Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Pheaturing Phile Alum Kirk Waldrop From Nine Times Blue

Hey there, good evening and welcome to a Wednesday entry of the Phile. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, kids. Best of luck explaining why you're still single at Thanksgiving and Charles Manson isn't. So, you're gonna watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade tomorrow? The only parade I'll attend this Thanksgiving is the one to the toilet. So, on Thanksgiving you're supposed to be thankful for something. I'm thankful that we can soon get back to being ungrateful, disillusioned, and cynical. I have to say though may your turkey be moist and no one use that word to describe it. My condolences to anyone who has to work at a retail store on Thanksgiving or any other day of the year.  Alright, there's more going on than Thanksgiving. I have Star Wars news.  Disney has announced that it will be showing the first trailer for the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens this weekend in a select few theaters throughout the country. It did not stipulate exactly when, in advance of this weekend, a bootleg version would be leaked to the Internet, but five minutes ago seems like a reasonable guess.  Anheuser-Busch is overhauling its advertising strategy in the wake of a current trend which seems to suggest that Americans are not quite as willing to drink their stale-flavored lager Budweiser as they have been for the past several decades. Now, instead of being the most popular beer in the country, it is simply one of the most popular beers in the country. Keg of Budweiser Black Crown at my place if anybody wants to get desperate. I'm just kidding, I don't have any beer.  Warner Bros. has announced that it has hired respected television director Michelle McLaren... who has helmed some of the most popular episodes of both "Game of Thrones" and "Breaking Bad", to bring their big budget adaptation of Wonder Woman to the screen, thus sending a message to fans that they might actually try to make this one into something worth watching. Diana will now be a meth-dealing princess of Amazons with an M60 of Truth.  Congressional Republicans... who, in very recent memory, chose to shut down the government rather than raise nation's debt ceiling have suddenly had a shocking change of heart. Conservative legislators announced plans yesterday to add $450 billion to the deficit over the next decade in order to facilitate tax breaks for the country's wealthiest citizens. Unfortunately, the evil Grinch who lives in the White House derailed their plans by promising the veto any such bills. If I spend all of my money on a stripper named Charity, am I eligible for a tax break?  The Coca-Cola company has announced that it is entering the dairy business, after its food scientists discovered a new way to inflate the price of milk by as much as 100 percent. A company representative said that the new product Fairlife is "a milk that's premiumised and tastes better and we'll charge twice as much for it as the milk we're used to buying." Finally! A gallon of gas is now cheaper than a gallon of milk? All right, well, my morning tea could use a little extra kick.  A new survey of 30,000 funerals has found that Monty Python's chipper little ode to the absurdity of existence, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," has recently edged out more grandiose swan songs, such as Frank Sinatra's "My Way" and Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" as the most popular music to accompany being dumped into the ground.
Always look on the bright side, but don't be gross about it.  You know, everybody says the Pilgrims met the Indians, but someone else did as well. And I have proof...

Haha. That was a really bad set up to show this piece of art work. I like how Superman is wearing an Indian headpiece.  I'm glad they came out with an inspirational poster for Thanksgiving this year.

Oh, they came out with another one as well...

Hahaha.  So, Christmas is right around the corner so leading up to it I am gonna show you some actual items you can purchase from Amazon. Check it out...

Find out what almost all of America is made of. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Little-Known Provisions In Obama's Immigration Action
5. Immigrants who successfully sneak into Texas are free to leave once they realize it's worse than where they came from.
4. Grants immediate amnesty to all actresses featured in the Lusty Latinas DVD series.
3. Non-citizens who are here illegally will still be allowed to vote on "The Voice."
2. Five lucky immigrants will find a golden ticket tucked into their visa, gaining them entrance to an enhanced chocolate factory.
And the numb rome little-known provision in Obama's immigration action...
1. In the event of impeachment, Barack Obama will be named President of Mexico.

This is an easy one but if you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, it's it's time to talk football with my good friend Jeff.

Me: Hey, there, welcome back. It's Wednesday so we are doing this a day early because tomorrow is Thanksgiving. How are you?

Jeff: It's always good to be back on the Phile. I am at my parents house for the holiday's this year so I am recovering from a long day of traveling.

Me: I totally lost track of what week this is, Jeff. What week is it?

Jeff: It's week 13 in the NFL this season. I had to look it up too, so don't feel bad.

Me: Alright, any big football news this past week?

Jeff: The biggest news of the week is the Oakland Raiders won their first football game of the season, defeating Kansas City on "Thursday Night Football." The other big news is that due to storms in Buffalo, the Jets-Bills game was postponed a day and moved to Detroit on Monday night. The Bills won, making the Jets look silly. As usual.

Me: And what about Beckham on the Giants, eh?

Jeff: As bad as the Giants have been this year, I will say this. You have had a human highlight on your team and his name is Odell Beckham Jr. He has made some ridiculous catches, and he makes them look routine. The future is bright with that guy on your team.

Me: Okay, Jeff, if you would guess who is gonna be going to the Super Bowl who would you say? 

Jeff: We may have a look into this year's Super Bowl as the New England Patriots travel to Green Bay this year. It's two high powered offenses in the same game. It's hard to argue that as a Super Bowl, but you also have teams like Denver, Seattle, Arizona, and Philadelphia in the running as well. 

Me: Okay, so, how did we do with our picks last week?

Jeff: The Steelers were on a bye week and the Giants lost late to Dallas this week, so neither of us earned any points for that. I however had a bad week going 0-2 while you went 1-1. So it stands that I lead by six points now.

Me: Okay, this week's picks... I say Colts by 5 and Bengals by 13. What do you say?

Jeff: I am going to go with Arizona by 7 and Browns by 3.

Me: Alrighty then, I will see you back here next Thursday.

Jeff: See ya next week.

Native Americans 
Native Americans are an indigenous group who discovered corn, chewing gum, and eminent domain law.

Okay, today's pheatured guest is a Phile Alum and lead singer in Nine Times Blue, one of one of my favorite bands I discovered since I have been doing this blog. They have a new album called "Matter of Time" which is available on iTunes, Please welcome to the Phile... Kirk Waldrop.

Me: Hey there, Kirk, welcome back to the Phile. So, how have you been?

Kirk: Been doing well, Jason! Staying busy playing music. Great to hear from you again.

Me: I saw you in concert, what was it, two years ago? It was before my shoulder surgery and accident I think. Nine Times Blue drove down from Atlanta and played a show here in Orlando. I bet that was fun and tiring... not necessary in that order. Was that the longest drive you did to a show?

Kirk: Yeah... we were opening for Jimmie’s Chicken Shack at what appeared to be a fairly hard core biker bar. Definitely got to see a side of Orlando I’ve never seen before. As for our longest drive for a show… it would probably have to be our August 2013 trip up to Washington, DC to play at IOTA... which is actually in Arlington, VA. It was worth it... great crowd of friends and colleagues from my 10 years living in that area.

Me: Did you tell your daughter you were sooooo close to Disney? Haha.

Kirk: I actually did tell her I was that close. She loves Disney and I think I even made sure to get her something from a gift shop.

Me: Speaking of shows, you just did a show opening for Everclear... one of my favorite bands. How was that? Did you get to hang out with them?

Kirk: The show was GREAT! All of the other opening bands were cover bands, so as an original band... we had to win over the crowd with songs they didn’t know. By our second song... we had them. Catchy tunes and great musicianship will get ‘em every time. We hung out with Art (only original member) and the band for a little bit. They got there late... so they were rushed from the moment they arrived. Everclear was actually supposed to do “Venus and Mars / Rock Show” for the McCartney tributes I produced and released back in 2001, but scheduling conflicts prevented it from happening. Art remembered that when I talked to him and said he wished they’d been able to make it happen.

Me: Do they have a new CD coming out? I wonder if Art Alexakis would want to be interviewed for the Phile....

Kirk: I think they have a new album coming out in early 2015. I’m sure he’d be up for a Phile interview! He’s very approachable. Good dude.

Me: Is there another band you'd love to open for? I have interviewed Mike Gent and Pete Donnelly from The Figgs a few times, and Nine Times Blue would fit in nicely opening for them. Do you know who the Figgs are? I am sure you do, you have a great taste in music.

Kirk: I know who Pete Donnelly is... but I don’t think I’ve heard The Figgs. I’ll have to look them up. There’s a TON of bands we’d love to open for that I think we’d pair well with... Gin Blossoms, Cheap Trick, Jimmy Eat World, Jack White, Matthew Sweet, The Replacements, Weezer, The Hold Steady, Snow Patrol, and the list goes on.

Me: Another show you did was a Weezer benefit... what Weezer songs did you guys perform?

Kirk: We performed “Come Undone – The Sweater Song” which has become a staple in our longer sets.

Me: Alright, let's talk about your band Nine Times Blue... how many times has someone written it as 9 X Blue? That looks like a really hard math equation.

Kirk: It’s a tough name for folks the mess up. We get a lot of variations... Nine Times Blues (and then folks think we’re a blues band), Nine X Blue, 9 X Blue, NXB, NTB, 9XB, and we even got Mime Times Blue at a club in Alabama. Loved that one.

Me: It says Nine X Blue on your t-shirts, does that ever confuse anybody? Do people call the band Nine Ex Blue?

Kirk: Doesn’t seem to confuse folks much. We have Nine X Blue incorporated into our logo where it generally also says “Times”... so we’re usually good.

Me: Oh, shit, on your new EP cover it says Nine X Blue... that might really confuse people. Haha. Nine Times Blue was named after a Monkees song, right?

Kirk: Yes... it’s Mike Nesmith song that the Monkees recorded, but never officially released. Mike, Mickey and Davy did perform it live one time on the "Johnny Cash Show" and it then made it onto Mike’s first solo album with the First National Band.

Me: Kirk, are the other guys in the band big Monkess fans as well, or just you?

Kirk: I’m obviously a HUGE Monkees and Nesmith fan. I think the other guys like a few of their songs, especially the more well-known songs. We actually cover “(Not Your) Stepping Stone”, but it sounds more like the Sex Pistols version than the Monkees version.

Me: Do you do a cover of "Nine Times Blue" in your shows?

Kirk: As much as I like the song... it’s not right for our shows. It’s a very slow tempo, very laid back and very stripped down. Plus... truthfully... I’ve never learned how to play it.

Me: Alright, let's talk about your last EP "Matter of Time." That's a great sounding release, I played it to death. How did "Matter of Time" become the title track?

Kirk: I wish I had a better story other than... we all just liked it as the title of the EP. We had a bunch of incredibly lewd, offensive title names that we came up with on long drives to gigs… but in the end "Matter of Time" just seemed to fit.

Me: Did you write all the songs on it, Kirk?

Kirk: I wrote all the songs except for the title track, which I co-wrote with Cliff Hillis. Cliff also produced that song and “Falling After You” and mixed the entire EP. We hope to work with him again on our next release.

Me: You have a head for catchy pop songs. Do you write the melodies and music first or lyrics?

Kirk: Kind words, sir. I tend to get a lot of ideas for songs while driving. A melody and some sort of lyrical phrasing (which often ends up being the chorus) pops into my head and I sing it into my iPhone Voice Memo. I have a huge collection of 30 second snippets of songs-to-be. From there... I sort through them at a later point and pick whichever one speaks to me on that particular day and put it to music, fleshing out the song structure and melody. For me lyrics are almost always the last thing I write and I tend to procrastinate until the bitter end, such as the day we are cutting vocals on a song and I need SOMETHING to sing. Have to force it out of me at that point.

Me: The first single from the EP is "Only Lonely (The Shovel Song)", which is the last song on the EP. How did that get to be the single?

Kirk: It was one of the last songs I wrote for the EP and one that we felt was a bit different than what we’d done before. It had a nice laid back, driving with the top down feel to it... and early feedback from some of the local radio stations around Atlanta were that it was the stand out and the one they wanted to push.

Me: I wondered why it was called the shovel song until I saw the video. Tell the readers what the song is about.

Kirk: Well... the song started out as a jilted love song. Our hero just can’t seem to get it right with the girl of his dreams. He leaves her a ton of phone messages and he writes her a song she doesn’t want to hear. He writes her letters she never reads, he tries to make her laugh, but nothing works. Not only does she not like what he does she criticizes him for it all. So he does the natural thing... he gets a shovel and duct tape and buries her alive... but even until the bitter end... she still not satisfied and criticizes the whole he dug for her. Song definitely takes a dark turn.

Me: What were you thinking when you wrote this song, Kirk? Haha.

Kirk: The song was never meant to take such a dark turn. I mentioned my habit of procrastinating on lyrics and this was a classic example. Our producer was stopping by for some pre-production and I needed to have the song ready. I think I rushed the lyrics for that song, wrapping it up about 30 min before he arrived, and when I was stuck for a last verse or pre-chorus... I came up with the twisted ending as a temporary solution and also as a joke to see if the band was paying attention to the lyrics. They loved it... thought it was a very unexpected twist and said we should keep it... so that was it. It stuck.

Me: Did you write any songs that were left off the EP?

Kirk: Yes... we had 2 or 3 more that I was working on, but for whatever reason... just couldn’t finish. I actually wrote “This Time” and “Only Lonely” while trying to write lyrics for one of the songs that didn’t make it to the EP. Those songs are still not finished and I’ve moved onto some other songs. I will likely revisit them later this year when we take a break at the end of the year so I can focus on writing.

Me: Do you think a full length CD will be your next release or another EP?

Kirk: It’s hard to say, Jason. Nobody really buys whole albums anymore. They consume singles or they stream the songs they like on Spotify, Pandora, Rhapsody, etc. We know that some music reviewers don’t take EPs as seriously as they do a full length... so we actually think that hurt us on this release. We had great reviews by those that reviewed it but folks that went nuts for the first album we not as interested in taking the time to review an EP... which is strange since so many bands (including big, national touring bands) seem to be doing that route. It will largely depend on what songs we have ready as we start to record, the length of time between releases, the budget we have for recording, etc. I do know that the reviewers that went nuts over both the first album and the new EP badly want a full length for the next one... so hopefully we can accommodate the request.

Me: You guys are great live, you should release a live EP. Did you guys discuss that already?

Kirk: Thanks, Jason! We’ve gotten a lot better over time. When you saw us play... that was only about 9 months into playing live together so we were still working out the kinks, the harmonies, and I was getting more comfortable with playing electric guitar since for the prior 25+ years I had been playing acoustic as my primary instrument. Now when we open for a national touring band, such as Plain White T’s or Everclear we can hold our own quite well.

Me: Alright, I love your black and white guitar. I have to show a picture of you playing it...

Me: What make and year is it, Kirk?

Kirk: It’s a 2012 Rickenbacker 360. It was my 40th birthday present from my wife. I had been wanting a Ric for the past 10 years and finally had a good excuse to pull the trigger on it. My guitar heroes are George Harrison, John Lennon, Tom Petty, Mike Campbell, Peter Buck, etc... all Rickenbacker users. It really bring a signature sound to our songs and live shows.

Me: How long have you had that guitar?

Kirk: I’ve had it since June 2012 and it’s become my primary guitar. Although I also just bought a Gretsch Panther which is just a straight, balls out rock guitar. Since I’ve used the Ric on just about everything to date I’m working on figuring out the best songs to use the Gretsch on so it gets some love at live shows, too.

Me: And you have a guitar strap that has Chinese writing on it... do you know what it says?

Kirk: You know... I have no idea. Never looked it up. It probably says “Asshole” or something like that. I’ll have to look it up one day and I’ll report back to you on it!

Me: We mentioned this the last time you were here, but in the past you released two tribute albums to Paul McCartney, and you have some great bands playing on them including one of my favorite bands... Barenaked Ladies. What song did they do?

Kirk: They played “Junk” from McCartney’s first solo album. To clarify... it’s only a couple of members of Barenaked Ladies that did the song... Steven Page and Kevin Hearn, along with Lilac Time member (and Steven Page songwriting collaborator) Stephen Duffy.

Me: Kevin Hearn has been on the Phile twice, Kirk. Are these albums still available?

Kirk: The albums are still available on Amazon or on eBay, but are no longer being manufactured. We never had the digital rights for the songs... so you can’t get it on iTunes or Spotify. We’ve talked about doing a re-release however... I just read there’s a new McCartney tribute coming out soon with like 38 songs on it. They have some big names, too. Ours came out in 2001 and MPL (McCartney’s company) asked us to work with the folks putting out the new one. They were just in the planning stages of theirs and we had ours just about done and ready for release. We were focused on only post-Beatles catalog... they wanted both. We shared our original artist wish list with them (i.e. Brian Wilson, Billy Joel, etc.), had a few conversations to see if we could combine releases and ultimately decided to move on and release ours in Oct 2001. It took them another 13 years to complete theirs and I wish them well with it. It will be interesting to hear all the artists they compiled and their take on Paul’s songs (both Beatles and post Beatles). The nice thing is... it’s giving our tributes some nice attention again as folks are either just realizing we put ours out or are mentioning that ours came out back in 2001 and it’s a killer tribute.

Me: How did you get all these acts to take part, was it hard?

Kirk: It wasn’t hard to get bands to commit. They were totally into it and donated all their time and royalties for the tracks. The tough part was working with their labels or their management to get to contract signature. Warner Bros was REALLY tough with all of their artists... but everyone else was pretty easy.

Me: I have a music project called Strawberry Blondes Forever... we need a tribute album, even though we only have one album out now. Haha. Maybe Nine Times Blue can cover one of our songs. Whatcha think? Haha.

Kirk: We might be willing to cover one of your songs. Send me some tunes and we’ll give them a listen. We’ve never really considered recording any songs that aren’t ours and our rule for covers is that it needs to be a songs folks will know and may even get them dancing or singing along. That said... I have a good, longtime friend that is one of the people that first taught me to play guitar. He’s an amazing songwriter... very much in the style of Jackson Browne, John Denver, Dan Fogelberg, etc. and he’s got a song he thinks will fit us well. If it’s a good fit for us... we may consider using it since I’m such a fan of his talent. So, just goes to show you never know what we’ll do.

Me: So, did you like Paul's last album "New"? I really liked it.

Kirk: I get a lot of crap for this... but I really disliked his new album. I respect that he wants to keep writing and putting out new material but I don’t think folks should put each release on a pedestal as if it were the best thing he’d ever put out. Just because I’m a hardcore Beatles fan and therefore a Macca fan I shouldn’t be expected to get a boner over everything the man puts out. In my opinion the last good album he put out was "Flowers in the Dirt", and even that was spotty. My favorite in his entire solo catalog is "Ram" and everything he puts out is compared against that. At the end of the day I’m a fan of good, solid songwriting and I just didn’t feel his new album had much evidence of it. But... that’s just my opinion and shouldn’t necessarily influence anyone else’s feelings about the album.

Me: Okay, so, on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Ready? This is dumb! When did your family come to this country and from where?

Kirk: Not a dumb question at all. My family is mainly from England and Scotland and made their way over to America in the late 1600s early 1700s, staring out in Caroline, Co and Louisa, Co in Virginia. There’s actually still quite a few of original 1700s and 1800s era family homes still standing there. We almost bought one about 10 years ago just outside of Charlottesville, VA.

Me: Kirk, thanks for being back on the Phile. Mention your website and anything else, and please come back again soon. And come back to Florida to play! Take care.

Kirk: Thanks for having us back, Jason!! Really enjoyed the questions. Our website is, Facebook:, Twitter: @9timesblue, YouTube:, ReverbNation: We hope to get back down to Florida in 2015, so we’ll see you then!

That about does it for this entry. Thanks to Jeff Trelewicz and Kirk Waldrop. The Phile will be back on Sunday with singer Barbara Lusch and on Monday it's Christian Turner from Christian Punk Band and next Thursday Phile Alum Bree Rose from The New Royalty. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you bye. Have a safe Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

No comments: