Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pheaturing Phile Alum Pete Donnelly

What? I think the Phile was hacked! What is this? Where is the real logo?!

Damn North Koreans. Haha.  Welcome to a Phile for a Thursday, kids. How are you? Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish readers. I think Hanukkah is a pretty cool holiday. Show me a Christian holiday that celebrates fried food and gambling.  Let's get back to North Korea... not literally, but you know what I mean. Officials from the U.S. government have confirmed that North Korea is in fact "centrally involved" in the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment's servers. The craziest aspect of this ordeal is the hackers somehow managed to pull this off with their country's one room-sized, diesel-fueled computer. Shame North Korea couldn't block the release of Frozen.  Now that the U.S. embargo against Cuba is coming to an end, and American travelers are allowed to carry $100 worth of the tropical nation's famous cigars home with them, smoking aficionados are about to make a somewhat shocking discovery: Cuban cigars kind of taste like ass. It remains to be seen whether they taste sufficiently more like ass than other high-end cigars for anyone to care.  Millionaire blowhard and reality TV star Donald Trump has once again declared that he is "seriously considering" a run for the presidency in 2016. "A lot of people think I have fun with [talking about running for president] and I enjoy the process, but the country is in very serious trouble so I am considering it seriously," Trump said on Monday. Is he even allowed to talk about a presidential run and use the word "serious" at the same time? Doesn't that break some kind of campaign regulation? Just found Donald Trump's birth certificate. It says he was born in Douchebagistan.  The American Kennel Club has announced that the Bergamasco Shepherd... a somewhat dog-shaped pile of gross-looking hair with a protruding tongue is included in a list of four new dog breeds that it will henceforth officially recognize.  Hey, kids, gay divorce finally comes to Florida.  A Florida circuit judge yesterday invalidated Florida's ban on gay marriage in order to grant a divorce to a lesbian couple. "For the first time in a divorce case, a judge has ruled that the state laws banning same-sex marriage and the recognition of those marriages is void and unenforceable because they violate Floridians' rights to equal protection under the law and the right to due process," an attorney for one of the women stated after the decision. It also confirms my belief that divorces are actually joyous occasions.  So, it's Hanukkah, and if you are wondering what to buy for your loved one I would go here...

I bet you can get a good gift there.  Oh, just for the record, this ain't me...

I'm definitely not a prince and there's nothing little about me. Haha.  Oh, the other day I showed you
some new Star Wars character names that were revealed on vintage-style trading cards. Here's another one in case you didn't see them...

This is clearly a reference to Dadaist artist Man Ray. Or possibly Ray Romano. Man, that Daisy Ridley is cute. I need to show another picture of her...

Yeah, she's hot.  Christmas is a week away and I have been showing you some pre-written gift tags. Wanna see one?

So, you kids heard of Elf on a Shelf, right? I don't think he's very suitable for kids.

Shit. He's having more fun than I am.  So, I live in Florida as you probably know and in Florida some crazy stuff happens. That's why I have a pheature called...

Shop with a Cop is an event where disadvantaged children are given a small amount of money to go on an outing with police and shop for Christmas presents for their family and friends. The idea of it is to build positive relationships between the community and police officers. Florida man Grant Scott Timm, 35, took advantage of this program at a Walmart in Citrus County, but tweaked it just a little. He decided to Shoplift with a Cop. The Citrus County Chronicle reports that "a deputy found Timm acting suspiciously and removing items in various sections of the Walmart before leaving the store." Going on a shoplifting spree during a Shop with a Cop event is actually a good idea... if you're shoplifting at any other store, because then you know the cops are busy elsewhere. But to shoplift in the store where the event is happening? This guy has chutzpah! Or drugs! Turns out it was drugs. According to the police report, a deputy approached Timm in the parking lot and asked him if he had purchased anything. Timm said no, but said he took some steaks, the report said. Then he removed a package of steaks from his waistband. A bold move, just fessing up to stealing waist steaks like that. He did not, however, fess up to the methadone tablets prescribed to someone else that he had been concealing in a cigarette carton. Timm was arrested for "retail petit theft" for his under $100 theft of pants steaks, and his bond was set at $2,500. The moral of the story here is, you can go shoplifting with a cop, but it'll cost you.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. But I will say this... If you see dolphins, elephants or a monkey, I have bad news for you. Haha. Alright, it's Thursday and there's one main reason I post on Thursday's... it's to talk football with my good friend Jeff.

Me: Hi there, Jeff, it's another week of football talk. How are you?

Jeff: Always great to be back on the Phile. I am doing all right and I hope that you are as well.

Me: Well, about that. Haha. Never mind. So, last week you mentioned Cam Newton was in a car accident. I haven't heard how he is, have you?

Jeff: Cam Newton admits he is lucky to be alive. His car flipped several times yet he was able to emerge with only a back injury. There are reports he is going to attempt to play this week, but his back up played well so I personally would not start him, even if they are in the hunt for the playoffs. 

Me: And how did Johnny Football do? Where did he get that nickname by the way?

Jeff: I think it was summed up by an ESPN analyst best when he described Johnny Manziel as "first round hype, sixth round talent." He looked terrible, throwing less than a 100 yards of offensive, zero touchdowns and 2 interceptions. It would have been more interceptions but one called back due to a penalty. I know he got the nickname Johnny Football in college, probably because he was the best player the team had ever had. But he is learning the difference between college and the pros. There have been many players who were great in college, but not so much in the pros. Like Tebow!

Me: Haha. Yeah, Tebow is now hosting a Disney Frozen parade on TV. Any other football news? 

Jeff: No big news coming out of week 15 other then the playoff picture becoming a little more clear. Three teams in the AFC clinched their division. The only division in the AFC not set is the Central where the Steelers and the Ravens trail the Bengals by half a game, but Pittsburgh plays Cincinnati in the last week of the season so it will go down to the wire. The NFC is in good shape too. However it looks like who ever doesn't win the NFC East (either Dallas or Philadelphia) will be out of the playoffs. So it will be an interesting last two weeks there.

Me: Jeff, real quick before I forget... there's not gonna be an entry next Thursday as it's Christmas so I'll have you back here in two weeks. Alright, so, how did we do last week? Are you still beating me?
There's no way for me to catch up, right?

Jeff: I am sorry to say that I went 2-0 last week and you went 0-2. Both our teams won though. So I expanded my lead to nine points. It would be very tough for you to beat me, especially without a week 17 for us, but I have an idea on how we can make up for it.

Me: Alright, this week's picks... I say Packers will beat the Bucs by 17 and the Patriots will beat the Jets by 13. What are your picks?

Jeff: My picks are Baltimore to win by 10 and New Orleans to win by seven.

Me: Alright, how can we make up that for not being able to pick in week 17?

Jeff: I was thinking either we pick 4 games in the first playoff week or we designate one special pick that is worth five points if we get it right. Either one would work. What do you think?

Me: That's a great idea.

Jeff: You can only choose one. Either all four picks in the Wild Card or a bonus pick worth five points. What's it going to be?

Me: Oh, I'm an idiot. Let's pick four picks in the Wild Card. Have a safe and fun Christmas, okay? I'll see you back here in two weeks.

Jeff: Merry Christmas to you and your son and to all the readers of the Phile!

Me: Merry Christmas to you as well, Jeff.

See also: Hanukkah, Chanukkah, and Hannukka maybe? I don't even really know the spellings at this point.

Today's pheatured guest is a Phile Alum and one of my favorite musicians who is an American bass player, singer, songwriter and founding member of The Figgs. He has a new EP out called "American Town" which is fantastic and available on iTunes. Please welcome back to the Phile... Pete Donnelly.

Me: Pete! Welcome back to the Phile, man. How are you doing?

Pete: Very good. Thanks, Jason.

Me: A few months ago I had Mike Gent back on the Phile. Did you hear his album "The Rapid Shave"? Did you like it?

Pete: Yeah, I think it’s great. Mike has developed a very clean and groovy thing with Ducky Carlisle. 

Me: Do you and he trade your solo CD's or do you make each other buy them?

Pete: Haha! No man. I have his records, he has mine.

Me: So, let's talk about The Figgs real quick. Are you guys working or planning a new album?

Pete: We have just finished the mastering and art for our next album called “Other Planes of Here." It’ll be out in the late winter/spring 2015. Also we’ve recorded much of the follow up already and will be completing that over the winter. Look for that in fall of 2015. Also! We just put out the "Badger " LP which was a reissue of the 2002 EP with 6 unreleased tracks. Becoming then an LP.

Me: Cool. The last studio album was "The Day Gravity Stopped", am I right? Man, that's a great album.

Pete: Yeah, it was the last one. Thanks.

Me: Do you have a favorite Figgs song or album?

Pete: No, I like ‘em all... hahaha! Inside joke. Doug Feiger once said that when asked what his favorite Knack record was. I actually do like them all. It would probably be easier for me to say what are my least favorite songs. Usually, with stuff that’s annoying, like a way I’m singing, I will have the distance from it to be like… so what, it’s cool. But certain things will freak me out every once in a while. We’re in the process of revisiting the album "Lo-Fi at Society High" right now. It’s the records 20th anniversary, we’re going to be playing it in it’s entirety this December. And there’s certainly stuff on there, lyrically especially, that’s hard for me to be comfortable with. Cringeworthy. Haha!

Me: I mentioned to Mike that is has been years since you played in Orlando. Do you remember that show?

Pete: Maybe, I think I remember. Brick sidewalks and a club that was on a first floor tucked in the middle of a block. Could be anywhere! But yes, we need to come back to F. L. A.

Me: Alright, let's talk about your new solo EP "American Town", which I downloaded from iTunes and really like. How did the song "American Town" get to be the title track?

Pete: I’ve been playing the song since I wrote it, a year ago, summer of 2013. I played it first at a residency I was doing in Philly, at Ortlieb’s. So I remember that. Some people had been asking if they could get it. I figured I’d better record it and put it out. Once I had recorded the song I was inspired to cut a few other things. And also I looked at what recordings I had that may not have been finished. There were outtakes from my last record "Face the Bird", that were useable, as well as a song from a while back, like "Palais" era-"Making Changes Overnight". Without too much effort I was able to have an EP. So “American Town” was the impetus and the focus for the whole thing.

Me: Is there a town you were thinking off when you wrote that song?

Pete: No, it sort of speaks to the whole experience of knowing a community is suffering. It could be anywhere. Like Springfield!

Me: So, what is your favorite town, Pete?

Pete: Haven’t found it yet. I love lots of towns. Having grown up in Saratoga I do really like small towns. Back roads, through little towns, I love that.

Me: You live in Jersey, am I right? Do you like living there?

Pete: Yeah, I like it a lot, I’m happy in the kind of town I live in. One where you don’t need a car, and it’s visually pleasing. My kids know the lay of the land, they know their way around, and we know the people at the post office, coffee shop etc... It’s pretty idyllic.

Me: You have two little chldren I think... they sang and appeared in the "Free the Bird' video. I don't think I mentioned that last time you were here. Did they like being part of that song and being on the video?

Pete: I have four kids actually. My teenager didn’t want to be in the video though. She felt it would look odd with her in there. I agreed because it was supposed to be funny. Me with these little kids playing little instruments, flying though space or whatever. We used the green screen. It was fun, took all of 2 hours to make, if that, and yeah, I think they liked it. My daughter most impressed me with how together she was. She came prepared, knew the words, was a total pro! It was a hilarious.

Me: What do they think of your music?

Pete: My music, the Figgs music, the kids know it so well and they respond to it. It’s cool to see because they seem to ‘get it’ on a whole other level. My first son before he could talk or walk went nuts once when the Figgs came over the TV. It was a video I was scanning through or something but he went bananas and shook to the beat. There was other music before and after but nothing affected him like the Figgs music did. And at that point I think he’d really only heard the Figgs in utero. Well, live at least.

Me: So, who plays on the new release with you, Pete?

Pete: Some of the same guys as "Face the Bird". Fred Berman, who plays with Amos Lee, he plays on "American Town" as well as another song on the EP. Also Jim Balga is on drums and Tony Reyes plays some bass. Shelby Lynne is singing on the opening song “So Long”. This tune was started during some of the writing sessions she and I have done. I like it so I finished it back home.

Me: And who did that cover? I kinda like it.

Pete: Brian Meitz did the cover. An artist and musician. His bands are It’s A King Thing and The Not Fur Longs. Both great. I love his art and thought he would do the concept perfectly. And he did.

Me: Since you were here last Lou Reed passed away. I know you must be a big fan of his. Did you ever meet him?

Pete: I didn’t meet him. He did come see NRBQ once when I was playing with them.

Me: You took part in a Lou Reed tribute show, right? What songs did you do?

Pete: "Foggy Notion" and "Love Makes You Feel". Both songs the Figgs have done. That night I had my boys with me, and they were young, I think youngest was just 4. It was nuts, I mean it was packed and the bands playing were noisy and out and stuff. Cool and all but def a new thing for my kids who were jammed on the wings of the stage with me. I just played solo.

Me: So, next year I want to put together a Foghat tribute album, even though I never put together a tribute album before, and have no idea how to start. But if you or the Figgs were gonna take part, what song what you do? You can't choose "Slow Ride".

Pete: I don’t know any Foghat. You’d have to educate me. Now if you’re talking Sabbath.

Me: Okay, I'll send you a CD of songs I'd want you to choose from. So, have you seen or heard from Graham Parker lately?

Pete: I haven’t. I know Mike has been writing songs with him and talks with him pretty regularly.

Me: That's cool! Okay, as you know on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Ready? Which other cultures would you choose to be born into?

Pete: A warm climate one. With good earth. Mediterranean, Caribbean.

Me: Pete, thanks so much for being on the Phile again. Go ahead and mention your website and continued success. Please come back again soon.

Pete: Thanks, Jason. Always nice to talk with you.,,,

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Jeff Trelewicz and Pete Donnelly. The Phile will be back SUNDAy... not Saturday like I said the other day with Phile Alum Aradia and then on Monday it's The Peverett Phile Christmas 6. 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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