Sunday, March 8, 2015

Pheaturing Jonathan Burks

Hello there, welcome to the Phile for a Sunday. It's daylight savings time, kids. The hour we lose this weekend was the one when I was planning to go to the gym. Daylight savings time... the start of driving around with my clock an hour slow for the next seven months. I love the first week of daylight savings when everyone will keep telling me what time it'd really be if we hadn't daylight savings.  Well, this is good news... According to Harrison Ford's son Ben, the 72-year-old actor who was hospitalized Thursday after crashing his WW2 vintage plane into a golf course is "Battered, but ok!" Ford's publicist later issued a statement saying explaining that "The injuries sustained are not life threatening, and he is expected to make a full recovery," which is good news, as he probably has a submarine to jump onto or something. By the way, I have an exclusive picture of the crash.

Haha. That's so stupid.  Following the recent revelation that, as Secretary of State, she conducted official government business through a personal email account, Hillary Clinton has asked the State Department to release its copies of her emails. However, they will not be publicly available immediately, as it will take some time for federal workers to go through and delete all the ones in which she helped plan the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Searches Benghazi. Delete. Delete. Delete. That's Hillary Clinton's gmail account.
New York Police Department commissioner Bill Bratton blamed a recent uptick in gun violence in New York City on the availability of legal marijuana in Denver, Colorado. "The seemingly innocent drug that's been legalized around the country. In this city, people are killing each other over marijuana more so than anything that we had to deal with [in the] 80s and 90s with heroin and cocaine," Bratton explained during a press conference earlier this week. It is unknown how long all of the people within earshot continued laughing before he was able to continue speaking.  Wu-Tang Clan founding member Method Man recently offered a thoughtful critique of his own band's decision to keep the public from hearing their purposefully rare album, "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin", for 88 years. "What do you mean 88 years? Fuck that album. I'm tired of this shit and I know everybody else is tired of it, too. Fuck that album, if that's what they are doing. I haven't heard anything like that, but if they're doing crap like that, fuck that album," Method Man opined. I think that means he is unhappy with this development. Wu-Tang Clan's new album will be released in 88 years. Hip hop experts say by that time the group may very well be sumthing ta fuck wit.  New scientific evidence shows that your friend from college who fried his brain by taking three hits of acid every day for the entire three semesters he lasted in school probably didn't actually fry his brain with the acid, as survey of 135,000 people found no link between psychedelic drug use and mental disorders like schizophrenia. Your friend probably just had problems. Just been on Trip Advisor, it said, "Don't take bad acid."  The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has announced that it is phasing out its iconic elephant acts by 2018. "This decision was not easy, but it is in the best interest of our company, our elephants and our customers," CEO Kenneth Feld said in a statement. But don't worry, all the other animals will continue to be held and forced to perform against their will in perpetuity. Too bad elephants never forget.  Alright, you know that 50 Shades movie, right? Well, Disney has been cashing in on that whole craze by rereleasing some of their classic animated moved with sex scenes thrown in... going for that adult audience I guess. I have been showing you these for the last few weeks and finally we have the last one.

Where is he gonna stick that glass slipper? Hmmm.  So, do you kids like Pokemon? I always thought Pokemon was from Japan but apparently it's from the same country I am from... England. And I have proof.

Hahahaha. Is that a real Pokemon? I think he has to be my favorite one. Look at is expression. Bellend. Hahaha.  Well, it's getting hot here in Florida and I am so excited that Ben & Jerry's is releasing a brand new ice cream flavor.

I don't know if I would try that one. Now back in the 90s. yes, in a heartbeat.  I listen to a lot of music in my spare time and one thing I noticed about county songs is...

It's true, right?  Okay, I live in Florida and there's some strange stuff that happens in this state that I don't think happens in any other state. It's true. So, that's why I have a pheature called...

Okay. There are so many things that go wrong here that you could stop reading halfway through and be plenty horrified. But don't, because it just gets so strange. Police are looking for a man in Seminole County, Florida after he broke into a woman's apartment, stole her cell phone, and used it to take a picture of her in the shower this week. Ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew. I don't know how one could ever feel clean after that. To make things worse, he posted that photo to her own Facebook page. The violation is coming from inside the phone. This takes those co-worker-taking-advantage-of-your-open-screen pranks to a new and profoundly degrading level. "Having someone actually in your apartment while you are taking a shower is quite scary, honestly," Altamonte Springs police spokesman Rob Pelton told WESH. "Going to get a victim's cell phone and having the gall to stand inside of a residence that you have broken into to steal someone's cell phone and use it to take a picture of them in the shower is unheard of." And now that I have heard of it, I can't unhear of it. Police suspect this is the latest offense from a man they believe was also responsible for peering into windows in that neighborhood and exposing himself two other times that week. In each offense, the suspect is described as a "white male, between 5' 6" and 5' 9", wearing all dark clothing and blue jeans." By that description, they might as well start by arresting everyone on Tinder. Wait, that describes me. Shit.

If you spot the Mindphuck please let me know. I mentioned this on Friday and I have to mention it again today. Real Gone Music released Foghat's "Foghat Live" double platinum album from 1977 on vinyl this past Tuesday. It is an exact, fantastic replica of the original artwork and cutout cover design in 180 gram vinyl. Go to…/foghat-live-vinyl-limited-release-3315/ to purchase a copy.
"Foghat Live" was originally released on August 19th, 1977. It contained only 6 tracks and sold over two million copies... and there's a picture of me inside it. Haha.

Okay, so a good friend wanted to come on and talk about... God I think. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man. You know what time it is.

Good morning, humans. Happy Sunday, phuckerz. Personally, I couldn't care less which God you pray to... or if you even believe in the existence of God. I don't give a rats ass if you pray to a statue of John Stamos. BUT... imposing YOUR will on others in the name of God or in denial of a God is just reprehensible behavior. Killing in the name of your beliefs is just plain stupid. Get your shit together, you twisted little meatpuppets. I'm reasonably certain the even Jesus and Buddha think you're being assholes.

Daylight saving time
Daylight saving time is the practice of adjusting clocks by one hour in order to make it easier for people in 1918 to tend their crops.

The 35th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

My good friend Jeff Trelewicz will be the guest on the Phile tomorrow.

Today's guest is a singer-songwriter from Milwaukee whose latest album "Let It Roll" is available on Bandcamp. I am a big fan of this guy so it's a pleasure to finally have him on the Phile. Please give a warm welcome to... Jonathan Burks.

Me: Hello, Jonathan, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Jonathan: Good thanks!!

Me: I am a big fan and downloaded all your music from iTunes but now your music is not on iTunes anymore. Will it be?

Jonathan: My new material should be up on iTunes in the next few months. Meanwhile you can check out "How to Dance" and "God Talk E.P." on Bandcamp. You can also download a good portion of my material for free on my Soundcloud page (including a bunch of unreleased tracks).

Me: I noticed listening to your music there's a lot of songs about drinking. Do you drink while you write?

Jonathan: Drinking was definitely the theme for "Loudmouth Soup" and "Brown Paper Bag." I don't know if I wrote any of those songs while I was drunk (never had much luck with that) but I'm sure many of them were composed in the cozy haze of the morning after.

Me: What is your favorite drink of choice, Jonathan?

Jonathan: These days, coffee. Black.

Me: I am a beer drinker myself. What is your favorite beer you have ever drunk?

Jonathan: Lakefront's Riverwest Stein. The picture on the bottle is of a church right down the street from me and the original brewery was just around the corner. They're a pretty big operation these days (for a micro-brew). I'm not sure if you can get it in Orlando but they do have some national distribution.

Me: I need to check it out and see. The next time you're in D.C. you have to try Amber Waves from the Capitol City Brewing Company. Speaking of beer and such, you're from Milwaukee, which is known for beer. Do you still live there, Jonathan?

Jonathan: I've had Amber Waves actually. It is a tasty beverage for sure. I do live in Milwaukee. I'm from a smaller city just south of here but I've lived in the same neighborhood in Milwaukee for the past dozen years or so.

Me: Alright, let's talk about your music and stuff. Who did you listen to growing up, Jonathan?

Jonathan: I had a pretty horrible cassette tape collection in middle school... Poison, Whitesnake, Slaughter, Ugly Kid Joe... horrible stuff. Last couple of years of high school I started listening to some hip hop... Public Enemy, Digital Underground, N.W.A.

Me: You kinda remind me of Mojo Nixon. Are you aware of his work?

Jonathan: Not really. I'll check 'em out. I like his name.

Me: I love your full length album "Red Pulpy Mess." Where and when was that album recorded?

Jonathan: "Red Pulpy Mess" was recorded on the Fourth of July, 2010 at Howl Street.

Me: A few songs from it are also on your EP's, am I right?

Jonathan: Yes. That is true. I've been pretty liberal with releasing a couple versions of the same song. I'm not on a label or anything so it's really up to my own discretion at this point.

Me: By the way, how did "Red Pulpy Mess" get to be your album title?

Jonathan: By taking the metaphor of heartbreak a bit further.

Me: I know what that is like, Jonathan. Who is in the band with you, Jonathan?

Jonathan: I'm not currently playing with any one group of people. kinda dipppin' and divin' here and there.

Me: You used to be in a band called Spatula City, am I right? What happened to that band?

Jonathan: We're still around, sorta. Spatula City is basically me and the Hawkman. We did a couple of songs on Halloween, you can check 'em on on my website.

Me: That's a great band name by the way, where did it come from?

Jonathan: Our first bass player came up with it. It's from the Weird Al movie U.H.F.. A store that just sells spatulas. perfect.

Me: Jonathan, let's talk about your latest album "How I Roll." How did that song get to be the album title?

Jonathan: I'm not sure what my reasoning was but I suppose that song represents the album pretty well. There seems to be a thread of tongue-in-cheek cockiness running through the thing. Like, "I know I'm a mess but I'm going to play it off like I'm the shit even though I know I'm not fooling anyone." Or something. It's also kind of a dorky thing to say, "that's how I roll", (I don't think the kids say that much any more). A bit of teasing myself probably played a factor, a foil to the machismo. Also, Anchorman is a hilarious movie and Jack Black is a funny dude.

Me: So, how do you roll?

Jonathan: Like a wagon wheel missing a few spokes.

Me: I LOVE this album, Jonathan. Who plays on it with you?

Jonathan: Milwaukee musicians: Allen Cote: guitar, lap steel, David Gelting: bass Bryan Dorn: drums, Nicholaus Westfahl: piano.  Allen, Dave, Bryan and I tracked the songs live at Howl Street in a day and a half. Later we overdubbed Nick's piano parts at his house. They're all really talented dudes. AND nice.

Me: You have written so many great songs, do you like songwriting?

Jonathan: Thanks!! I do like songwriting. I always feel better when I'm working on something. when a song feels finished and good, it's the best feeling.

Me: There's a ram I think on the cover of "How I Roll." That has to signify something, am I right? 

Jonathan: The cover is a painting called "Horned Sheep" by my friend Joseph Huber (who is also a very talented songwriter and wood-worker). Joe had a painting of a bull that I thought would work thematically with the cheeky title, but his "Horned Sheep" painting made a better album cover, layout wise. But yeah, I think the ram imagery works; conjures stubbornness and hitting your head against things repeatedly.

Me: Jonathan, when did you first start to write songs?

Jonathan: I wrote a bit in middle school and high school in various bands, mostly just guitar parts and some lyrics, in collaboration with other band members. I moved to Milwaukee when I was 19 and without any music partners I needed to learn how to sing so I could write and perform songs on my own. I'm not a 'natural' singer so I really had to start from scratch, playing notes on the guitar and trying to match the pitch. I was living in the UWM dorms at the time and the only place with any kind of privacy was the bathroom. I don't think the acoustics worked in my favor. My apologies to everyone on that floor.

Me: And how old were you when you started to play guitar? I started playing guitar when I was 14. "Sweet Child of Mine" was the first song I learned. I took lessons out of a music store. The lessons were split between theory and jazz chords the first half, and during the second half of the lesson my teacher Jerry would notate and show me how to play whatever MTV rock song I'd bring in. He'd listen and figure out the songs on the spot which I thought was really cool. He called me "dude" because I had long hair. That was funny to him.

Me: I said you remind me of Mojo Nixon but a better comparison I read is that you have been compared to the late great Lou Reed. Do you like that comparison?

Jonathan: I won't complain about any kind of comparison to Lou Reed, however accurate or deserving. He was definitely an influence.

Me: I always wanted to see Lou Reed in concert... have you?

Jonathan: No, I didn't. He didn't come through Milwaukee too often as far as I know.

Me: If you could write or work with anybody, Jonathan, who would it be?

Jonathan: RZA, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Willy Nelson... I dunno. They're all probably pretty busy. I'd be too nervous anyway.

Me: You said you moved to Milwaukee when you were 19. So, where are you from originally?

Jonathan: I'm originally from Racine which is about 30 miles south of here. Racine is also on Lake Michigan. Frank Lloyd Wright built some houses there. We also had the highest murder rate per capita at some point in the 90s. I don't really know if that's true. Somebody told me that once.

Me: Do you do a lot of touring?

Jonathan: I "toured" a couple of times by myself via Amtrak. It was fun-ish but expensive and stressful and as it turns out; I suck at booking tours. It seemed like I really couldn't afford to tour and make albums so I've just been focusing on recording. I don't think I'll ever be a "road dog" but I would like to get out there again.

Me: Well, I hope you come down to Florida to play. Okay, so, on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Ready? If you were offered a seat on the next space shuttle would you take it? Man, that's a good question. I dunno would what I would do. I know some people who would want me to go and not come back. Haha.

Jonathan: I wouldn't want to go out for weeks or months (I would get too claustrophobic) so I probably wouldn't be up for a trip to Mars. But if I could just pop up there for a few hours I'd definitely be into it. I think it'd be amazing to see our planet from space.

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile. Please come back again when your next release comes out. Wanna plug your website?

Jonathan:  You can also reach me on Twitter:  And Facebook:

Me: All the best, Jonathan. Keep writing!

Jonathan: Thanks, Jason!!!

There. That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Laird Jim and of course Jonathan Burks. The Phile will be back tomorrow with author and one of my best friends Jeff Trelewicz and then next Sunday it's Phile Alum Alexis Thompson. 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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