Monday, May 25, 2015

Pheaturing Phile Alum Martin Belmont From Graham Parker And The Rumour

Hello, and welcome to the 800th entry of the Phile! Eight hundred. Can you believe that shit? Not only that but Happy Memorial Day, people. It's also the 38th anniversary of when the first Star Wars movie came out. Man, today is a lot of things. So, did you go out for Memorial Day? May your travels this Memorial Day be less delayed than our veterans' medical treatment. The only traffic I plan to encounter this Memorial Day is on the Internet. Let's commemorate our departed WWII veterans by eating German frankfurters and Italian sausages. I'm honoring Letterman's retirement by sitting around doing nothing this Memorial Day weekend. Yep, I gave been pretty lazy all day. Okay, what is going on?  The ancient city of Palmyra, located in modern day Syria, has been seized by ISIS militants. Many fear the religious fundamentalist group will destroy ancient artifacts of unmeasurable historical significance, as they have in other locations of which they took control. "Mesopotamia, Iraq, Syria, this is the wellspring of global civilization," historian Tom Holland told CNN. "It really couldn't be higher stakes in terms of conservation." Well, I hear these guys are kind of conservative, so maybe they're take that into consideration. Hey, ISIS, Queen Zenobia of Palmyra says hi.

Joe Francis, the man who popularized calypso music through his popular "Girls Gone Wild" beach resort videos... is currently hiding out in Mexico after a federal judge issued an arrest warrant for him on Tuesday, due to his failure to turn over two luxury cars as payment for legal fees. Why is the world always trying to tear down powerful men? Weird that Joe Francis is such a douche when his dad is like the coolest pope ever.  Despite the fact that giant pandas have been eating bamboo exclusively for approximately 2 million years, their digestive tracts are only capable of processing about 17 percent of what they consume, meaning that more than four-fifths of everything they eat goes to waste, according to new research from China. "Unlike other plant-eating animals that have successfully evolved anatomically specialized digestive systems to effectively deconstruct fibrous plant matter, the giant panda still retains a gastrointestinal tract typical of carnivores," the lead researcher explained. The prevaling theory about their existence is that God got super drunk one day. So, I sent to the grocery store the other day and I noticed something that I was offended by...

Ummm... excuse me, we'd preferred to be called "white folk."  I have to share this...

That's great, isn't it? Does anybody know what that comic strip is?  "Lulu" I think, or something like that.  Today's pheatured guest is from England like myself and there's some unusual named places in England lie this one...

That's not funny I know. You know what else is not funny?

Yeah, told you. Makes you think this Memorial Day, right? And now for some sad news...

John Nash 
June 13th, 1928 — May 24th, 2015 
Soon to be maximumly minimal.

In your initial visit to Tomorrowland, you're not really there at all. That's what scientifically-named Casey Newton (The Longest Ride's Britt Robertson) discovers when she first goes there by touching a tiny, metal, "T"-emblazoned pin. She takes three steps and bumps into a wall, knocking her back into the glum present. Tomorrowland is a real place, yes, but she can't quite live there just yet.  Casey and a middle-aged, embittered inventor named Frank Martin (George Clooney, refusing to downsize the twinkle in his eyes enough to convince you that he is truly all that unhappy) are thrown together by a charming British robot-child from the future (Raffey Cassidy... and just go with it) and forced to hop on a Phantom Tollbooth-like ride into poptimism.  See, it turns out that we abandoned Tomorrowland. It was to be a place of progress and miraculous advancements, flying cars and jetpacks. But humanity gave in to negative thinking and naysayers, and all the special people who would have created that gleaming place were squashed by... well, something. That's the official story, at least, from director Brad Bird and his co-screenwriter Damon Lindelof, one that nods in the direction of Objectivism without embracing it, but one that also fails to acknowledge that the real-life disappointing present is actually controlled by extremely powerful, government-influencing, corporate entities, such as oil companies that would gladly ruin the future in the name of profits.  But I digress. Tomorrowland wants to know how one young person (or at least one young person and one old guy and one kid robot) can make the world a better place in spite of everything. And the answer is to re-ignite hope, to re-shape minds, to assert control over our own destinies. Bird and Lindelof's vision is one where "dreamers" win simply by being dreamers and by outsmarting the forces of darkness that attempt to kill those dreams.  The film succeeds as a mechanical process for child audiences, who neither know nor care about the sadness of our collective stalled approach to progress. They will experience Tomorrowland as an exciting, set-piece-based, special effects adventure, and love it for that.  Adult audiences will rightfully notice more, like that it borrows from/references a string of earlier Disney product, both the light and the dark: the company's own theme parks in Anaheim and Orlando, and films as varied as Pollyanna, Peter Pan, The Black Hole, and Meet The Robinsons. But for all those ties to Disney tradition, and for all its self-administered compassion, it's a chilly object, one that just misses in its desire to be moving. As for its refusal to provide a blueprint for the rebooting of that glorious utopian future, that must be what's on tap for a sequel. From 1 to 10 I give Tomorrowland a 7. 

This is a really hard one. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. "Nancy"... that comic strip is called "Nancy." It literally just came to me. Moving on... well, it's Memorial Day and a friend of the Phile wanted to come on and say something about today. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man... you know what time it is.

Good afternoon humans... Happy Memorial Day... I have always detested the need for war. Not the idea of it, but the need for it. To be honest, the idea of cutting through an enemy like a chainsaw through butter gives me an erection. You pick a fight with someone for no reason... then by God, you'd better be prepared for that someone to burn you down and piss on your ashes. What I'm speaking of is the need for humans to go to war. John Lennon said it best... "Nothing to kill or die for..." Wise words indeed. We can all imagine a world where there's no need for war... but the reality of it is this... we live in a world where there are equal portions served up of GOOD and EVIL. While the Good wish for sunshine and romance and peace on Earth... The Evil wish for nothing more than a chance at killing the Good. For this reason... I am grateful for those out there who are willing to stand and fight. Good men and women... willing to commit unspeakable acts and unleash havoc... in order to destroy Evil. Anyway.... now, you sons of bitches know how I feel... enjoy your burgers. 
At some point during today take a moment away from eating grilled animal flesh, drinking WAY too much... and hoping others didn't notice you just puked behind the pool house... and remember the REASON you're off on Monday. Because an American soldier willingly and proudly gave their life to protect your right to be a drunken, drooling mess. As you were, my freaky little darlings...

Memorial Day
Memorial Day is a U.S. holiday honoring the military men and women no longer on a VA hospital waiting list.

This is so bloody cool for my 800th entry... today's pheatured guest is a Phile Alum who is a member of one of my favorite bands ever... Graham Parker and the Rumour. They have a new album out called "Mystery Glue" which is available on Amazon and iTunes. Please welcome back to the Phile, the great Martin Belmont!

Me: Hello, Martin, welcome back to the Phile for its 800th entry. How are you?

Martin: Hello. I'm good.

Me: I have to say I am so excited that Graham Parker and the Rumour have a new album out. When "Three Chords Good" came out in 2012 I wondered if you guys would all record another album, and I am sure a lot of GP's fans did as well. Did you guys or was it discussed back then you guys were gonna record a second album?

Martin: When we were recording "Three Chords Good" and filming later that year (2011) we were just concentrating on the present. It wasn't until 2013 around the U.K. tour that I seem to remember GP talking of a new album which we then recorded in April 2014.

Me: You guys must be having a lot of fun playing together. Does it seem like the old days again? 

Martin: We have a lot of fun playing together and it is so enjoyable because we are... well... just so dammed good together.

Me: I have my copy of the new album "Mystery Glue" and really like it. But then again I never disliked anything Graham has done. Anyway, how would you compare this album to "Three Chords Good"?

Martin: I find it hard to compare albums. I would just say that this one is maybe a better sounding record. As you would expect all the songs are great on both albums... "Mystery Glue" has more swing rhythms on it but apart from that they are both albums packed with great songs performed by a combination of great players!

Me: Martin, where was the album recorded and who produced it?

Martin: Rak Studios in London. Produced by Graham and Dave Cook.

Me: Did you all write the songs together or did Graham present the songs to the band?

Martin: Graham writes the songs as always. Then we play them as a collaboration of his directions and our contributions on arrangements, etc.

Me: Do you and Graham and the other guys on the band share the same musical tastes?

Martin: We share a whole lot of musical tastes... we are all of a similar age, give or take, so have a lot of the same influences.

Me: On this album and other Graham Parker and Rumour albums in the past there's always been a slight reggae sound, with rock, and soul. How do you think these all mix to make the bands sound unique, Martin?

Martin: Well, as you just said... soul, reggae, rock, pop are the basic ingredients that makes us sound the way we do. Take a little Dylan, Van, Stones, Motown, Otis, Beatles, rockabilly, Marley... stuff from the 50s, 60s and 70s and stir until it comes out as Graham Parker and the Rumour.

Me: So, I have to ask, do you have a favorite track on this album?

Martin: No, I like them all equally!

Me: I was told to ask you this the last time I interviewed you... what is your favorite GP album of all time?

Martin: "Howling Wind," "Stick to Me," "Squeezing out Sparks," "Three Chords Good" and "Mystery Glue." Can't pick just one!

Me: This album took a little bit longer to record than the previous album, am I right, or did it just seem that way to me?

Martin: No, it took about the same time to record (a week). There was a gap of a few months before it was mixed then a long gap before it was released.

Me: I have to ask you about the album title... "Mystery Glue." Where did that title come from, Martin?

Martin: It's in the song "Long Shot." You heard of dark matter? That's the stuff that holds the universe together but nobody can see it... GP thinks it should be called mystery glue instead and I think he's right!

Me: Would you care what ever he wanted to name the album? Shit, if I was in the band he could call the album anything he wanted.

Martin: Not at all. I think generally he comes up with great titles.

Me: I have to ask you about the cover as well... it has definitely a 70s look to it. Is that what you guys were going for?

Martin: I have only seen the front cover which looks great and a little weird which is appropriate.

Me: Who did the cover art? It's so good.

Martin: I don't know who did the artwork. I don't have a copy yet so I haven't seen the credits!

Me: You guys are about to go on the road... when was the last time you all played together?

Martin: U.K. and Europe tour last summer.

Me: Have you been practicing and learning any songs that you guys haven't played together before? 

Martin: We'll be rehearsing in Minneapolis before the first date but we all do our home work for songs we haven't played live before.

Me: Martin, how would you compare audiences in America to audiences in England?

Martin: On the recent tours all the audiences have been brilliant whichever side of the Atlantic they are. There is a lot of love out there towards us.

Me: And do you have a favorite city to play in?

Martin: No favourite city! Love them all.

Me: The first time you were here, Martin, you were promoting Ducks Deluxe. How is that band going?

Martin: Ducks Deluxe have ceased to be.

Me: What? That's a shame. Alright, so on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Ready? What makes you a good teacher? That's stupid, I'll change it. What makes you a good guitar player?

Martin: If I am a good guitar player it's because I learned from great players like Scotty Moore, James Burton, George Harrison, Robbie Robertson, Ry Cooder, Lowell George, Chuck Berry, Hubert Sumlin and many more. Notice there are no hard rock/heavy metal/100 notes a second type players in this list and no young people!

Me: Haha. Yeah, I noticed. Martin, thanks so much for being back on the Phile. Tell Graham I would love to interview him again for the third time or anybody in the Rumour. Take care, and please come back again soon.

Martin: Okay. I'll tell Graham and bye for now.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Laird Jim and of course Martin Belmont. The Phile will be back next Sunday with Canadian singer Carman Townsend. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Be safe driving out there this Memorial Day.

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

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