Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pheaturing Everett Young From Kicklighter

Hey there, welcome to another entry of the Phile, kids, how are you? So, I'm a geek, right? we know that, so let's start off with some marvelous geek news...  After weeks of speculation of who would be playing Marvel's cosmic magician Doctor Strange in an upcoming film adaptation, it now appears as though Disney has settled on obscure British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, whom audiences will remember from his recent roles as a slaveowner in 12 Years a Slave and as that one guy from Atonement. At first I didn't like this idea of Cumberbatch getting cast, but then I thought I was getting concerned I would not see Benedict Cumberbatch in any television, movies, books or music on July 8, 2016. Whew!  After six years, and more than a dozen films released and announced, Marvel Studios has finally decided that its audience... which is predominantly made up of people who are not white males (and that's not even considering its international audience) is finally ready to see a movie or two about some characters who are not white males. So, included in its information dump the other day are two upcoming films that aim to shake things up... Black Panther, about a black male superhero, and Captain Marvel, about a white female superhero. Marvel should have trolled everyone for a day and announced the Black Panther was gonna be played by Johnny Depp.  Pope Francis caused some controversy yesterday when he announced to an audience at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences that he believes that both the evolutionary and the Big Bang theories are based in fact, saying that God is not “a magician with a magic wand." This is probably the most compelling evidence against those theories that the scientific world has seen thus far. Mad shout outs to the Pope for admitting evolution is real, the Big Bang theory is right, and Biggie and Tupac are still alive. Former partial-term Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, clearly aware that the world had momentarily turned its gaze away from her as it prepared itself for the impending midterm elections next week... told NBC News that she will "hopefully" be running for office again in the near future, with the ostensible purpose of annoying her "haters." Moments later, haters everywhere unanimously threw up their arms in celebration. She still knows how to give the people what they want. Sarah Palin says she's hoping to run for office again. What for? President of Redneck Reality Shows?  After several decades of bitter antagonism, officials from North Korea are finally agreeing to sit down with counterparts from Japan to discuss the fates of all the Japanese citizens that they always pretended not to have kidnapped back in the 1970s and 1980s. While Japan has accused its neighbor of abducting hundreds of Japanese citizens, North Korea disagrees, admitting to a much more reasonable 13 people. By he way, North Korea has banned foreign tourists because of Ebola. Kim Jong-un wants everyone to stay healthy and alive. So he can execute them. Speaking of Kim Jong-un, have you seen him lately? He looks a little bit different...

Haha. That's scary.  Pop singer Taylor Swift is set to make music history by becoming the first musician to sell one million copies within the first week of her new album's release for three consecutive albums. Her new album, "1989", appears on track to match her previous two, "Speak Now" and "Red" in sales as well as vapidity. Taylor is really popular, and Disney has decided to re-release all it's classic animated movies replacing the princesses with Taylor Swift. I mentioned this last week, well, here is another preview.

She looks happy with Aladdin, doesn't she?  Did you know the Chinese love America, and will do anything to copy you guys. Check this out.

Haha. That cracked me up.  So, with everyone talking about Ebola, some TV networks are about to cash in with Ebola themed TV shows. Here's the latest...

I still have not seen "The Walking Dead", the real show, and this season everybody is telling me I need to start watching. Maybe I will soon...  Halloween is tomorrow and if you need an costume ideas check out these ones...

Oh, yeah. You're welcome, fellas. If I was Jim Henson that's what the Muppets would look like.  Okay, it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month and all through October I have been showing you some
amazing cancer survivors who chose body art instead of reconstructive surgery. Here's the latest one...

She's beautiful, isn't she?  I just mentioned tomorrow is Halloween and you still might be trying to figure out what you are gonna dress as. Here's a costume I don't recommend...

Every parent's dream is for their little girl to be part of a harem. Okay, and now from the home office in Port Jefferson, here is this week's...

Top Phive Things Overheard At Tuesday's Rocket Explosion
5. Dammit, I TOLD you this would happen if you ran the launch sequence and the hair dryer at the same time!
4. No worries... NASA has also outsourced the cleanup!
3. I hope the adorable puppy that jumped on at the last minute is okay!
2. I'm sure the people on the International Space Station won't become so desperate for food and supplies that they end up eating the weakest among them!
And the number one thing heard at the rocket explosion...
1. Insurance will probably total the thing.

Haha. This is a real easy one. And it's a real screen shot as well. Before we move on I need to mention something... you know I have a music project called Strawberry Blondes Forever, right? Well, we just released our Christmas single called "Christmas On My Mind" and it's available on Bandcamp and iTunes. Check out the awesome artwork I did...

Go to  and check it out. Alright, it's Thursday, kid's. So, it's time to talk football with my good friend Jeff Trelewicz...

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

Jeff: It's always good to be back on the Phile. I'm doing okay, hope you are doing well.

Me: I'm doing pretty good. So, tomorrow is Halloween, are you dressing up this year? Jeff, I remember you always had good ideas for costumes. Weren't you John Travolta one year? Do you have a picture of that?

Jeff: No, I don't think there will be any dressing up this year. There is a picture of me however it was late in the night and the wig had come off and placed back on at the wrong angle. I am compiling pictures of all my Halloween costumes though so there is a chance it could be seen again.

Me: Cool. I haven't dressed up since the early 90s when I was Frankenstein Sinatra. Okay, football talk... the only story I can think of is Peyton Manning getting mad at the scorekeeper or somebody. What was that story, Jeff? Do you know what I'm talking about?

Jeff: Peyton Manning felt that the scorekeeper was disrespecting the other team with the images they were showing on the scoreboard. I don't know if I agree with him, but again I didn't see it when it happened.

Me: Neither did I but I saw his press conference and he was pissed. Any other stories that happened this week?

Jeff: Nothing too big happened this week. There was some really good games this week that went down to the last few plays. More injuries to players as well. It has been a bad year for injuries. At least two players have had season ending injuries while celebrating a sack of the opposing quarterback, which I just think is as dumb as you can get.

Me: Alright, so how did we do with the last picks?

Jeff: It was a mixed bag for us last week. You, Jason, went 2-0. I went 1-1 and Lori went 0-2. The Eagles lost a nail biter to Arizona, the Giants were off and the Steelers beat the Colts so I earned a point for that. As it stands I am still in front by a score of 27-23-17.

Me: I'm catching up to you though. Haha. Let's do this week's picks then I have to ask you something about the rest of the season. I say the Bengals will beat the Jags by 7 and the second pick is a toss up... either 49ers by 10 or Seahawks beat the Raiders by 13. Hmmmm. I say 49ers by 10. What do you kid's say?

Jeff: My picks are New Orleans by 3 and Chiefs by 7. Lori picks Chargers by 3, Seahawks by 5

Me: Alright, so, here is the question... starting this Sunday the Phile will move from Thursday and Friday to Sunday and Monday, so what day do you think we should do Phootball Talk?

Jeff: As far as moving Phootball Talk, that's entirely up to you. This is yours. Keep in mind though it does limit us from picking a game a week since there is a Thursday night game (and on Thanksgiving, three games) every week. But that is your call.

Me: Hmmmm. Good point. Okay, for the rest of the season I will post another entry on Thursday's. So, I will see you back here next Thursday. Have a good weekend and a safe Halloween.

Jeff: See you next week.

The 28th artist to be pheatured in the Phile's Art Gallery is Al Abbazia and this is one of his pieces...

Al will be a guest on the Phile on Sunday.

Today's pheaured guest is a singer-songwriter whose project Kicklighter has a new album called "The Fascinating Thinking Machine" that is now available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Everett Young.

Me: Hey, Everett, welcome to the Phile, man. How are you?

Everett: I’m hanging in there, man. I got two small children... 4 and 7. So I might be a wee bit worn out. But I’m living the musical life, so let me stop complaining right there.

Me: Your first name rhymes with my last name. Crazy. Haha. Everett is an unusual first name, were you named after someone?

Everett: My grandfather’s middle name. Can I tell you that I hate my name? People tell me it’s cool, but my wife is real with me about it. She doesn’t like it either! I wish my name were cooler, but it’s my name, and I don’t think I’m going to change it. When I was a kid, I used to hate it when people would call me Ev, but I like that now. I think it’s snazzier than Everett.

Me: I love it when people call me Pev. Your last name is ironic, because didn't you start playing piano when you were four?

Everett: My mom got me a little batter operated keyboard around that age, yeah. Maybe even a little before then. They realized I had a special ear for harmony within just a few days or weeks, apparently. I still have a memory of coming home from the church we were going to and playing a major third interval, and saying, “Mama, I heard this at church today.” I can still hear it in my head. Probably three years old, and I remember it was a major third.

Me: How old were you when you started songwriting and realized you wanted to be a professional musician, Everett?

Everett: I’ve realized that I want to be a professional musician several times in my life, then pronounced myself a failure and walked away, only to be drawn back and realize it again. The first time was in middle school. I wanted to be a songwriter, and I wrote some silly (and profane) songs. But I got serious about school in high school. Later in high school, however, I realized it again and I had a duo with a friend of mine named Daryl Jones. He was the singer and I was the keyboard player. We had a producer who was going to take us to the top! And we even had some real recording studio experiences. But fame didn’t happen, and then I went to college, and focused on my studies again. But then again in college, I got involved with a terrific band called the Sight-Seers, running sound for them and recording their music. My god, were they great. And then of course I decided that I wanted to be a pop star. I moved to Atlanta with those guys, recorded an album that, today, I’m quite embarrassed about, and eventually moved to L.A. on my own, recorded another album, and gave it a decent try. Spent a lot of money trying to promote my own music, all to little end of course. Eventually I tried opening a mixing studio back in my hometown of Tallahassee, recorded a third album, got married and quickly divorced, and then in my mid-30s decided music was not ever going to work out for me, and just desperate to be successful at something, went back to my intellectual side, to my studies yet again, and earned a Ph.D. in political science, hoping for an academic job. But as you can see, that didn’t work out either, and I’m back at music. I could have made a career of that if I’d wanted it bad enough. I didn’t. So this is the last time. It’s music until death now. I think after all that, I’ve finally learned that commitment is what matters, it’s who you are. Chasing success for the sake of success alone is completely empty. Wait, I didn’t answer your question. I mean, I was many different ages when I decided I wanted to be a professional musician. But how did I realize it? Well, this last time, in my 40s, when I decided to become a guitar player, I just looked at my whole life and I asked myself, “Do I really have an identity? Does anything look like the thing I’m on this planet to do?” And it was pretty clear who I am. I’m music. I think I’d never truly seen myself as an artist until my 40s. Or, I hoped I was an artist, but I didn’t believe it.

Me: Wow. I think that has to be the longest answer in the Phile's history. I am guessing you started out playing classic music, like a lot of musicians I interviewed who started young, am I right?

Everett: I mean, I took classical lessons for a few years, but I was a terrible student and I’m not a technician at the piano. I never practiced well until my 40s... and then it was guitar. I have a nice feel at the piano, but I can’t sightread at speed and I don’t sound technically trained at all.

Me: Who did you grow up listening to? 

Everett: My dad introduced me to Simon and Garfunkel as a 4 or 5 year old, and I love them to this day. "The Monkees" were in re-runs in the 1970s and I loved the Monkees. Not a bad influence at all for a songwriter, since the writers for that band were first rate. But then I also liked Barry Manilow. Can you maybe not print that?

Me: No, it's printed. Haha. I wanted to interview you when I heard your music and read you are compared to Crowded House, Lloyd Cole and Costello. Are you fans of those musicians?

Everett: I love Crowded House. Great 1980s songwriting band. Lloyd Cole just has this one album that’s so beautiful and so honest, called “The Negatives,” came out around the year 2000 or so. I have not been able to connect with Cole’s songwriting on his other albums, just that one, and I love every song on it. Weird, huh? Elvis Costello doesn’t really sound like me, but he’s a pure songwriter, and I love people committed to song craft. That’s my passion. Melody crafting, really.

Me: Who are your main influences? 

Everett: My biggest influence is definitely Tears for Fears. A great 1980s defining band that’s still doing good work today. Earlier than that, I listened to a lot of Earth, Wind and Fire, if you can believe it. Maurice White was one of the great, underrated vocalists of all time. In the 1980s, Howard Jones too, great songwriter. Sting and Peter Gabriel, U2, I listened to that intellectual pop in the 1980s over and over. And Scritti Politti. Great melodies, intricate production. I got to meet David Gamson (their keyboardist/programmer) over lunch once, years after Scritti Politti’s pop success. Gamson tried to repudiate their “Provisions” album, the one after “Perfect Way” and say it was overproduced, and I wasn’t having any of it. I told him they were simply brilliant and I loved what he did, no asterisks. I also used to listen to a lot of Al Jarreau as an adolescent. When I was 12 or 13, I was into him a lot. Michael Jackson too, from his "Thriller" and "Off the Wall" albums. Believe it or not, the Sight-Seers are big influences on me. They have this singer, Zollie Maynard, who is a naturally gifted melody writer. Actually one of the greatest I’ve ever heard, famous or not. That band, now defunct, still needs to be discovered by the world. They are the best undiscovered band in the history of rock music. I actually co-produced a beautiful record with them right around the turn of the millennium.

Me: Major pints for mentioning Scritti Politti... I have been trying to get Green on the Phile for years. Also I didn't realize Lloyd Cole was really known over here, Everett. Anyway, what about Graham Parker, are you a fan of his?

Everett: I don’t know who Graham Parker is! Should I go listen?

Me: Yes! You said you are from Tallahassee. Do you still live there?

Everett: Yes, my wife and I have settled back in the home town.

Me: You are not a Seminoles fan, are you?

Everett: Lifelong. As a young boy, used to cry at games in the early 1970s when we were a horrible team, before Bobby Bowden came and changed everything. I love my Seminoles.

Me: This interview is over. Ha. Just kidding. Okay, so, we talked about you playing piano, but you also play guitar... but didn't you have problems playing that instrument?

Everett: Yeah, I tried to learn it a bunch of times in my life. Well, like two or three times anyway. And every time the same result... practice a little for a few weeks, then walk away after realizing that I wasn’t getting anywhere fast enough. Finally, in my 40s, I accepted how long this adventure lasts. You don’t become a professional player in six weeks. You have to embrace you playing as it is now, at each moment in the adventure.

Me: I can't say anything as I don't play either... I do play kazoo though. Haha. Anyway, why was guitar so hard to play for you?

Everett: As I indicated above, I’d say it boils down to impatience. Adults are impatient with learning in a way children aren’t. That’s why almost nobody truly learns guitar as an adult. It’s not because we can’t... it’s because we give up too quickly. Kids don’t do that. They don’t know how long it’s taking, or aren’t aware of it.

Me: My dad tried to teach me guitar but I complained it hurt my fingers. I was a big pussy. You never gave up though, and play guitar to this day, am right?

Everett: Yep, play professionally and teach. You should try it again, really. The pain goes away after a few weeks, but as I remember, my previous attempts were thwarted by that, too. I’d complain that I couldn’t practice as long as I needed to in order to improve. So what was the point? Somehow, though, I got to a place were I can play for six hours without pain. You just get there, you do.

Me: And now you teach guitar? To kids or adults and where at?

Everett: I teach in Tallahassee and online. All ages, but of course I have a special place in my heart for older learners like myself.

Me: You also have a Ph.D. in political science, am I right? I know what that is, but I bet a lot of readers don't. So, what is it?

Everett: I do indeed, Political psychology is my specialty. Political science is the field of people who know the least about actual politics. Okay, just kidding, sort of. These days, we learn a lot of statistical analysis in political science. We try to find out what really gets people elected, what voters like, and in my case, what makes people liberal or conservative, psychologically.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your new album "The Fascinating Thinking Machine". I like that title, what does it mean, Everett?

Everett: It’s your brain, I suppose. It is us. We are thinking machines, people are. Of course, it’s meant to be ironic a bit because most of what our brain does is not conscious thought. That’s a big theme in my album... the inability of our conscious minds to account for all the crazy things we do. A person isn’t just “one being” as his conscious mind makes it appear he is by weaving a coherent-looking narrative. We are a bunch of different modules all existing together in one brain... often at odds with each other.

Me: And you released it under a band name Kicklighter. I didn't know what Kicklighter was, but it's named after someone, right?

Everett: Actually, my producer suggested it to me years ago, and I thought it sounded great... after I got over the fact that my high school choral director’s name was Ray Kickliter. He and I did NOT get along. But it does sound great, and I think it fits my music. All my friends thought it was a great name. Then again, I recently found out it’s like German for “chicken farmer” or something. Which isn’t all that cool. No offense to the fine chicken farmers of the world.

Me: Well, Sammy Hager has a band called Chickenfoot. Why didn't you release your first album under your own name?

Everett: I did! This is not my first album. It’s just the first album of mine that I want YOU to hear! So I changed to Kicklighter because I just don’t like the sound of my own name. Actually, I’m starting to make available some of my old stuff on my website and Facebook page.

Me: How long did this album take to record, Everett?

Everett: About a year. That’s what happens when you have small children and a day job.

Me: I love the album, so I am sure you are very proud of it, am I right?

Everett: Yes, finally, I seem to have created an album that, several months on, I’m still very fond of. It’s very close to being the record I wanted it to be. And for you to say you love it... well, that’s amazing to hear, man. That kind of thing really makes my day. 

Me: It's true. Did you write all the songs on it?

Everett: Indeed I did! Well, I discovered, or assembled, them. Everything is borrowed, you know.

Me: It sound alike it could've been released in the 80s. Is that something you were aiming for?

Everett: Yep. Consciously. I thought the textures of 1980s New Wave were beautiful, dramatic, mysterious. I loved that romantic thing that was going on, and I didn’t think the possibilities had yet been exhausted. I hate the idea that music has to sound like a the current decade in order to be any good or for anybody to like it.

Me: I have to ask, who is that woman on the album cover?

Everett: She’s a model that my art director found. Striking looking!

Me: So, you have so much talent, why did it take you soooo long to release an album?

Everett: Because I forgot who the hell I am and went on a success-chasing mission getting a Ph.D. in something. Honestly, I’m glad I have the Ph.D. I love having the knowledge and the experience I got from that. But I promise you it won’t be twelve years again. I plan to lie on my death bed and listen to the many, many albums I spent my life making, at least from age forty-four onward.

Me: My favorite track on the album is "Building a Robot". Do you have a favorite song?

Everett: That’s certainly near the top for me. Nobody seems to notice “Sultan of Brunei” but I think that song is quite an achievement, writing and performance and production all of that.

Me: You have a song called "When Howie Dressed Me Down". Who is Howie? I thought of Howie Mandell for some reason.

Everett: I don’t know if I can reveal this! But this is someone I ran into in graduate school. Near the end of my studies, I was called into his office and essentially told I’d wasted my time in graduate school, had made all the wrong decisions about who to work with, had sabotaged my own career, and that the paper I’d recently submitted to a journal was a piece of crap. He sent me back to my office wondering why I’d ever bothered to spend five years of my life doing what I’d done. I won’t tell you whether his name was actually Howie. I thought Howie sang really well in that spot, though.

Me: Everett, on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Are you ready? Would you rather live by the beach or in the mountains?

Everett: Mountains. North Carolina is one of my favorite places on earth.

Me: Everett, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Please come back again soon. Will you be recording another album or is this it for you?

Everett: I am writing the new album right now. I’m well into it. Thanks so much for having me! I would love to come back, seriously. I love your questions too. These are some of the best questions I’ve answered about my music.

Me: Thank you. Go ahead and mention your website and I wish you continued success. Don't stop now, Everett.

Everett: It’s And there’s always a bunch of new and interesting content there. Check it out. Thanks again!

That about does it for this entry of the Phile, kids. Thanks to Jeff Trelewicz and of course Everett Young from Kicklighter. The Phile will be back tomorrow with singer Poison Ivory, and then next week it gets rather confusing. The Phile is changing it's days from Thursday and Friday to Sunday and Monday. Sunday it's artist Al Abbazia and Monday Phile Alum Anna Coogan. So, spread the word, not 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

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