Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Pheaturing Sharon Mok And Katie Weissman From Tiny Rhymes

Hey there, welcome back to the Phile. How are you? Did you miss me? I am so confused. There is a Bush and Clinton running for president, a Jurassic dinosaur movie is number one in the box office and a Terminator movie is coming out next month. It's bloody crazy.  So, let me get this straight... since the last post a few weeks ago the confederate flag is out and the rainbow flag is in. Anyway, we'll talk about that in a minute. First things first... it's summer, kids. May you find the perfect vacation spot to fight with your family. Just kidding. I do have to say congratulations on surviving the period between your kids being in school and your kids being away at camp.  Okay, and now for this gay marriage situation... My Facebook feed looks like a battle broke out between the Confederate Army and a Skittles factory. That guy on your Facebook who says "it's called the WHITE House" will fucking hate this.

A Texas comic book store had a very unusual "Closed—Come Back Later" sign.

Thank goodness this ruling didn't come down on a Wednesday, or a lot of nerds would have missed out on new comics. Which is the only way I can think of that same-sex marriage would have hurt anyone. Congrats on America being a little closer to the ideals of justice for which so many superheroes have fought and died (and been brought back for reboots).  Chuck Netzhammer, a resident of Slidell, Louisiana, went to Walmart to have a cake printed with the words "Heritage Not Hate" superimposed on a Confederate flag, because America. Walmart denied his request. A few days later, he returned and requested a cake with the ISIS flag printed on it. They complied to his request. Chuck made a 2-minute long YouTube video about the incident, with the paperwork and cake to back up his evidence. As a self-proclaimed loyal customer, he wanted to make a point about the political hypocrisy of Walmart's bakery department. I should also mention that he delivered the first part of his complaint from his dirt bike. Ridiculously clear flag debates aside, I think another important question we have to ask here is did Chuck eat the cake?! Don't get me wrong, ISIS is terrible, but so is wasting cake. Is it more ethical if he scraped off the flag? It's a truly confounding moral inquiry. Walmart responded by apologized for the incident with the following statement: "An associate in a local store did not know what the design meant and made a mistake. The cake should not have been made and we apologize." Sadly, this is not the only ridiculous ISIS flag-related news item today.  After Friday's SCOTUS ruling, there was no shortage of homophobic news reports over the weekend, but this one is just baffling. On Saturday, CNN International reporter Lucy Pawle devoted a whole segment to this flag she saw flying during the Gay Pride Parade in London.

She described it as “an attempt to mimic the ISIS flag, the black-white flag with distinctive lettering." She also mentioned in the report that the symbols weren't Arabic. She was right about that part. They weren't even letters. The flag actually depicted a selection of sex toys: dildos, butt plugs, and more. You know, the kind of stuff ISIS would behead you for using. The best part is that Pawle apparently called the police to report the flag. I would love to hear a cop explaining to her what anal beads are.  Did anybody watch the BET Awards Sunday night? There were a lot of big winners: Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé (who wasn't there), Rihanna's roll of tape… and there was also one big loser: P. Diddy, who fell down a hole. The 45 year old rapper/impresario was performing during the much-hyped Bad Boy reunion when he forgot about a trapdoor in the stage, out of which Lil' Kim had just risen. He danced right into the gap in a moment of physical comedy worthy of Buster Keaton. TV viewers saw him drop out of frame, then crawl out moments later like an old man who fell in the toilet.  Elon Musk may want to change the world and everything orbiting it, but he's got his work cut out for him. His dreams for a better future apparently need some tweaking, or else we're all going to die in a ball of fire. One of Musk's pet projects is SpaceX, his reusable space rocket company. On Sunday, one of SpaceX's unmanned Dragon rockets launched from Cape Canaveral on a supply mission to the International Space Station. Minutes after liftoff, the rocket exploded in midair. Maybe they should work on making their rockets usable, before tackling the whole reusable thing. The spacecraft was carrying more than 2 tons of supplies, including 1,500 pounds of food and other provisions. The crew still has four months' worth of food on board, but I'm sure it was heartbreaking for them to watch the malomars they asked for going up in smoke. By the way, is it me or does Elon Musk sound like a name out of Star Wars?  So, I went to to book store the other day and I walked by the children's section and was surprised to see this...

What?! It doesn't even make sense.  So, this whole Confederate flag business... they are gonna remove it from the top of the General Lee from "The Dukes of Hazzard." I had no idea what they were gonna replace it with until I saw this...

Yeah, I guess that would work.  Jake Lloyd, the kid that played young Anakin in Star Wars 
was arrested after getting into a high-speed chase with cops and crashing into a tree. That's not at all surprising considering if you saw The Phantom Menace.

Over my break I saw that new dinosaur movie and one scene really confused me...

I have no idea why The Avengers made an appearance.  It's summer, and in the last summer's on the Phile I have showed you some very interesting bikini's. This summer is no different, kids.

All the excitement of novelty 1970s platform shoes, with none of the class. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, new York, here is...

You know, the best thing about doing the Phile in the afternoon is I can drink a Sam Adams Summer Ale at the same time. Haha. Anyway...
Top Phive Things Overheard Between The Two Escaped New York State Convicts
5. I'm so excited for Jurassic World! Do you think there'll be an escaped-convict discount?
4. We should mail these postcards now, while we have the chance!
3. Man, how lucky are we? Every time we get hungry, there's a fresh pie cooling on a windowsill!
2. I don't care how tense you say you are... I am NOT giving you another slow, languorous back rub!
And the number one thing overheard between the two escaped convicts is...
1. I swear to God, if you don't stop whistling the freakin' "Diff'rent Strokes" theme song...

Jack Carter 
June 24th, 1922 — June 28th, 2015
You know what is funny about this guy? Nothing. I swear. Nothing whatsoever. He had some comedy shows, but that doesn't help me. Nothing weird or interesting ever happened to him, and I can't even make fun of his name. Today SUCKS.

Patrick Macnee 
February 6th, 1922 — June 25th, 2015 
"The Avengers"? Good. Lobster Man from Mars? GENIUS.

Dick Van Patten 
December 9th, 1928 — June 23rd, 2015
Eight is clearly no longer enough.

Nelson Doubleday 
July 20th, 1933 — June 17th, 2015
For someone who owned a publishing company and a baseball team, this guys life was about as exciting as watching flies fuck.

Kirk Kerkorian
June 6th, 1917 — June 15th, 2015
Super rich guy who donated tons of money to worthy causes, treated his family and friends well, was never an egomaniac, and never had any kind of scandal. This guy is of NO use to me.

A doctor is like a WebMD that doesn't suggest your headache might be cancer.

Today's guests are two members of the Canadian band Tiny Rhymes whose latest EP "A Kinder History' is available on Soundcloud and iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Sharon Mok and Katie Weissman.

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

Sharon: We’re doing well, thanks! It’s currently bright and beautiful in Buffalo, and all our zombies have flown north for the summer.

Me: Buffalo? Sharon, you're from Canada or New York?

Sharon: I grew up in Canada (Kitchener, Ontario) and went to college in Ontario. I’ve only lived in Buffalo the past few years for work.

Me: Okay, well,  Q: I always ask my Canadian interviewees if they like of one of my favorite bands Barenaked Ladies. Well?

Sharon: Haha. I can’t comment, but I will say that even if I had a million dollars I’d find myself lying in bed, just like Brian Wilson did. One week ago, I walked into the old apartment and said, “pinch me." It hurt.

Me: Nice. Katie, where are you from?

Katie: I grew up in Amherst, NY... a suburb of Buffalo.

Me: So, how did you two meet each other?

Sharon: Word of mouth. While looking for a cellist to play an upcoming gig, I asked a friend of Katie’s who recommended her right away, and we have never looked back.

Me: Where is the band based?

Sharon: Buffalo, NY.

Me: Oh. Haha. I introduced you as a Canadian band. Oh, well. Sharon, you're the lead singer in Tiny Rhymes, am I right?

Sharon: Yes! I’m the lead singer and primary song writer.

Me: You started off playing piano but switched to guitar... was it an easy switch?

Sharon: It took a lot of effort for me, actually. In Canada, most kids learn music theory in conjunction with music lessons, and that did a lot to help me translate between the two instruments. 

Me: How old were you when you started to play piano first?

Sharon: Six years old. I am a lucky girl.

Me: You grew up on Chinese opera and classical music, am I right?

Sharon: I grew up playing classical piano, but on afternoons I would spend time with my grandmother in the kitchen, and she always had the radio on the Chinese station, which had news and traditional music. I actually didn’t like Chinese opera while growing up, but the melodies are always there in my head. In 2008 I took a trip to China and fell in love with erhu music...

Me: What's that?

Sharon: Chinese cello/violin. My erhu lessons didn’t stick, and I started singing the melodies I wanted to hear.

Me: I have to ask my friend Michelle who lived in China for a year if she heard of erhu. Are your parents from China?

Sharon: They both immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong/ Kowloon when they were high school age. My dad is a classically trained pianist and my mom plays the recorder, so I was exposed to a lot of classical music when I was little. My dad also listened to the Beatles and the Presidents of the USA, and my mom would put on Joni Mitchell and Mary Chapen Carpenter. I think the first tape I had was a Paula Abdul album, and I definitely owned Hanson's CD.

Me: Katie, how long have you been playing a cello?

Katie: Twenty-five years.

Me: Do you know Anna Jarvis? She plays cello as well.

Katie: No.

Me: I just saw you both know Adam Bentley who is like a Canadian music legend... haha. How do you two know him?

Sharon: We’re clients of his... he does great work at Auteur Research. We know him through friends of ours, The Nursery (a Toronto based band).

Me: Okay, so, who founded Tiny Rhymes?

Sharon: It grew organically. It started off as the need to fill out songs for a one-off gig and bloomed into more after the first show. For a minute we were called The Coywolves. That didn't last!

Me: Where did the name come from?

Katie: Tiny Rhymes is a play on Sharon’s Chinese name, 小韻.

Sharon: My family is Cantonese, and my mom gave me that name to match my sister’s name which starts with the same character.

Me: What does the name mean?

Sharon: “Small poem/rhyme” and it can mean musical articulation or literally music. I know musicians with my name’s character tattooed somewhere on their bodies, as I think a decade ago it was combined with another character and passed around as a tattoo that meant “beautiful music." A great get for my mom, but I believe the era of Chinese character tattoos has ended.

Me: By the way, I love this pic of you both dressed the same I saw on Facebook.

Me: You two must bet along great, am I right? Does the whole band get along?

Sharon: Yes, it’s been a really lucky situation where we get along musically and have a great time together!

Me: Who else is in the band by the way apart from you two?

Sharon: Kathryn Koch- violin, Brendan Fitzgerald- drums, Tony Iannone- bass.

Me: You have a new single called "Arrows." It's a really nice song. Sharon, did you write that song or does everybody write?

Sharon: Yes, I wrote that tune and arranged it with Katie and Kathryn, who wrote the string parts. The vocal harmonies at the end were actually written with a friend of mine and former bandmate, Corey Bzibziak. The glockenspiel part you hear was arranged by Dan Schwach.

Me: "A Kinder History" is the name of the EP... where did that name come from?

Sharon: It's a lyric from "Arrows"! It's about choosing a flattering narrative to present yourself as better than you actually were in the past-time erases some awkwardness from youth or inexperience but I'm sure we'd all like to think we've grown up and matured on our own. By writing this, I wanted to spare both me and my ex from awkward memories.

Me: So, does Tiny Rhymes play a lot of shows?

Sharon: We used to play two shows a month but we've calmed down a bit to regroup and write.

Me: Alright, so, on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Do you prefer to play inside or outside?

Sharon: Inside! There are too many ways our instruments could get injured outside... rain, humidity, heat, sunlight, etc.

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile. Mention your websites and continued success. Please come back soon. All the best.

Sharon: Our website is tinyrhymesmusic.com, twitter handle is @tinyrhymesmusic and on Instagram/Facebook we're tinyrhymes. Our EP is on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Spotify, and iTunes.  Thank you for chatting with us!

Me: No problem. Take care.

That about does it for this entry. Thanks to Sharon and Katie from Tiny Rhymes. The Phile will be back tomorrow with trumpet player Jeff Osten. 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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