Sunday, May 17, 2015

Pheaturing Justin Ross From The Bandicoots

Hello there, and welcome to the Phile for a Sunday. Man, the pollen counts are so high that junkies are trying to convert their meth back into Sudafed. My eyes are running, my nose is running... it's either the pollen count or I've been crying.  Anyway, the news that Harry Shearer is leaving "The Simpsons" hit the Internet like a ton of bricks this past week, reminding millions of people that the ground-breaking animated comedy is still on the air. The show's producer James L. Brooks, however, is still hoping that he can talk the actor... who provides the voice for roughly eight-sevenths of the characters on The Simpsons into staying onboard, taking his frustrations over contract negotiations to Twitter, where most business deals are hammered out these days.  Texas's conservative-led House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee voted 5-2 in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana use for adults last week. This is a pretty big deal from a cultural and legal perspective. No subset of a legislative body in the nation has backed marijuana legalization before. However, as Governor Greg Abbott has promised to veto any such bill that came across his desk, this effort has as much chance of surviving the full legislative process as a joint does of making it all the way through a Bob Marley cover band's Tuesday night rehearsal. Disappointed the Texas marijuana bill wasn't referred to a joint committee.  George Miller's newest installment of his Mad Max post-apocalyptic action series is getting great response from critics and audiences alike, putting it on track to knock Avengers: Age of Ultron from the top spot at the box office and garnering a 99 percent popularity score on Rotten Tomatoes. Who'd have thought that a speculative docudrama about the after effects of a Clinton presidency would prove so popular?  The United States is poised to burn through the final few million of the Internet's original 4.3 billion Internet Protocol addresses by the end of the summer. Luckily, we'll seamlessly be able to switch over from the IPv4 system we're currently using to a newer IPv6 system that has 340 undecillion addresses, 5 undecillion of which will not immediately be snatched up for porn.  I was meant to mention this last week McDonald's revealed it is changing the face of one of its most iconic brand ambassadors. After over 13 years out of the public eye, the Hamburglar is back with a new douchey look...

Why must our trusted corporations change the original characters they brainwashed us into identifying with in the first place? Hamburglar was just settling into the cozy corporate nostalgia part of my brain, right next to that insanely obnoxious Zima guy! Sure, the original Hamburglar's appearance raised some questions. Why the cape? How did he eat burgers with only one tooth? What horrific birth defect caused his giant, goofy head and hilarious speech impediment? But he was a lovable loser, just like everyone who tries to order McDonald's breakfast after 10:30am. The new Hamburglar just looks like a date rapist from a Dick Tracy comic strip. He seems to have a compelling backstory, though. McDonald's suggests the Hamburglar went straight, moved to the suburbs with his wife, and fathered a son... that's right, guys! The Hamburglar got laid! Unfortunately, the siren song of sirloin burgers causes him to relapse to his criminal ways. YOU'RE MAKING BURGERS ALREADY, YOU DON'T NEED TO STEAL THEM, HAMBURGLAR! Let's hope McDonald's doesn't boldly reimagine any other classic McDonaldland characters or they'll turn Mayor McCheese into Frank Underwood and Grimace into Terry Crews in body paint.  So, talking of food, did you see the new kinda Oreo's that are coming out?

I might have to try them.  Man, people are still making jokes about that whole Patriots football story. Check it out.

Haha. I'm sooo glad that this didn't happen to the Giants.  So, last week I showed you how lazy the world is getting with talking, thanks to emoticons. Even biographies that are coming out are using them. Here's a new one...

Haha. That's really funny. Alright, now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this weeks...

Top Phive Startling Similarities And Differences Between The New Hamburglar And "American Idol"
5. Is heavy on cheesy costumes and forced humor.
4. Is considered "kind of lame" by Ryan Seacrest.
3. Will soon be scrapped due to widespread disinterest.
2. Was a much better concept in 2002.
And the number one thing similar and different between the new Hamburlgar and "American Idol" is...
1. Makes Ruben Studdard think about eating hamburgers.

B.B. King 
September 16th, 1925 — May 14th, 2015
The thrill is really gone now.

If you spit the Mindphuck let me know. Alright, guess what time it is. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man. It's...

Legend has it that B.B. King's famous guitar, Lucille got her name when the blues master was playing a juke joint down south. A fight broke out between two men over a woman. During the fight, a fire somehow started and the club evacuated to avoid the growing flames. B.B. King ran back into the burning building (nearly being killed) to retrieve his precious six string. After emerging from the building, he asked the name of the beauty who caused all the ruckus. Her name was... Lucille. So, that piece of shit who perpetrated the Boston Marathon bombing was just sentenced to the death penalty by lethal injection. My only hope is that there is a malfunction in the process and he dies a slow agonizing death... twitching on the table like Katherine Hepburn on a roller coaster. Got a problem with ANY part of what you just read? Fine, I'm allergic to stupid anyway... you won't be missed one bit.

Today's pheatured guest is the lead singer for the Canadian band The Bandicoots whose new CD is available on Bandcamp. Please welcome to the Phile... Justin Ross.

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

Justin: Nice to be here. I’m doing well, thanks. I’d ask how you were doing, but they’re not called “Question & Answer & Question & Answer’s”, right?!

Me: Haha, No, you can ask me. I'm doing okay I guess. You're from Canada, right? What part?

Justin: Yup. Hamilton, Ontario!

Me: So... let me guess, do you know Adam Bentley by any chance? It seems like everyone in Hamilton that's on the music scene knows Adam. What has he been up too?

Justin: Haha, yeah, we do. He’s sort of the go-to PR Man around here, so I’m not surprised. From what I know, he’s been taming a tiny little kitten, and grooming a very respectable mustache.

Me: I like to ask my Canadian guests if they are fans of one of my favorite bands... Barenaked Ladies. Are you a fan of them, Justin?

Justin: Before I answer that, I have to say that my girlfriend and I were just talking about how she is planning on joining an all-girls cover band, and naming it Barenaked Men. Probably going to get a different crowd than the ladies did... To answer your questions, that Pepsi CD is so firmly implanted in my mind, that I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t think “dijon ketchup” every time I buy some Heinz.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your band The Bandicoots. I love that band name. How did you guys come up with it?

Justin: Wish I could say the same! Haha, even if you think the name is cool, I know for a fact that how I came up with it isn’t. I honestly typed “cool words that start with a ‘B’” into Google, just because I wanted our name to sit close to The Beatles in a record collection.

Me: How long has the band been together, Justin?

Justin: We’re saying 8 months, officially. But that’s a story for another interview!

Me: You just came out with your first EP "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things." First of, how did that title get to be the title and why all lower case letters?

Justin: The title came from an inside joke we had with our producer, Michael Keire (Threshold Studios). The phrase sort of just kept popping up throughout our recording sessions, and we wanted to try and incorporate the studio into our music, as much as possible. It’s half the reason why the EP sounds so good. As for the lower case letters... Nicolai (our guitar player) did the text for the art, so I’m not sure. Maybe the guy was just reliving those Comic Sans’MSN days. I couldn’t tell you.

Me: I love the song and video "Mind Your Manors."... I love a good pun. Are you the main songwriter, and did you come up with that yourself, Justin?

Justin: Haha, thank you. At least you didn’t correct it like a lot of blogs have been doing. I write the lyrics and often get a song rolling, but it’s all four of us that really make it a Bandicoot song. 
Yeah, that line somehow found its way into my head. I’m really into stuff like Monty Python, so that British-style word play probably stems from that. 

Me: What is the song about?

Justin: I came up with that after not being able to sleep for a couple nights, and some friends and I found our way into The Manor in Guelph. The title came from there, but the story happened when we were 18, at some other club, in Montreal. I don’t want to spoil the fun, so you’ll have to figure out the rest.

Me: The video is very clever and looked like it was a whole lot of fun to make... was it?

Justin: Definitely. People will let you do almost anything, as long as someone has a camera.

Me: Where was the video filmed?

Justin: Everything was shot in Hamilton, split between Jackson Sqaure and Limerdige Mall. But if anyone asks, they were replica sets. We really weren’t suppose to use most of our footage.

Me: Tell the readers what the concept of the video is.

Justin: We just thought it was a funny idea, really. Searching for Waldo, but then he finds you. Ha, hilarious!

Me: Did you know in England Waldo is named Wally? Those books originated in England.

Justin: No, not until some English writers started letting us know. I think I like Wally better, but my Canadian ego won’t let me admit that.

Me: Were you a fan of the "Where's Waldo" books growing up?

Justin: Of course. That and "Goosebumps"!

Me: Have you guys been playing many shows since you guys formed?

Justin: Yup. That’s one of the best parts about being in a band. For a while, we would only occasionally dip our toes out of Hamilton, but recently, most of our shows have been out of town. We have lots planned for the summer, maybe we can come visit you over there, with Wally.

Me: I am guessing you guys do a lot of covers, or at least a few in your shows. Who and what songs do you cover?

Justin: We honestly write like madmen. We have about 20 original songs under our belt by now. But we always throw in a cover, just for fun. We’ve been digging playing “All My Loving” by The Bealtes. I think our most interesting covers have been "Digital Witness" by St. Vincent, and "Temptation Greets You Like Your Naughty Friend" by Arctic Monkeys. We had our friend EMAY come up and do Dizzy’s part on that tune at our EP Release.

Me: What music did you listen to growing up?

Justin: My mom usually played stuff like Elvis Presley and Stray Cats around the house. And my grandpa would sing stuff from Glenn Miller and Patsy Cline. A bit later I was introduced to Queens of the Stone Age, and stuff like that. Although, when I could go buy my first records, I went straight for Metallica/Megadeth.
Oh, and BNL.

Me: There's four of you in the band... did you all know each other growing up?

Justin: Lorant and I met in middle school (because of our shared loved for Metallica, actually). I knew of Andrew, from the skate park and all that, but since we’re a couple years apart, we never really hung out or anything. And the first time I met Nicolai was at one of our jams. Andrew and I both worked at McDonald’s, and one of our work friends was friends with a guitar player. I don’t think Nick said a word during that jam. 
We’ve been best buds ever since.

Me:  So, how long did it take you to record this EP and was it hard to pick out the songs for it?

Justin: Until we’re famous and loaded, the recording process is pretty tight. You book out a weekend, and get in there Friday night to set up. Saturday and Sunday are left to record it all. Then mixing and mastering is done over a few weeks. It’s really quick. 
For this EP, the song choice was sort of obvious. It’s this second EP (that we’re going in to record next weekend... keep in mind, even though we just released the EP, we recorded it almost a year ago) that has been giving us trouble. We’ve written too many good songs! I’m sure we’ll be deciding and re-deciding right up to the Friday.

Me: Okay, on the Phile I try and remember to ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Ready? This is dumb. How did you know when you were "grown-up?" I don't think I ever grew up myself.

Justin: That’s cool. Hmm. I think when I began to trust my own judgement. But I’m not sure if that’s grown-up... I think I’m more childish than I’ve ever been. Maybe that’s what growing up is. Who knows?

Me: Justin, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Tell Adam hi the next time you run into him. Please come back on the Phile again when your next release comes out.

Justin: Thanks for having us, we’d love if you had us back!

Me: Good luck, continued success.

Justin: You too, Phile.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. The Phile will be back tomorrow with hip-hop singer Young Stella. 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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