Thursday, August 28, 2014
Pheaturing Phile Alum Lee Negin
Hi there, welcome to the Peverett Phile Challenge. Haha. The Phile Challenge is to see if you can sit and red this thing in one sitting. Let's start with some news about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. You may think that you're doing good for the world by dumping a bucket of ice water on your head and uploading a video of it to YouTube. However, the Cincinnati Archdiocese has pointed out that if your trendy viral video inspires people to donate money to the ALS Association, then they are unwittingly supporting research via stem cells. And, as the life of a poor, innocent stem cell is roughly equivalent to that of a person with Lou Gehrig's Disease, this may cause a moral conundrum. Speaking of the IBC, as the kids are calling it, did you see there's now an Ice Bucket Challenge Halloween Costume, presumably to raise awareness about ruthless capitalism? It's real, look.
You need to jump on this fantastic opportunity to buy an Ice Bucket Challenge costume for Halloween. Not to mention all the many Halloweens to come. You'll be getting a lot of use out of this purchase. I guarantee it. Just think about what you're getting for your $39.99. You're getting a plastic bucket. That's gotta be worth $27 dollars right there. And then there's the body-length mesh fabric cascade. I defy you to go to the hobby shop and come back with that much mesh fabric for less than $34 dollars. And that's not even considering the fake ice cubes. Can we even put a price on those fake ice cubes? I can't. And ten of the dollars you're spending is going toward whatever charity this Ice Bucket thing is supporting. Look, just take my advice and go buy this costume now! Just think about how popular this Internet trend will be by the time Halloween rolls around! If we've got movie stars and former presidents participating in it now, just think how huge this will be in two months! We'll probably have Bigfoots and space aliens dumping water on their heads. It's gonna be so L33T! Did ou guys see The Emmys the other night? I didn't. But apparently several shows that were not AMC's "Breaking Bad"... including "Game of Thones", "Sherlock" and "True Detective" were able to collect a small number of awards at this years Emmys ceremony. "Breaking Bad" just won enough Emmys to qualify for a presidential bid. Officials at NASA are denying that an object photographed by the Mars Rover is, in fact, the thigh bone of some sort of possibly intelligent, potentially malicious Martian creature. What appears to be definitive proof of a race of alien beings that may one day invade our planet and enslave the human race is actually just a rock, they would have us believe. The truth is out there, people! Did you see the picture of this thing?
Stupid scientists. If you want to find an alien thigh bone you check Ebay & Craigslist, not Mars. According to the findings of a new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute, three-fourths of all white people have zero black friends. And, while an average white person with 100 friends in total typically has just one black friend, a black person with 100 friends has eight white friends. "I have a lot of black friends!" said the white guy with one black friend. According to a new study, couples in which one or both parties regularly smoke pot together report fewer incidences of domestic violence. Though this is likely attributable to the mellowing effects of marijuana, it could also be that they were too lazy to pick up the phone. If marijuana made you violent and aggressive then the murder rate in California would be holding steady at 10,000%. So, most kids in America are starting to go back to school... kids in Florida are all back to school. There's some great Back to School Sales going on if you didn't know. Check it out.
Free? Why are those kids so bloody spoiled? I mentioned the Ice Bucket Challenge... well, everyone is doing to, even Superman. Here's a screen shot of his YouTube video.
Some of you might know by now that when I'm bored I look up certain words on Twitter to see what people are talking about. One of those words I look up is Foghat. I found this Tweet recently...
I have know idea what Juicy J is. I'll look that up later. I have to mention this, last Friday I interviewed a gentlemen named Michael Mantlo, who is the brother of Bill Mantlo who co-created Rocket Raccoon. We spent the whole interview talking about Guardians of the Galaxy, which is number one on the box office again, and Bill's career. We didn't talk about Michael's life at all. Well, Michael commented afterwards he is is a big Graham Parker fan like myself, and liked how I put a quote of a GP song at the end of each entry. It turns out that Michael helped produce the Don't Ask Me Questions GP documentary film. Here's a picture of Michael, Graham and Michael's wife Liz at the screening.
Damn it, man, I am jealous. And now for some sad news...
August 29th, 1923 — August 24th, 2014
Great funeral. Spared no expense.
This is a hard one. If you can spot the Mindphuck email me at thepeverettphile.blogspot.com. Last week on the Phile our good friend Laird Jim talked about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, and some people didn't like what he had to say. So, I invited him back for a rebuttal. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man... you know what time it is.
I give up... I mean it... I really give up. Earlier in the week I railed against the Ice Water Challenge. It would seem that it raised nearly 70 million vs. LAST year's 4 million for ALS research. I will say AGAIN that I was not speaking ill of those who do it because they're trying to help. I smacked those who don't care, don't even KNOW that ALS is Lou Gehrig's Disease. The ones who just wanted a new selfie and nothing more. I also feel that dumping a bucket of fresh, drinkable, ice water on the ground when there are parts of the world where people would kill one another for that same bucket of ice water is just STUPID. But hey... guess I'm an idiot. I feel very bad for the nine year old girl who accidently shot and killed the man who was teaching her how to shoot an Uzi machine gun in New Jersey. First reason is because she'll have to live with that for the rest of her life... Secondly, because she'll also have to live with the fact that... HER PARENTS ARE FUCKING MORONS FOR TAKING HER TO A PLACE CALLED BURGERS & BULLETS! What the fuck ? Is this place Chuck E. Cheese for the NRA crowd?
New Jersey? I thought it was Nevada... never mind, Laird, you do have a point. Oh, I found out who Juicy J is... he's a rapper. Okay, the 33rd book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...
Lonnie Burr will be a guest on the Phile tomorrow. That's pretty cool, right?
Today's pheatured guest is a Phile Alum whose new album “The Cheeze Chronicles: Volume V” is now available on iTunes. Please welcome back to the Phile... Lee Negin.
Me: Lee! Welcome back to the Phile. It's been awhile, I don't remember the last time you were here, do you?
Lee: Thank you for having me back. The last time I was here is now! Actually, it’s somewhat of a blur.
Me: How have you been?
Lee: Trying to surf the ceaseless waves… at times getting pulled under, and at times able to ‘hang ten’ and enjoy the ride. I hope you’ve been well, old friend.
Me: I am. Are you still living in Seoul? How long have you been living there now?
Lee: Yes, I’ve been in South Korea for eight years now, seven of them in Seoul.
Me: You are a professor at a University, right? Remind us what you teach.
Lee: Yes, I am. I teach nothing of consequence.
Me: Okay... Don't you miss America?
Lee: Yes, I am Miss America! I didn’t fare well in the swimsuit competition (my bikini wax missed a few stray clumps), but my patriotic baton-twirling routine in the talent show, with live AK-47s while rapping about our God-given right to bare arms was a real crowd pleaser! I received a sitting ovation (standing ovations have been banned due to the health hazards of so many ‘weight-challenged’ people straining themselves and cellulite tsunami precautions), with many people firing their weapons in the air in appreciation, chanting “USA, USA, USA.” With my scholarship money I plan to attend Thelma Lou’s Cosmetology and Liposculpture Academy in Texas... the M.I.T. of beauty schools to major in Nail Art and minor in Bible Studies. Of course, I want to be a positive role model for American youth, like Miley and Justin Beaver.
Me: Good luck with that... haha. If I remember correctly you are from San Francisco originally. Am I correct?
Lee: S.F. was the last place I lived before leaving the USA (Marin County, to be exact). “Originally” I grew up in the mid-waste.
Me: Your specialty or the kind of music you make is techno, and your newest album "The Cheeze Chronicles, Volume V" has been labeled Technopera. Who called it that?
Lee: Actually, I wouldn’t say and never said that. I am a composer/musician. “Techno” is one type of music I create... and what that term has come to mean has little connection to what I create. My work includes electronica-techno-psychedelic-experimental-ambient-Western Classical-jazz-world-funk-musique concrète-rock-pop-‘acousto-electric,’ etc., often in the same track. I don’t want to be pigeonholed (sounds like avian bestiality).
Me: So, what does Technopera mean?
Lee: Technopera is the label I affixed to my new album. It is an opera in the sense that there is a libretto (a story), with characters, etc. Techno because I used synthesizers, samplers, processors and computers (technology) and some of the tracks hearken back to the music I made in the 1980s (techno... techno-funk, techno-pop) and have continued to make.
Me: Okay, so the new album is an opera... what is the story behind it, Lee?
Lee: It is one opera in an epic cycle of Technoperas... patterned after Wagner’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen” (‘The Ring Cycle’). “Volume V” is the latest installment, however the story arc does not follow or exist in linear time or a historical perspective.
Me: I am glad it's all about Cheeze. Explain to the readers who Cheeze is.
Lee: Cheeze is a recurring character in my work, since returning to recording and releasing music four years ago. Cheeze was a jazz trumpet player from the American Midwest who found himself playing in an American jazz club in Shanghai in the late 1930s. It was there that he met his consort, the Chinese singer Wei Lei. In his late teens, he was exposed to THC, and this significantly altered his view of reality. After a set one night, Cheeze and Wei Lei retired to an alley behind the club to have a bit of reefer and exchange bodily fluids, when a UFO appeared and abducted them. After the aliens performed several examinations, they inserted anal probes into the pair and turned them into avatars, sending them out into the galaxy to gather and transmit information with a focus on planet Earth.
Me: We never see him, so do you have an idea on what he looks like?
Lee: Actually, his likeness can be seen in some of my videos and on the new album cover. In particular, a teenaged Cheeze can be seen in the documentary videos “Cheeze Takes Off” youtu.be/GafYnLH9gTs?list=UUOG_a3UIDS0EDN-8buHQ48A and “Cheeze Turns On” youtu.be/tkDovC2XyLo.
Me: Oh, that's Cheeze. I have a screen shot of one of those videos here.
Lee: He will also appear in a new video I am releasing soon from a track from the new album called "Loan Me a Paradigm.."
Me: Have you been planning this opera for a long time, Lee?
Lee: A few years. I actually wrote a 2-CD opera a couple of years ago, but lost interest (long story). Many of the tracks from the opera appeared on subsequent albums, like “The Lunar Collection”, “Technodelic Transmissions”, etc.
Me: Some of your stuff has lyrics... do you one up with the lyrics first or the music?
Lee: Always music first.
Me: Did you do everything on "The Cheeze Chronicles, Volume V" by yourself?
Lee: Yes, I wrote, played, produced and mixed it all. The only steps I farmed out this time were mastering and cover art. I was fortunate to obtain the services of Pete Maher, one of the leading mastering engineers in the world, based in London. Pete has mastered Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, U2, Patti Smith, etc. so this was quite a coup for me. The album’s sonics are great. Too bad most will miss that... listening with earbuds on MP3 players. Progress. The other aspect I had help with was the cover and disc art. I worked with a very cool young Korean artist here in Seoul, Juyong Lee. He did an outstanding job of realizing my concepts!
Me: Okay, V means five in Roman numerals, right? Was there a 1 through 4 Cheeze Chronicles? Why did you go straight to five?
Lee: Linear time has no relevance in the Cheeze universe.
Me: I watched some of your videos on YouTube and in the video for the song "(Let's Join) The Twit Parade" there's a group of woman marching.
Me: What army is this?
Lee: Primarily North Korean. Nothing like women in uniforms carrying weapons to get the juices flowing, eh!
Me: So, what is the twit parade?
Lee: A parade of twits! Mindless people marching lockstep in obeisance to the military-industrial masters. Also a play on the old hit parade shows and movie shorts.
Me: Another video for the song "Just Sayin'" has a warning before it plays... is that because it features the pope?
Lee: The warning is from YouTube. I chose to rate this video, as well as “Twit Parade” as containing adult content. Two of my videos were removed by YouTube in the past, and I wanted to prevent that from happening again.
Me: I take it you're not Catholic then? Haha.
Me: Lee, there's tons of videos you have done on YouTube. How many have you made?
Lee: In the past four years I have released/been involved with over 30 videos. I have released two from the new album already, with a few more pending. I released two new videos... One is “Loan Me a Paradigm” and the other,“The Cheeze Spreadz.” Both can be seen at youtube.com/user/passingphasemusic.
Me: Why were the other ones pulled from YouTube? Nudity?
Lee: Funny. There is literally porn on YouTube and graphically violent, salacious and misogynist videos are the norm for some music genres, but the brain-police at YouTube (Google) deemed two of my videos unsuitable and removed them for briefly showing a woman’s breasts in one, or some vintage burlesque show dancing in the other. What bizarre, arbitrary morality. The videos can be seen on Vimeo and other sites. I’ll let your readers be the judge: “Virtual Realty” vimeo.com/54337298 “From Whence it Came” vimeo.com/55079362.
Me: You were once part of something called Detroit Techno... what was that and how is Detroit techno different from say, Orlando techno?
Lee: Back in the early 1980s, I was living near Detroit and releasing my first solo records. I was an early adopter of synthesizers... starting in the late 70s and was fortunate enough to have some very cool gear. Back then, synth gear was very expensive, which I used in my compositions and recordings... and I knew how to use modular gear requiring sounds to be made from scratch... no loops and no presets, which required knowledge of waveforms, filters, etc. Detroit was already a major center for rock and funk, and when synths were introduced into the mix, techno was born grossly oversimplified. I used to do a lot of work in a great recording studio near Detroit, and occasionally I did some session work, synthesizer programming, producing and playing with some local bands. Some broke out and got major label deals. One band I became friendly with was called Cybotron, which featured Juan Atkins, people call him the godfather of Detroit Techno and Richard Davis. Rick and I became great friends and mutual admirers, and used to talk a lot about making a band together, fusing rock and techno... Jimi Hendrix meets Kraftwerk was our basic premise. We (Rick and I) collaborated on some tracks. With his advance from Cybotron’s major-label record deal, he built an 8-track Tascam reel to reel studio in his basement and he invited me to join the band as the touring drummer, on synth drums... Simmons, which were the state-of-the-art then. However, the band was screwed by the label (Fantasy, who screwed everyone) and Juan and Rick fell-out over the direction of the band. Rick wanted to go more in the rock direction, adding a guitar player, etc. and I think Juan didn’t care for that idea. The band broke up before I joined, but my solo career continued. There was a highly influential Detroit radio DJ at the time called The Electrifyin’ Mojo... I seem to recall whose playlists crossed genres and introduced a generation of Detroit kids to European synth music (Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Krautrock, etc.). George Clinton and his crowd were around and about in Detroit at that time, too. Difference between Detroit Techno and Orlando Techno? Detroit: Rust belt, factories, assembly lines, industrial hub, metal, center of the automobile industry, blue-collar, steel, engines, motors, iron, smoke stacks, long cold-harsh winters, Motown, MC5, Iggy and The Stooges. Orlando: Disney, KC and the Sunshine Band, Beach Blanket Bingo.
Me: Are you into any other kinds of genres?
Lee: Many. If you listen to my work, you can hear the answer. Some of my music I like to call Technodelic, as it fuses techno and psychedelic... music from the late-1960s and 1980s, two of my favorite periods for pop music. I am a trained classical musician, starting formal trumpet lessons at about age 7, and studying music theory, percussion and trumpet with members of the Cleveland Orchestra. My mother was a pianist and I grew up with a grand piano in my living room... great fun to bang on as a toddler. My first forays into prepared piano pieces. I have played jazz, went to Berklee College of Music 3 different times... when it was a jazz school... the first time when I was 15 years old. I studied drums there with Alan Dawson, rock of course... I started my first band at age 12, and by high school was playing on weekends in bars and clubs, blues, fusion, etc. I studied tabla drums in India with a music master from AIR (All India Radio). I lived in India three times. I have many influences: music, visual arts, architecture, philosophy, traditional Japanese/Chinese arts... I lived in Japan for fifteen years and have traveled around mainland China two times, as well as hanging out in Hong Kong, Singapore and my almost daily Buddhist vegetarian lunches in San Francisco’s Chinatown when I lived there... drama, literature, martial arts, tea ceremony, flower arranging, Taoism, Zen, etc. And, of course, to paraphrase Shakespeare, the art that is above all others: Nature. I have been in about 45 countries and been an expatriate for over two decades… so, my influences and creations have many elements and my work has a wide-range of instrumentation from many cultures.
Me: I know you play keyboards, Lee, as a lot of your music is done with keyboards, but do you play any other instruments? I believe you play guitar, and drums?
Lee: I play percussion, brass instruments, keyboards, guitars, bass guitars, synthesizers and whatever I can get my hands on.
Me: You have your own home studio... do you rent it out, or are you always in there?
Lee: It’s my man cave. Basically, I live in it... literally.
Me: Apart from the latest album since you were here last you had a few other releases... how many and what were they?
Lee: Hard to say, since we don’t remember the last time we chatted! Since returning to making music four years ago, I have released eight full albums, some EPs, several singles, as well as appearing on some international compilations and the afore mentioned videos. Last week I re-released an old album, “Balance” in honor of its 20th anniversary... original release 1994. I remastered it for the occasion. For a complete discography go to leenegin.com.
Me: I am sorry you weren't on the Phile with these, Lee, did you miss being here?
Lee: Of course. I thought thou had forsaken me!
Me: No way, just lost touch. So, are you working on anything now?
Lee: I am working on a new album, possibly to be released in December or early next year. I have several projects-ideas in the planning stage, rolling around between my ears, and I am now researching the gear I’ll need to embark on a solo tour next year in Europe... quite an undertaking.
Me: Yeah, that would be. Alright, on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. This is new for you I think... This is good. what's the one thing you've done that you'd like to erase?
Lee: A bit of a twist... I didn’t do it, more like it was done to me, but I’d like to erase my socialization or enculturation. The brainwashing that made me lose my childlike consciousness, equipoise and bliss, and start to label things and see myself as separate and apart from the universe, subject to death. Losing the natural state of being here in the moment, with no fear or neurosis. Why we choose to perpetuate the madness is an interesting question. For more on this, check out my new CD, “The Cheeze Chronicles: Volume V”.
Me: Lee, go ahead and mention your websites and please come back soon. I hope there won't be as big as a gap next time. Oh, I forgot to say congrats... your music is number one experimental/electronic music in Korea, or something like that, am I right?
Lee: Considering I’m the only experimental/electronic musician in Korea, well…You are referring to reverbnation.com/leenegin, passingphasemusic.com, facebook.com/LeeNegin1, cdbaby.com/Artist/LeeNegin, youtube.com/user/passingphasemusic, twitter.com/umeboshiroshi. My material is available at iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, etc. It’s also available at the streaming sites, but I make almost nothing from streaming... appallingly low amount. Better than illegal downloading, but only a bit.
Me: Man, that sucks, Lee.
Lee: I’d feel better if some people would buy a CD or two. Being number 1 does not pay for my tofu.
Me: I take it you are number one in South Korea...
Lee: Actually my music is in heavy rotation on Kim Jong Un’s iPod and he makes all of his comrades listen to my work daily to keep them in line. Dennis Rodman told me about this.
Me: Haha. Lee, thanks again, and take care.
Lee: My pleasure, sir. Stay in touch!
There you go, that about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Laird Jim and of course Lee Negin. The Phil will be back tomorrow with original Mousekeeter and author Lonnie Burr. So, spread the word, no the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.
Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker.