Monday, January 6, 2014

Pheaturing Phile Alum Kevin Coelho

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile on a Monday. What's up? How are you?  According to somebody who took the time to do the counting and then post the results to Wikipedia, the f-word was uttered 506 times over the 180-minute running time of Martin Scorsese's new film, The Wolf of Wall Street, thus setting a new record for the uses of the profanity in a film, previously held by Spike Lee's Summer of Sam, which used the sexually-charged curse word 435. That's a lot of fucking f-words. Logan and I saw that Catching Fire movie yesterday and there wasn't one f-word in it, but somebody did say shit. Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee accidentally tweeted a mostly-naked picture of quarterback Andrew Luck after their team's narrow 45-44 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. He appears to have been attempting to highlight the infinitely more embarrassing outfit worn by kicker Adam Vinatieri during an interview. Did you see that picture? No? I'll show it to you.

Actor Idris Elba sent the entire online world into multiple rounds of simultaneous orgasms two nights ago after mentioning both his dapper bow tie and his blood-engorged penis in a single tweet, while attaching a photo of himself smiling like someone who just made thousands of people ruin their pants. But he's not the only guy to do that.

God, I hate that guy.  New York state residents may soon be able to continue using marijuana for an array of medical purposes just like they've been doing for years and years. However, it may start costing them a little more for a slightly lower quality product, as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to announce that the state will soon be making it legal.  The Ecuadorian Navy was reportedly called in to rescue Amazon CEO gazillionaire Jeff Bezos from the luxury cruise ship he was vacationing on off of the Galapagos Islands and flew him by helicopter to his private jet so that he could jet across the world and get treated for a kidney stone. Presumably, Bezos' personal fleet of Amazon drones were not quite ready for such an important delivery. BREAKING NEWS: Doctors diagnosing Jeff Bezos's kidney stones used the "Click to LOOK INSIDE!" feature.  A new form of cryptocurrency called Coinye West... much like Bitcoin, but way better for reasons that could probably best be explained in a 27-minute autotuned free form diatribe on late night TV will actually be a real thing in the world staring on January 11. Its creators say it will be a more stable form of currency than Bitcoin and could be used for buying concert tickets or really ugly pocketbooks.  An Alabama couple is facing a lot of online backlash after naming their newly-born son Krimson Tyde, in reference to the University of Alabama's football team, the Crimson Tide. Though, since this is the Internet, most of those people were probably just mad because it was spelled wrong.  Do you like playing video games? My son loves playing that "Halo" game, but I'm not to sure what it's about.

What did he eat? There's a new Spider-Man movie coming out, and I saw a clip from it, and I'm not sure what to think.

So, in my spare time I like to get on Twitter as you know and look up different words. One of those words I look up is Foghat, and recently I saw this Tweet.

Who is this Zombie Cat? Haha. Okay, and now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's...

Top Phive Things Overheard In Line To Buy Pot In Colorado
5. So you're saying this will increase tax revenue and make Phish tolerable? I'm in!
4. Finally, a way to purchase marijuana!
3. I've got a feeling that bakery next door is gonna do allllll right!
2. This is great... if there's one thing stoners love, is waiting patiently in a long line!
And the number one thing overheard in line to buy pot in Colorado...
1. See you guys same time tomorrow?

If you spot the Mindphuck email me at This should be an easy one, kids.

Every second movie in a franchise, the one that ends with a cliffhanger, the one meant to sustain you until the epic finale, the thankless connective tissue, that movie always wants to be The Empire Strikes Back. And almost none of them are. It's hard enough just to sustain momentum in the middle film, much less achieve the rare feat of improving on the first chapter. But Catching Fire is as close to that Empire quality as any franchise sequel in memory. It accomplishes its goals by striking a nervy balance of intelligence and suspense, darkness and depth, blinding white teeth, emetic cocktails and extreme super-wigs.  It begins right where the last film ended. Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), having survived the Hunger Games, are inducted into the evil Capitol's PR machine, sent on a "Victor's Tour" to pacify the growing unrest among the districts and forced to play out a fictional romance for the cameras, even as Katniss conducts a secret love affair with Gale (Liam Hemsworth). And when President Snow (Donald Sutherland) becomes aware that Katniss is a symbol of hope and revolution for the starving people she encounters on tour, he devises a plan to make life extremely difficult for her. The title is its own spoiler: there's more kill-or-be-killed on the menu.  The excellently inventive mechanics of that slaughter-based contest can be left for viewers to discover and enjoy on their own. It's the sideshow that counts here. Characters move into deeper territory, with Lawrence anchoring the action as she lives squarely inside Katniss's post-tramautic stress, building up an internal well of defiance and rage along the way. Cartoonish Capitol figures from the first film turn surprisingly human being-like. Small performances from great character actors like Philip Seymour Hoffman turn the plot upside down.  And then there's fear. It's really the main character, even more so than in the first movie. Director Francis Lawrence (who'll take on the last two films, as well) has overseen the rare tentpole project that can be taken at face value on its own action/adventure/suspense/romance terms, viewed and enjoyed thoughtlessly as an extravagant entertainment, or read as exactly what it is, an uneasy reflection of American economic anxiety as it exists right now. The erosion and dismantling of social safety nets is real, even if stormtroopers aren't penning people into labor camps and murdering dissidents. And this is the pop culture we get as a result.  Hunger Games acknowledges and makes palpable a genuine sense of danger and the film never loses that tension. It knows what really scares us and it knows how to rally the troops at the margins. It's upsetting and inspiring in equal measure. And that's why we root for Katniss (and Lawrence, too, an actress whose off screen comments and behavior have been lovingly adopted by a public that hopes her Not Fake stance in a Hollywood that feels very much like The Capitol is as real as it seems). We want her to save us from the threat, to beat back Wall Street and Walmart and the monster-banks. If she can accomplish that in the next films, then whichever handsome boyfriend she picks, post-revolution, is fine, too. From 1 to 10, I give The Hunger Games: Catching Fire a 9.

The 30th book to be Pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Gary Conness will be a guest on the Phile in a few week's.

Man, could that text on the board be any smaller? Haha. Okay, today's guest is Phile Alum and an amazing Hammond B3 player whose new album "Turn It Up" is available on iTunes. Please welcome back to the Phile... Kevin Coelho!

Me: Hey, Kev, welcome back. How are you?

Kevin: I’m fantastic, thanks for asking.

Me: So, you're still in high school, am I right? What grade are you in now?

Kevin: I’m in college now.

Me: You said the last time you were here you were gonna apply for Stanford University. Is that where you're going to college?

Kevin: Yup. I’m a freshman. And in the Stanford Band in fact. We’re a crazy bunch.

Me: What are you studying?  

Kevin: Currently studying Computer Science.

Me: You don't need an education, Kev, you have talent. You've been playing keyboards since you were a kid, right?

Kevin: Haha... as much as I’d like to believe that that’s true, every musician now and ever knows that having a day job is just generally a good idea. This industry is really a crap shoot so I’m lucky to have the educational opportunities I do. But nonetheless thank you, I’m really flattered. And yes I’ve been playing piano since I was four, picked up the organ at age 12 or so.

Me: Kev, you're from California if I remember... what part?

Kevin: I’m from Los Altos about an hour south of San Francisco. But I’m up there so often you might as well say I live there.

Me: What's the best thing to do there in your town?

Kevin: Hmm. hiking? We have some nice hills.

Me: You are known to play the Hammond B3, but do you play any other instruments as well?

Kevin: Yes I do. I play drums, various keyboards, and if you count the instruments I play badly, alto sax and trombone.

Me: You had a band last time you were here called The Groove Messengers. Are they still your band?

Kevin: Unfortunately not, but I do have a couple new projects that I’ve since picked up. I currently manage and promote a band called the St. Valentinez and it’s a great project. We’re actually currently doing a Kickstarter to fund our debut album.

Me: Who is in St. Valentinez then, Kev?

Kevin: The St. Valentinez is composed of me, Alex Szotak, Lyman Alexander, Will Randolph, Francesca Simone, Elise Go, Jackson Clawson, Carlos Castellblanch, and De’Andre Wright.

Me: So, did you teach yourself to play keys or did you take lessons?

Kevin: I took lots of lessons. I’m very grateful for my amazing teachers including Randy Masters, Ric Louchard, Brenda Tom, Peter Horvath, Murray Low, Tony Monaco, Wil Blades.

Me: I am guessing you practice everyday, but with school and everything you probably don't, am I right?

Kevin: Depends on the week. I definitely try to and most weeks I’m successful. Midterms make it rough sometimes.

Me: Last time you were here I asked what you thought of Steve Nieve and Mike Finnigan's playing and you said you never heard of them. Did you look into them? Whatcha think?

Kevin: Both are great players in their own right. Probably the reason I hadn’t heard of them before is I’d just gotten through all the classic soul jazz players and hadn’t really gotten into the larger world of organ, which includes rock, blues and many other genres.

Me: Any other Hammond players currently recording you into? Steven Large?

Kevin: Currently I’ve been listening to a lot of Dr. Lonnie Smith... classic sound. But also I’ve been listening to keyboard players in general, not just organ. I’m a big fan of Doobie Powell, Neal Evans, and Robert Glasper. I’ve been seriously shedding my keyboard and piano chops lately so while organ will always be my home and soul, I’ve been branching out a lot in what I’m listening to and what I’m playing.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your new album "Turn It Up". For some reason I enjoyed this album better than your last album "Funkengruven", and I really liked "Funkengruven." How long did it take you to record this album?

Kevin: It took two sessions, both about a day of recording each plus some rehearsal time. I’m glad you like the album. I liked it better than "Funkengruven" too, as much as I love the tunes on the first album.

Me: There's a mix of cover and original's on it again, right?

Kevin: That’s right. My next project is going to be all originals. But I still like doing covers... they remind people about how music is an art passed from person to person, and everyone’s got a different idea about how to approach a song.

Me: You have a song on the new album called "Soft and Wet"... Do I dare ask what that song is about?

Kevin: It’s a Prince song. I’ll let you fill in the gaps. There’s words to it you know.

Me: I love your version of The Beatles song "Come Together." How did you choose that particular song?

Kevin: "Come Together" has always been one of my favorites. I didn’t always listen to jazz, in fact I started with 60s R&B and rock. Beatles were one of my favorite bands, and I figured why not? It’s a song people recognize, and it reminds me of my childhood sitting on the couch just listening to old records. And yes, I do have vinyl records and a record player.

Me: I wonder what McCartney would think if he heard it. You should send him a copy. Anyway, is "Come Together" your favorite Beatles song?

Kevin: Maybe I will send him a copy, what’s the worst that could happen? "Come Together" is definitely up there. I like the whole "Sgt. Pepper" album, and the Beatles have way too many songs for me to choose a favorite.

Me: Another song on the album is "When Johnny Comes Marching Home." Who is Johnny? Did you write that song?

Kevin: I did not write that song. I don’t think anyone knows who wrote it, it’s actually a Civil War marching tune that was popularized by organ players in the 50s and 60s. The song is about “Johnny”, who symbolizes a young man coming back from war. If you YouTube the original tune, you’ll get renditions by military marching bands playing it. The organ versions were all swung, so I decided to change it up and do a funk version.

Me: You don't sing, I know, Kev, but did you ever think of hiring a vocalist?

Kevin: In fact, my band St. Valentinez has two amazing vocalists who I have absolute respect for. The new projects I’m working on will likely have heavy vocal involvement. Vocals always add a nice depth to the music that instrumentals don’t always cover. I’m also trying to work on singing. It’s a slow process... haha. I’ve graduated from shower singing to singing by myself in the room. It’ll be a while before anyone gets to hear it besides when I’m doing it badly to loud music in the car.

Me: So, in school, do you get a lot of girls wanting to get to know you as you are a musician?

Kevin: Not really, not any more than anybody else I don’t think. That’s kind of an anti-climactic answer I know... haha. Bars are fun to play. I’ll leave it at that.

Me: Speaking of girls, I have to ask someone your age what they think of Miley Cyrus. Do you think she's attractive?

Kevin: I think Miley Cyrus would be attractive if she stopped trying so hard to get attention for the wrong things. But I’ve never been keen on celebrity gossip. I don’t really pay attention to her.

Me: I wish I knew a girl like that when I was in school... she smokes pot, has tattoos, and dresses hot. Haha. Okay, never mind... Kev, now you had two albums out, what's next for you?

Kevin: The next project is going to be something completely different. And by completely I do really mean completely. Right now I’m massively expanding my music vocabulary, my chops, and my repertoire. With my next project I’m really going to be breaking out of the jazz idiom. The next step for me is in a different direction from soul jazz. I’ve done the Hammond B3 thing for a few years now, and I will always respect and honor the long tradition of organ players. But I want to put the organ in a different context now. And I’m going to combine it and mix it with keyboards, synths, vocals, even some electronic sounds. The horizon is limitless. I know generally what I’d like to do, but I haven’t found the musicians or the resources to do it yet. I’ll get there eventually and once I find the right people and the right sound it’s going to be big. The St. Valentinez has played a huge role in my development. They’re some of the most bright and talented musicians I’ve ever met and I’m honored to be a part of the group. Ultimately I’d like to lead my own group, but I’ll always be a part of St. Valentinez.

Me: Are you already picking songs out for a third album?

Kevin: Not yet. I’ve written a lot of originals this summer that might go out as singles, but I’m still developing my third album concept.

Me: I have my own musical project called Strawberry Blondes Forever... so, if you want to cover any of my songs. Are their any songs you're thinking of covering now?

Kevin: Not really. My next album is going to be all originals.

Me: Damn. Haha. Okay, this year I am asking random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Are you ready? Shit, this one is not good, but I'll ask it anyway... Which three political issues are the most important to you?

Kevin: Glad you asked! I’m concerned about the debt crisis, Obamacare, and the continuing partisan radicalization of Congress. I could explain more about each issue but then again, isn’t this a jazz interview?

Me: I think it is. Who knows what kinda interviews I do? Kev, thanks for coming back on the Phile. Good luck with Stanford. Please come back when your next CD comes out. Wanna plug your website?

Kevin: I’d love to plug a couple of my websites. The site is totally functional and ready to go so you can visit it right now if you want! The other site I’d like to plug is It’s an absolutely fantastic project, and our Kickstarter has 3 days left to reach our goal. I love those guys and they’re a big part of my music right now.

Me: Kev, thanks again, and take care.

Kevin: Thank you! It’s my pleasure.

Me: Kevin Coelho, kids. His new CD "Turn It Up" is on iTunes right now.

Alright, that about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Kevin for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Saturday with The Peverett Phile 8th Anniversary and then on Sunday with model and cosplayer Katybear. So, 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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