too. The new state slogan is "Come for the legal marijuana, stay because you forgot to leave."  Well, today is the Oscars, in case you didn't know. I guess to appeal to a younger audience, this year's Academy Awards are just being referred to as the Oscars. And to appeal to an even younger audience, they're spelling Oscars with a "z"... and backwards in crayon. Folks are excited about the Academy Awards on Sunday. Ann Hathaway will probably win. She's won so many awards she's being tested for banned substances. Lindsay Lohan is having an Academy Awards party. Here's how it will go. Any time someone opens an envelope, or any time during the telecast they run a commercial, or any time the audience applauds or sits quietly, Lindsay will do a shot. Have you seen a movie out there called Zero Dark Thirty? It's about the hunt for Osama bin Laden and his wife Mary Todd bin Laden. Steven Spielberg's Lincoln received 12 nominations. I really think Lincoln has a shot.  There's an interesting contest going on in the best actress category. Both the youngest and oldest actresses are competing. The one is only 9, which makes your kid's performance as tree number two in the school play seem a little less impressive, right?  Did you know the movie Lincoln originally had a different name? Here is the original movie poster for it.

Another thing that is happening today that I already mentioned is the Daytona 500. Yesterday in Daytona there was a big crash that sent some spectators to the hospital. Looking at footage of the crash I see what happened. Here's a screen shot.

LOL. That's so dumb. I don't even though if that's a picture from the crash that happened yesterday. I'm sure I will hear from somebody about it. Anyway, in Daytona they are selling an inspirational poster,which I don't think will help NASCAR's image.

I have never been into NASCAR, but when I saw who is racing this year, I have to admit, I got a little

Danica Patrick has the first pole position, which I don't know about you, but it sounds kinda hot.  Speaking of what I think is hot, there's only two days of the campaign to get Kelly Clarkson on the Phile left. So, spread this campaign poster around.

Okay, it's Oscar day, and all through February I have been giving you some Oscar trivia you can use at your Oscar party. So, here for the last time is...

Alright, I have two facts for you today. The first is Oscars' statuette were made of plaster during the WW II.  Because metal was scarce during the war, from 1942 until the end of World War II, Oscars were made out of plaster to conserve metal. After the war, the winners received "real" replacement statues. The second fact is Oscar Hammerstein II is the only Oscar winner named Oscar. Hammerstein won two Oscars for best original song... in 1941 for "The Last Time I Saw Paris" in the film Lady Be Good, and in 1945 for "It Might as Well Be Spring" in State Fair. There you go, enjoy the Oscars, people.

Talking of movies, a friend of the Phile wanted to come on and talk about a movie she recently watched. She shoots from the hip, heart, camera, gun, sling-shot, tank... please welcome back to the Phile... Debbie Boldacious.

This weekend I'll be mostly completely bummed out and disappointed that I'm not waking up next to 1980-90s John Cusack. Today I learned something: The high school skiing jock prick that is Roy Stalin, from THE AMAZING 80s movie classic Better Off Dead (not just a classic because of THE VH Burger scene), that actor went on to be the head coach for the Boston College ACC Ski Team!! HAHAHA, I hope he wasn't much of an actor, and that was his personality. K-12 anyone? And no, he was not Stan Gable from Revenge Of The Nerds. For more MIND BLOWING teachings, stay tuned... haha!

Debbie Boldacious, everybody. Thanks, Debbie.


Okay, today's pheatured guest is a singer songwriter from India whose CD "Hope & Heartbreak" is available on iTunes right now. Please welcome to the Phile... Natania.

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

Natania: Hello! Thank you for having me. It’s been raining in LA, which means I am fantastic!

Me: That's a very interesting name, Natania, does it have a meaning?

Natania: Yes! It means “A gift from God”, it’s actually Hebrew.

Me: My name, Jason, means sexual healer. Anyway, I think it does. So, where are you from from, Nat? India I believe, right? I can call you Nat, right?

Natania: Sexual Healer!? That’s amazing. I actually think Jason is Hebrew origin too isn’t it? I am from Mumbai, India. Okay, but only if I get to call you J?

Me: Sure, you can call me J. I don't know if Jason is Hebrew... I think it's Greek. Actually, it stands for July, August, September, October and November. Anyway, where do you live now?

Natania: I’m living in Los Angeles.

Me: When did you move from India to American and how old were you?

Natania: I moved here about 3 years ago, when I was seventeen.

Me: Is your family back in India?

Natania: Yes, but my brother lives in New York so I get to see him more, which is nice.

Me: When you first decided to move here how did you tell your parents and what did they say?

Natania: Gosh! I think at first they didn’t take it seriously but I think when they saw how sure I was they were so supportive.

Me: What's the first thing you did here in America?

Natania: When I first got here in 2010 I was on the East coast and I had been there plenty of times before but I had never been to Los Angeles, so when I got to LA a friend picked me up from the airport and I had my first Chipotle experience. It was amazing!

Me: You went to Berklee in Boston, am I right?

Natania: Yes! I just attended the summer program there before I moved to LA to attend Musicians Institute, but it was such an amazing experience!

Me: What did you study there?

Natania: I studied voice and some songwriting while I was there!

Me: How long have you been songwriting, Nat?

Natania: Since I picked up my guitar at 15 along with my first heartbreak.

Me: And how long have you been playing guitar?

Natania: For about 5 years now! It’s become my best friend; we hang out every single day!

Me: Okay, let's talk about your EP "Hope & Heartbreak". Where did that title come from? Have you had much heartbreak in your life?

Natania: Most of my songs are about love and I was thinking about the parts and bits of love when I realized there were only two big parts, you’re either hopeful or heartbroken, so I decided to call the EP that! I’ve been hopeful and heartbroken. It’s my optimism that gets me in trouble sometimes, haha.

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

Natania: Yes I did!

Me: It's a very upbeat and fun EP, Nat. I like it a lot. I love your smokey voice; it's very Norah Jonesish. Are you a fan of hers?

Natania: Thanks, J! I’m so happy you like it. I love Norah Jones,she has such a cool vibe to her (and she’s half Indian, which makes her awesome.)

Me: Who are you influenced by?

Natania: Ingrid Michaelson, Gavin Degraw, Sara Bareilles, Tyler Hilton... The list goes on and on!

Me: So, is that your natural singing voice or do you smoke to get that voice?

Natania: Haha! It’s very much natural.

Me: I have to ask you about the lyric to the song "Cherry Love". You sing, "when you tie your stem I come undone." I'm a songwriter now myself and thought those were interesting lyrics. What do they mean?

Natania: They say you’re a great kisser when you can tie a cherry stem with your tongue you know.

Me: And what is cherry love?

Natania: Cherry love is that love you’re so reckless with. You just fall and enjoy it in the moment. It’s that first stage with the flirting and butterflies and wondering if he’s feeling the exact same way you are. It’s magic. It’s a red kind of love.

Me: I like the artwork for the EP, did you do that yourself?

Natania: Thank you! I came up with the idea and a great designer Lucas Tuttle designed it for me.

Me: Did you do the video for "Cherry Love" as well? I have a screen shot of it here.

Natania: I came up with the storyboard for the video and another great guy Matt Schneck brought it to life.

Me: So, are you working on another EP, or full length?

Natania: I’m planning to release another EP this year! So excited about it, already trying to pick songs.

Me: Alright, so, on the Phile I ask random questions, Nat. Here is yours and is completely random thanks to the card game Tabletopics... what change would you most like to make for your health? 

Natania: Ooooh this is fun, take more vitamin C! I’m always catching the flu when it’s around!

Me: Nat, thanks so much for being on the Phile, and please come back again soon. Go ahead and mention your website and everything.

Natania: Thank you so much for having me! You can check me out at You can follow me on Twitter and Facebook at @NataniaMusic. Hope & Hearbreak is now available on iTunes!

Me: Take care, and thanks again. I hope this was fun. All the best.

Natania: Thanks, J! It was such a pleasure chatting with you. Let’s do it again soon :)

Me: We sure will. Thanks, Nat.

There you go, that about does it for this entry. Thanks to Debbie Boldacious and of course Natania. Okay, the Phile will be back tomorrow with Phile Alum Kim Edwards. Then next Friday the Phile starts "The Great Space Coaster" Month with another Phile Alum... Robert A. Medeiros from The Clarences. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Strawberry Blondes Forever!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Pheaturing George Kilby Jr.

Hello, kids, welcome to the Phile, entertainment in disguise. Let's start with something important. Last Wednesday, which was February 20th, it was my 25th anniversary working at Walt Disney World. I got a service pin, a statue of Tinkerbell and a giant cake. Check it out.

It says congratulations on 25 years of service. LOL. I hardly did 25 years of anything, let alone service. I am just surprised I lasted there so long.  President Obama played golf here in Florida with Tiger Woods this past week. Well, you thought Michelle got mad when Barack ate a cheeseburger. She told him, “No hanging out with Tiger afterward. You come right home.”  A top geneticist at Stanford says human intelligence is declining. You know what that means? We are seeing Congress at its smartest and most effective right now.  We're learning more about the Pope's condition finally. The Vatican announced that Pope Benedict hit his head during his March 2012 trip to Mexico. In fact, right after that, the Pope said he's sworn off spring break forever. The big question: Who's going to replace the Pope? Where's the new Pope going to come from? I think they should check out Whole Foods. I've seen plenty of holier-than-thou people walking around that place. He hit his head and is gonna quick. I broke my shoulder in four places and I didn't quit my job. Maybe I should be Pope. Wait, you have to be Catholic, right? Oh, well. Anyway, will be retiring to his sprawling ranch, the Pope-arosa.  Yoko Ono is 80 years old. People sometimes say or suggest that Yoko broke up the Beatles. Now that she's 80 the only thing she's breaking up is bingo games.  The Yankees are in spring training and you kind of feel it... the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, the smell of the deer antler spray.  The White House’s immigration plan was leaked over last weekend, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio is already calling it “dead on arrival.” That, incidentally, is also Florida's state motto.  I mentioned this last week I think, NBA legend Michael Jordan turned 50 years old. Scottie Pippen actually helped him blow out his candles, but nobody seemed to notice.  A new study found that humans are slowly getting less intelligent. I was going to read the whole study, but I’ll just wait for the movie.  A judge in California announced that Kim Kardashian’s divorce trial from Kris Humphries will begin on May 6. The pre-show on E! will begin on March 1.  Well, this week Sony announced the Playstation 4. I watched the presentation, and I couldn't help but to think those guys didn't know what to do with their hands.

Actually, I just thought they looked like a really bad boy band. Maybe that jerk off Clive Davis can sign them. Man, did you hear what he said about Kelly Clarkson? Let Clive Davis be a lesson for all of you: don't piss off Kelly. She will go IN with an open letter. She snatched Clive Davis' wig and you need to bow. Anyway, now I know what gets Kelly's attention. Hmmm, let me think of something that might piss her off. I know... now that I think of it, it's not ironic at all that heavier, full-figured Kelly Clarkson sings a song called "Catch My Breath"." LOL. Kelly, I'm just kidding. Come on the Phile, please. I won't make you cry, but my memory does lapse sometime.  Hey, I just heard they found a new Pope...

"A job opening, there is?"  Tomorrow is the Oscars. One of the movies up for Best Picture is Django Unchained. Do you know before it was called that it had a different name? Here is the original movie 
poster for it.

Slavery Sucks Fun Edition? What a stupid name. Glad they changed it.  I just mentioned Kelly Clarkson, and these last two months I have been running a campaign to get her on the Phile. Don't think it's gonna happen, but here's the campaign poster...

Okay, let's see who rolled snake-eyes this week.

Jerry Buss
Jan 27, 1934 - Feb 18, 2013
Buss stopped.


I had quite a few emails this past week saying I forgot the Oscar trivia pheature in the last entry. I did, and I apology, so I have two today. Tomorrow is the Oscars, and to help you for your Oscar party I am giving you some Oscar trivia. The first is Marlon Brando is widely known for his interest in Native Americans. A widely known expression of this interest was when he stayed away from Academy Award ceremony at which he was presented an Oscar for Best Actor for his role in The Godfather. Instead of going himself, Sacheen Littlefeather represented Mr. Brando at the ceremony. She appeared in full Apache clothing. She stated that owing to the "poor treatment of Native Americans in the film industry" Mr. Brando would not accept the award. It was later revealed that Littlefeather was actually Maria Cruz, an actress of Mexican descent. The second piece of Oscar trivia is the famous golden statuette, formally named the Academy Award of Merit, got its more popular moniker “Oscar” when Academy librarian Margaret Herrick said that it resembled her Uncle Oscar. Before this name stuck, other people had tried to call it “the golden trophy,” “the statue of merit,” and “the iron man.” Well, that's one theory. The root of the name Oscar is contested. Some people claim it was Bette Davis who named the famous statuette. There you go. Enjoy.

Okay, today's guest is a singer songwriter who has backed the legendary Pinetop Perkins for more than a decade. He has a new EP out called "Six Pack" and he'll be next appearing tonight at The Delta Grill in NYC. Please welcome to the Phile... George Kilby Jr.

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

George: Hey, Jason, I am great, but a little worn out. Just back from a run of gigs in the Teton mountains.

Me: Okay, before we start, I want to tell you something. If I was gonna put together a Foghat tribute band, or even if the real Foghat band needed a new singer, you would be my first pick. I love your singing style, and your voice. And like my dad, who was a fan of the blues like you, you'd be perfect. Wait, are you a Foghat fan?

George: Definitely. In the late 70's, what guitar player didn't grow up playing "Slow Ride"?? I actually opened up for Foghat once and it was a real honor. Was in Poughkeepsie NY, in the eighties.

Me: That's cool. George, did you ever meet my dad?

George: If I did, it was only hi/bye at the gig. At that theater, the bands were not able to hang out.

Me: You not only a fan of the blues, but you worked with the late great Pinetop Perkins. When did you first meet Pinetop?

George: I'll never forget the night. '83, maybe '84, at the Stanhope House, in Western NJ. I got up the courage to ask to sit in with the Legendary Blues Band, which was mostly made of the Muddy Waters Band members: Willie, Fuzz, Portnoy, and Pine. After the show, Pinetop took a liking to me, so I guess I played okay that night. He told me that I ever came to Chicago, I could stay at his his house. I don't know if he really meant it, but I showed up in a couple of months. It started a great relationship of over 20 years.

Me: You lived with him for awhile, right? I get you had many great discussions about the blues. Did he tell you some great stories?

George: Yes, great stories, but he never talked about the blues. You see, to those guys, the blues was just their way. It was not some kind of magical, mystical thing. To Pine, playing the blues was just like being a car mechanic, or a plumber, or any other way of making a living. That is just what he did.

Me: He passed away a few years ago. How did you find out he passed? Did you get to go to his funeral?

George: I was a pall bearer, right along side Willie. I was so floored when Willie died the next year. I am speaking of Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, formerly Muddy's drummer. He was Pine's best friend.

Me: You and he made some killer music together, George, you should be proud. Anyway, you also played with another great, Etta James. What was it like working with her?

George: We opened the show for Etta a few times in NYC. She was really sweet and used to call me Alabama because that is where I am from. When I saw her sing, perform, and dance on the stage, (unfortunately she was really big at the time, but lost the weight afterwards), I was completely blown away by her raw power and honesty. Back in the dressing room, I knew the shows took their toll, but on the bandstand, it was pure fire. Unbelievable!

Me: Is there anybody you haven't worked with that you would love to?

George: Lots of folks. Mostly folks that I wish were still here, but are gone. However, the list today would include Tom Waits, John Hiatt, Lyle Lovett, Bonnie Raitt, Phil Lesh, and tons more. I worked with Mose Allison once, but never really got a feel for him personally. I love his music. Would love to do that again.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your great EP "Six Pack". I was gonna ask you where the name of the EP came from, but I'm guessing it's because it has six songs on it, right?

George: There is much more to it than that. The record is a comment on the music business. Today it is no longer a business of albums, it is a business of songs. The record is built like a "variety" or sampler six pack from a brewery that brews lots of different kinds of beer. If you like one beer, from the sampler six pack, you will come back and buy it over and over. The songs on the record are certainly cousins but not brothers. The instrumentation and the vibe is often very different. I feel that I will reach more people if the record is done like this. Some music industry folks may disagree, but mark my words, that will change.

Me: So, if you could have a six pack of any beer, what would it be?

George: I like Brooklyn Beer and Saranac Beer. Both great breweries.

Me: You wrote all the songs, but there's one cover... "Sunshine Of Your Love". I love this countryish version, George. How did you choose this song to do?

George: I was asked by one of the guys who does some management for me to do a cover of a well known tune. As a writer, that irked me a lot because the plan was to only do six tunes. Anyway, the riff is so well known to everyone, so I fooled around with it, messed with the time a little bit, and turned it inside-out so it is almost unrecognizable. But take out a guitar or piano and check it. It is the very same riff.

Me: I interviewed Pete Brown on the Phile a few years ago, George. He would love your version. Anyway, are you a Cream fan, or Clapton?

George: I actually went over to Pete Brown's house one time when I was in London. A great guy. I lost touch with him, but I would love for him to hear the song. We had a mutual friend, so he invited me over, we had tea, listened to music, talked forever. Of course I'm a Clapton fan as are most guitar players. This might surprise you, but I am most impressed with him when he skillfully puts blues and soul into what most people think of as a pop song. Not everyone can do that.

Me: Who did you listen to growing up?

George: A lot of Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Outlaw Country. Singer songwriters too. Jim Croce was a huge influence in that department. Blues of course. Albert Collins and Albert King were amazing. Freddy King too.

Me: You recorded this album with the band The Road Dogs, is that your band?

George: Yep.

Me: Who is in The Road Dogs?

George: Neil Thomas, Arturo Baguer, Eric Halvorson. There are other Road Dogs that played on the record too. These are Brian Shafer and Sam Doyle. They play lots of the gigs in upstate NY when the NYC guys can't make it. I also played lots with the late Mike Dunn, a great bass player from the Woodstock area.

Me: Who else plays on the album with you, George?

George: We had a great cast of characters this trip out. George Breakfast, Andy Goessling, Tim Carbone, Jono Manson, all of who are big in the jam band community. The incredible harp player, Phil Wiggins is a real pleasure to play with.

Me: Your daughter sings on the song "When The People Sang", am I right?

George: Yep, that's Rosie Kilby, age 11, and two of her friends.

Me: Does she want to be a musician or a singer as well?

George: I would hope she has better sense than that, but you never can tell.

Me: Who did the artwork for the cover, George? I noticed on the guitar it says Katy Keen. Is that who did the artwork?

George: Yes, that is my wife Katy Keen, who is a great artist. She makes her living mostly in the textile world creating artwork for beach towels and kids clothes. I am so proud of this cover since it really brought out the concept I explained earlier and did it with a little fun. It was also a stretch for Katy stylistically and she really rose to the challenge.

Me: I need to interview her on the Phile, and show off her artwork in the Phile's art gallery. So, what's next for you? Any new music planned?

George: Always new music planned. I am working with a great female vocalist every once in a while, Becca Frame. We might record some duets together plus some of her new material, which I will produce. Also some tours and festivals in Europe are on the books for the Spring and Summer. Phil Wiggins will be on some of those dates.

Me: I have to ask about the song "Cro-Magnon Man". That song is very tongue in cheek, which I like. What was the inspiration and thought process behind that song?

George: Glad you asked. Even though might seem like a silly folk/pop ditty at first listen, there is a lot there. The song came out of my frustration with the strangle hold that technology has on us. As a musician, I feel that I am often tied to my laptop rather than my guitar. That just ain't right.

Me: You really need to do an EP of Foghat covers. You would rock "Third Time Lucky" and "Stone Blue". Whatcha think?

George: Would be fun. Those are great songs.

Me: Alright, so, on the Phile occasionally I ask random questions. Here is yours, George... Who would you like to trade places with for one month? I would say that bastard that is engaged to Kelly Clarkson. LOL.

George: I'd like to trade places with my son. Then I could see how difficult it is to grow up around me, my music, etc. Maybe after a month, I can learn to be a better dad.

Me: Wow, your answer is deeper than mine. Well done. George, thanks for being on the Phile. Go ahead and mention your website and I wish you lots of success and please come back to the Phile again. I hope this was fun.

George: This was lots of fun, Jason. Great questions, very thought-provoking. That is an important part of the process. Your questions are much more interesting than the usual drivel. My site is I hope we can do this again soon.

Me: No, never. Just kidding. Of course, George. Take care.

There, that about does it for this entry. Thanks to George for a great interview. The Phile will be back tomorrow with singer songwriter Natania. Then on Monday it's Phile Alum Kim Edwards. Well, as I said, last Wednesday was my 25th anniversary working at Disney, so all through the year I will be showing pictures of me through my Disney career... starting today. Anyway, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Strawberry Blondes Forever!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pheaturing Rick Vito

Hello, everybody, welcome to the Phile, and Happy President's Day. Today on the Phile they'll be half off and a sale on mattresses. In England, I don't think they have a Prime Minister's Day. They didn't when I lived there. But did you know in North Korea they have their own President's Day, only they call it Supreme Leader Day and it's actually every day and they're actually required to celebrate it by law? It's true. Here in America, President's Day is actually Washington's Day. Somehow all of the President's got thrown into it. Enjoy a day where we celebrate our greatest leaders by marking down the retail price of our greatest appliances.  I mentioned this yesterday on the Phile, but there was an asteroid that was a giant asteroid hurtling toward Earth and it was 150 miles wide. The nation of Iran has solved the problem. They have launched a monkey into space where it will deflect the asteroid with a coconut.  The song "Gangnam Style" has been named best song for kids to listen to while brushing their teeth. However, it is the worst song to listen to during everything else. Personally, I think most parents would rather have all their kids' teeth fall out than hear that song one more time.  Taylor Swift's ex-boyfriend Connor Kennedy was arrested for handcuffing himself to the White House gate to bring attention to climate change. He's bummed about the arrest, but he's glad to attach himself to something that won't write a song about him.  Scientists have discovered a species of fish that surrounds itself with uglier fish in order to look more attractive. However, scientists could not identify which sorority it belongs to.  A man in Georgia was arrested for stealing a Krispy Kreme doughnut truck and leading police on a high-speed chase. The police charged him with one count of grand theft irony.  The Vatican is still looking for a new Pope. The smart money is on Tim Tebow.  Alright, it's George Washington's Birthday, I think. Anyway, did you ever see that famous picture of George riding the T-Rex? No? Well, it's old.

When Ronald Reagan was President he did a similar thing...

He chose the Raptor apparently. My favorite President's photo is off all the living President's in the Oval Office.

Jimmy Cater apparently has cooties. LOL.  The other day Rihanna and Chris Brown went to the beach, but it didn't end well for her. She didn't even see it coming.

I have to share this, a Phile reader sent me this picture of my dad in Savoy Brown. It's really cool, as I haven't seen many photo's of him, on stage back then.


That's my dad on the far left, with Roger Earl, Phile Alum Kim Simmonds and Tony Stevens.  Well, February is almost over, and so is my campaign to get Kelly Clarkson on the Phile. Here is the campaign poster. We have one week left to reach out to her.

Okay, let's see booked a one-way ticket to Dirt City...

Mindy McCready 
Nov 30, 1975 - Feb 17, 2013
Girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.

I saw this outlandishly, hiliarously stupid and terrible movie with a Dolby ATMOS sound system. It was a booming, crispy, body-vibrating experience, full of explodo-noises that, if I had to spell them, would come out like "thonk," "smush," "flump" and "shrap." They were ugly, tympanic membrane-flogging sounds made by the patron saint of all Ugly Americans, John McClane (Bruce Willis), and they were highly satisfying.  I need to say this again, just to make it clear: this is a stupid and terrible movie. It is a bad example of cinema. It is a bad example of what can happen to a popular franchise, to a leading man, to an up-and-coming leading man, to logic, to intelligence, to plotting, to everything. It is a bad example of everything.  McClane, an indestructible man who has caused many bad guys to die hard over the course of his cantankerous, lone-movie-cop-goes-rogue career, enters Russia with no authority at all and starts destroying stuff. Why? Because to him it's still the Soviet Union, a snowy third world nation that needs him to right wrongs he has no business righting. All those communists or whatever they are now deserve it when he drives his stolen, tank-like, SUV-thing over their cars because he's in pursuit of terrorists who are mixed up in an underdeveloped plot that his CIA spy son (Jai Courtney, who has little to do but give pouty lip and show off the results of his gym membership) is trying to crack. When McClane is finished crushing those Russian cars, he's going to blow up some helicopters and get in the way of his son's operation and complain that the young man doesn't respect him. All those Russians should shut up and quit bugging him while he accomplishes these things, unless they have the courtesy to speak to him in English. Except when they do speak English it annoys him. Shut up, all Russians!  If you've come to see some Die Hard with a lot of Die Hard-level expectations, you're in trouble. It's the worst of the series, one I've loved since 1988 (even Die Hard 2: Die Harder and Die Hard With A Vengeance, against all rational thought). Instead of refining and 2013-ing its approaching, it chooses, instead, to inhabit that weird old space of know-it-all machismo, a paradigm that's been comedically shredded so many times that I wonder if we'll ever get it back. And this installment, in particular, is less a Die Hard film than a generic, extreme-action movie with Willis inserted into the middle. As a next chapter it forgets what book it's in, displaying doofus amnesia regarding McClane's previous displays of wit, the series' stylish monsters and a proper nod to the gravity and possible consequences of our everycop hero's failure to shut them down. It'll need the Skyfall treatment if a sixth film ever materializes.  I still loved all those noises, though. And the explosions. The destruction of property. The gunfire. The way Willis and Courtney jump out of windows with no thought for how or where they'll land (speaking of shredded machismo, watch The Rock and Samuel Jackson cameos in The Other Guys for the definitive film response to this sort of extreme stunt work). These are idiot spectacles I respond to almost all the time. My lizard brain needs that stuff. So when the film delivers those sorts of discrete body blows and boom-boom-boom, it's a blast. If only the people in charge had simply not involved Willis in it, not decided to call it a Die Hard movie, not set up my hopes for something more than gut-level, oomph-ish satisfaction, I wouldn't have felt so empty and disappointed when it was over. But I did. I still do. From 1 to 10, I give it a 4.

Alright, this is cool, kids. Today's guest is the 28th artist to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Art Gallery, but even better he is is a guitarist and singer. He was part of the band Fleetwood Mac between 1987 and 1991, and he was a Silver Bullet. His latest release is "Blue Again: The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band featuring Rick Vito" and "Lucky In Love: The Best of Rick Vito". Please welcome to the Phile... Rick Vito!

Me: Hello, Rick, welcome to the Phile. It's such an honor to have you here. How are you?

Rick: Great, thanks Jason. It's my pleasure.

Me: Not only are you a great guitar player but a great artist as well, so I put your work into the Peverett Phile Art Gallery. We'll talk about your art in a bit, Rick. You must like painting though, right?

Rick: Yes, I've always like to draw and paint. My fooling around drawing guitars has resulted in various designs which led to prototypes, which led to my own signature guitars out through Reverend Guitars. The paintings are abstracts with the guitar as the central theme. Gives you an idea of the same continual boring images that run through my head most of the time ;)

Me: Alright, so, I have to ask, where do you get the most fan interest from, being in Bob Seger's band, Fleetwood Mac or your own solo stuff?

Rick: Most people have heard of me through my association with Fleetwood Mac I think.

Me: You were almost in Foghat, Rick, replacing Rod Price. Unfortunately you didn't get the gig. Anyway, where did you first find out about the auditions?

Rick: I should make it clear that I did get the gig.

Me: What?

Rick: Their manager Tony Outeda offered it to me after flying me back out to play with them on three different occasions, but the money was very low compared to what I was already earning in L.A., and they wanted me to also relocate to New York, which meant that all the session work connections I had cultivated over the years would dry up. I had to turn the offer down and I believe he was incredulous over that.

Me: Did you go to Boogie Motel Studios in Port Jefferson to audition?

Rick: Probably the first time. I also went to Minneapolis and another city where Foghat was playing. 

Me: Where was the first time you met my dad and the band?

Rick: At that first audition at the studio. They seemed weary of trying out guys.

Me: I have a tape of your audition, Rick. I think you guys did "I Just Wanna Make Love To You", "Fool For The City" and of course "Slow Ride". Maybe "Stone Blue". How many songs did you have to learn for the audition?

Rick: Probably six or seven. There was jamming too as I recall.

Me: Do you remember what the experience was like?

Rick: I had just gotten this '56 Les Paul Jr. and that was the guitar I brought with me. This was also the guitar I used years later to play the solo on Seger's "Like A Rock." But I wasn't used to it and felt that I didn't play quite as well on it as I could have with one of my other guitars. I also was not that familiar with Foghat's material and never played it before. I just heard some of it on the radio. At the end of the day I think it went very well though.

Me: I know you are a big fan of the blues, Rick, and my dad was a blues aficionado, did you guys get to talk about the blues?

Rick: Maybe a little, but it wasn't until the last time I went out to play with them that we were all comfortable enough with each other hang out and to talk informally. They must have been trying out quite a few guys for the position, like I said.

Me: You did get the gig, Rick, but you turned it down. I never knew that. Were you disappointed?

Rick: I was disappointed in the offer.

Me: And you weren't that familiar with Foghat's music?

Rick: I was already quite involved in a full-time career in L.A. and I didn't really pay attention to what too many other bands were doing because I was so busy myself and my own projects and work. But I saw that they were a really good band and a nice bunch of guys. Of course we all loved blues music, that was apparent right away.

Me: Alright, if you auditioned for Foghat in the early 80's, were you between bands?

Rick: I actually had a gig with Bonnie Raitt but she was on a hiatus for six months or so. I continued working with her again later. I was working with a lot of great artists at the time.

Me: What music did you listen to growing up, Rick? Before you were into the blues I am guessing you were into other types of music.

Rick: Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis, and a lot of stuff I heard on "Bandstand" every day. Then as a teen on, the Rolling Stones and all the real blues guys like Elmore James, Magic Sam, B.B., Albert and Freddy King, etc. 

Rick: What new bands do you listen to now? What do you think of Jack White?

Me: My taste has gone more eclectic and there are not many bands per se that I listen to. I tend to go backwards and more sophisticated like Django Reinhardt, Dean Martin, Les Paul Trio, Ella Fitzgerald. I also like East Indian and Mid-Eastern World Beat music. Jack White is very creative and we both like to play Supro guitars, ha-ha.

Me: How old were you when you started to play the guitar?

Rick: I think about 8 years old I got a Stella student guitar for Christmas.

Me: You ended up in Bob Seger's band. So, how was that audition?

Rick: No audition. I was called to do an overdub session that turned out to be "Like A Rock," and I nailed it on the first take. That led to doing the rest of the album, plus the tour and a few more records after that.

Me: You played on some of Bob's biggest hits, Rick, that experience must of been pretty cool. Was that the biggest band you were in?

Rick: Jackson Browne was close, but yes, probably. I didn't know how big he was until I went on the tour!

Me: I saw Bob Seger in concert a few years ago at Orlando Calling, Rick. You weren't in his band then, do you think you'll ever play with him again?

Rick: They call me at the start of every tour, then seem to always get someone else. No, I don't think I will because that has happened about four times. Like the title of one of his albums, it's a 'mystery to me.'

Me: LOL. Alright, for years you played with Mick Fleetwood, first with Fleetwood Mac and now in his blues band. When did you first meet him?

Rick: In 1972 when I was on tour with Bobby Whitlock of Derek and the Dominoes in New York City.

Me: Did you ever see the original Fleetwood Mac in concert with Peter Green?

Rick: Yes, two nights in a row at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia. He was the MAN!

Me: When Lindsey Buckingham left Fleetwood Mac you replaced him. Did you have to audition or did Mick just ask you?

Rick: Again, I had done a couple of sessions and jams with Mick and he knew he liked my playing. When Lindsey left he called me and asked me to learn 10 songs and come down to play with the band. At the end of the day I was in Fleetwood Mac!

Me: I have a photo of you in the band here, Rick.

Me: At the time Fleetwood Mac weren't doing to much blues stuff. Was there ever talk of you doing blues material with Mick back then?

Rick: That was my solo part of the show. I played and sang the Peter Green songs and the audience went nuts when we went to that part of the concert.

Me: Rick, you have played on so many albums, I have to ask, which one is your favorite?

Rick: Too hard to answer that one, Jason, but the most satisfaction is doing your own recordings. My solo CDs, "Band Box Boogie," and "Rattlesnake Shake" came out well.

Me: I also have to ask, what was it like working with Stevie Nicks?

Rick: Close to Fleetwood Mac, but I didn't feel as comfortable playing strictly Stevie songs as I did the variation that took place in the Mac.

Me: Okay, let's talk about The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band, and the latest CD and DVD "Blue Again!" Well done on getting your name on the album sleeve. Was that your idea or Mick's?

Rick: I started the band from scratch with Mick and suggested that we form the band in the first place. 

Me: When Mick invited you to be in his new band, playing blues material, and mostly Peter Green stuff I bet you jumped at the chance. Who picked out the songs?

Rick: We do an equal number of my songs with Peter Green songs. That is why it works, because the styles are similar and it all fits together. I pick the songs usually.

Me: Who else is in the band with you guys?

Rick: Two gents from Maui, Lenny Castellanos on bass, and Mark Johnstone on keyboards. Mick lives there and that is where we get together. I've been there countless times since 2006.

Me: The CD "Blue Again!" is a live album, Rick. Are you guys gonna be recording a studio album? 

Rick: We're talking about that right now.

Me: You have lots of good material, how did you choose which ones to do?

Rick: Thank you. It just happens. Mick and I are pretty simpatico, which is why we like working together.

Me: I have to congratulate you on winning a W.C. Handy Blues award. When did you win and did you get a call statue?

Rick: It was in 2005 for a song I wrote called "It's 2 A.M." that was done by Shemekia Copeland. Yes, I got an award statue of sorts onstage in Memphis and made an acceptance speech too.

Me: So, what's your next project you are coming out with?

Rick: I am working on a variety of songs in my studio. Some of it is blues-rock and some of it is more in the exotic, world-beat style.

Me: I have to ask you about the jacket you're wearing on the "Lucky Devils" CD cover.

Me: Man, I love that jacket. Where did you get it and do you still have it?

Rick: Thanks. That comes again from my interest in art and painting. I hand-painted it for fun. Yes, I still have it along with a lot of stage jackets I've designed.

Me: Alright, so, on the Phile this I'm asking random questions, so here's yours... Who do you think is the most important person alive today?

Rick: My wife.

Me: Good answer, Rick. I know you have to go, but I have to say thanks thanks so much for being on the Phile, I hope you'll come back when your next release comes out. Go ahead and plug your website and everything. All the best, and I wish you recorded in Foghat.

Rick: Thanks very much, Jason. My best to you and all the Foghat fans.

There, that about does it for this entry, kids. Thanks to Rick for a great interview. I never did get to ask him about his artwork. Oh, well... next time. Tomorrow I go back to see my surgeon and find out if my arm is screwed up forever, or if I have to have more surgery or a procedure, or what. So wish me luck. The Phile will be back next Saturday with musician George Kilby Jr. Then on Sunday it's singer songwriter Natania and on Monday Phile Alum Kim Edwards. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Strawberry Blondes Forever! I'll leave you with a drawing by Logan.