Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Pheaturing Jeff Oster

Hello, welcome to another entry of the Phile, how are you? People are still talking about this whole gay marriage thing. Let me tell you, my Facebook feed looks like a fight broke out between Lynyrd Skynyrd and a Skittles factory. You know what I'm talking about. People asked me what I really thought of this. Well, I just want gay married couples to be able to protect their marijuana plants with a gun under their Confederate flag. I do have to say congratulations on obtaining the same rights as straight couples to a lifetime of sexless suburban drudgery though. I'm guessing the next apocalypse will be a real fucking rainbow. Okay, enough about this right now.  As you probably know, Saturday is July 4th or Independence Day. I'm English so don't celebrate any such thing. Haha. Independence Day reminds me how fortunate we are to live in a country that eschews violent street protests in favor of snarky blog commentary. Let's celebrate America by seeing a blockbuster action sequel that embodies everything appalling about America. Also let's enjoy one of the last Independence Days before our complete dependence on China.  The (nonexistent) debate surrounding the Confederate flag has led some savvy people to uncover another example of how racism pervades everyday life in America. Have you seen the official flag of the aptly-named Whitesboro, New York? Let's just say, it sends kind of a weird message. Here it is in case you haven't seen it.

Yeeeaahhhhhhh. Are you seeing what I'm seeing? Does it vaguely resemble a white dude subduing a Native American in a chokehold? Yeahhhhhh... It's supposed to depict Whitesboro founder Hugh White wrestling with a Native American. The logo was instituted in the 1970s, after the original iteration had been protested by Native American groups. Yeah, this is the less offensive version of the flag. The image has been the source of debate amongst local residents for quite some time. The pre-1970s flag depicted White's hands on the Native American's neck, so the town changed it to depict White's hands on his shoulders in order to make the wrestling seem more fun and less murder-y. A mayor suggested changing it again around a decade ago, but was met with resistance from local officials. It was challenged yet again a few years ago, when a different mayor defended it, stating that it "portrays a legendary, friendly wrestling match that White won, thereby gaining the local Indians' respect." Maybe they could change it so the Native American is on top? Nah. They probably won't do that. They'll probably just change it so they're holding hands and smiling.  Seniors these days are more active than ever before. And sometimes that's a bad thing. Take Phillis Stankiewicz, for example. The 88 year old woman from Pittsfield, Massachusetts is still spry at her age, as two unfortunate cops found out on Thursday. The officers came to her door after being informed of a dispute involving someone with a baseball bat. Stankiewicz eventually answered the door, holding a knife that she brandished at the officers' stomachs. She kept yelling at them, "There's no crime here! Get out of my house!" The officers tried to calm her down and get the knife away from her, at which point she slapped one of them in the face. That's when they arrested her. After the arrest, the police dispatcher confirmed that the officers had gone to the wrong address. The person with the bat was actually a block north. Still, knife beats bat. I'd say those cops should be commended for the upgrade.
Have you kids tried the new Google auto-tagging algorithm for Google Photos? Well, it turned out to be a racist asshole. Google, which is the home to Blogspot, which is the home to the Phile, has never been afraid to roll out experimental new technology and let users catch the bugs. It's actually the best way to develop software. But that philosophy fails when your software starts spewing racial slurs. Jacky Alciné is a computer programmer from Brooklyn, NY. He uploaded a number of pictures to Google Photos this week, and got a nasty surprise. A new update to the app allows it to automatically tag pictures and sort them into categories based on similarity to sample images. Basically, the app knows what photos are of food, landscapes, buildings, people, and animals. Or it's supposed to. The app sorted the photos of Alciné and a friend of his into an album labelled "gorillas." Considering that "gorilla" is a slur for black people, and that both Alciné and his friend are black, that's pretty bad. What's worse is that these photos were singled out from a larger collection, the rest of which were properly labeled. I have to say though Google's devs immediately went to work fixing the error. First, they removed the "gorilla" tag entirely, but a more permanent solution will take a lot of work.
Good work, Google. Here's one step you can take to prevent it from happening again: don't get racist great-grandfathers to write your software.  Congratulations, Internet-dwellers, your improbable fantasies about Jennifer Lawrence will no longer require an elaborate prologue in which you convince her that you are a better dating partner than Chris Martin, lead singer of the money factory known as Coldplay. Now you can skip straight to the implausible part of her actually maintaining eye contact with you and not calling security, because J-Law and C-Mart (or "LawMart" as they should have been called) are done-zos. Finito. On the outs. They've moved to Splitsville, population: them. Like a parrot pining for the fjords, they are no more. What is it about Independence Day that sparks break-ups? Oh, right. The Independence. They've broken up.  So, with this whole Confederate flag business and the gay marriage thing, I think maybe there should be a brand new flag. And here it is...

That should make everyone happy, right?  Have you seen Hillary's new campaign poster? I saw it and was kinda confused.

Weird, right?  Video games are getting a jump on this whole gay marriage thing. Check out this shot from the newest Mortal Kombat game.

Haha. I think it's Mortal Kombat.  Have you seen the new Jurassic World movie? I think they took some liberties with the special effects this go around.

Haha. That's stupid.  One of the things I do for fun is go on Twitter and look up certain words and one of those words is "Foghat." This is a Tweet I recently saw...

What is her Foghat joke I wonder?  Well, summer is here and one of my favorite things about summer is the bikini so once again all through summer I will be showing you some unusual bikinis.

It's like a ghost is trying to save us from seeing her boobs. Haha. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, NY, here is another...

Top Phive Things On The Gay Agenda List After Legalize Gay Marriage
5. Buy cute underwear.
4. Mandatory brunch.
3. "Golden Girls" reboot.
2. Bring back 2001 Britney.
And the number one thing on the gay agenda list after legalize marriage...
1. Stricter punishment for sandal/sock violators.

I forgot to post the Mindphuck in yesterday's entry and a lot of you told me so here is yesterday's one...

If you spot the Mindphucks then let me know. Good luck. Okay, so you might've heard on the news that churches in the south are being burnt down. Well, a friend of the Phile wanted to say something about it. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man. You know what time it is...

So... Now, you're burning churches down south... really, mutherphuckerz? You know what? You've just made me turn a corner on this issue. Fuck you. Fuck your flag. I hope the richest gay man in the world buys up the rights to ALL "Dukes of Hazzard" TV shows and movies and digitally paints a gay pride flag on top of Bo & Luke's '69 Charger... and while we're at it let's change the name from General Lee to Richard Simmons. Fuck you, you fucking backwoods, cousin humping, inbred, neanderthal FUCKS!

Laird, tell us what you really think. Hahaha. Okay, today's guest is a talented trumpet player whose latest album "next" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Jeff Oster.

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

Jeff: Hi, Jason, I'm feeling fantastic, hopeful, and tapping my foot in anticip............ation.

Me: You've been described as Miles Davis meets Pink Floyd. What the hell? What do you think of that comparison and are you fans of both?

Jeff: I love it in EVERY way! Miles, who never stood still, and Pink Floyd, who you could never pin down. Both groundbreaking, both unique, and as long as I can capture a bit of both, even the TINIEST bit, then I'm serving up a Saucerful of Bitches Brew, and all is right in my corner of the world. And hopefully yours!

Me: Who are your influences, Jeff?

Jeff: Steely Dan, Miles, Yes, Alice Cooper, The Orb, William Ackerman, Tangerine Dream, Til Bronner, Pink Floyd and Herb Alpert... And way more!

Me: Okay, where are you from?

Jeff: Ready? Born in Danville, IL, then moved to Lynchburg VA, Columbus OH, Highland Park IL, Providence RI, Framingham MA, Coral Gables, FL... That's all before I was 18... Then, Eugene OR, Los Angeles CA, New York City and now, since 1998, I live in Alameda CA. It seems my dad THOUGHT he was in the military.

Me: How old were you when you started playing the trumpet?

Jeff: Eight years old, in the third grade, in Highland Park, IL. It's interesting, you should research what age many artists start playing... I've seen eight years old quite often.

Me: Out of all the instruments, how did you pick that one?

Jeff: I remember standing in the band room, looking at all of the instruments, and that one, all brass and shiny, called my name. I was told that I had said that I wanted to play the melody.

Me: Your dad, like mine, was a musician, am I right?

Jeff: What did your dad play?

Me: Guitar. He was the lead singer in the band Foghat.

Jeff: Isn't it great, having that in your house growing up?

Me: Yeah. And your dad?

Jeff: Yes, he was a bass-baritone vocalist, in musical theater. What a voice! He used to sing the standards while I played them. He was in over 60 plays, musicals, and even was offered roles on Broadway by David Merrick. He played a mean Pagliacci.

Me: Were you in band at school?

Jeff: In EVERY band. My high school band, from Coral Gables High, did a tour of Europe, and we marched over 200 people in the Orange Bowl halftime shows, and were consistently one of the top bands in the state of Florida. The band director, the late William "Uncle Willie" Ledue is the reason I still play today. He was amazing. He got me my first paying gig: $10 for playing "Taps" at a funeral... talk about pressure! I didn't crack a note.

Me: Let's talk about your new album. It's called "next"  and it is your fourth release, am I right?

Jeff: Yes, it's my fourth full length album, along with a four song debut EP.

Me: When did your first release come out?

Jeff: I released "At Last," that four song EP, in 2003. Those four songs, produced by Will Ackerman, founder of Windham Hill Records, made their way on to my first full length album "Released," in 2005.

Me: Apart from being a musician you drove a limo, am I right?

Jeff: Yes, off and on for my first seven years after I moved to LA. I'd bring my horn, and have my latest songs cued in the cassette player to play for the star in the back seat. It's actually how I got into ASCAP, after country singer Mel Tillis published one of my songs!

Me: Being in LA, did you ever have any celebrities in your limo?

Jeff: You bet! Joan Collins, Dudley Moore, Sly Stallone, Mel Tillis, the Oak Ridge Boys, David Hasselhoff, Diana Ross... and many many more. Mostly was a cool job, and sometimes not so much. I'd MUCH rather ride in the back, and when I do, I have great empathy for the person in front.

Me: Speaking of celebrities, Nile Rodgers plays on the album. How did that happen? Did you know Nile?

Jeff: When Bernard Purdie agreed to play, he recommended a studio on the Jersey Shore... Jankland Recording. Steve Jankowski runs that studio, and he's a great trumpet player who has been Nile's music director from time to time. When we chose to add some additional guitar to the title track, after we'd already captured a sweet track by guitarist Scott Tarulli, I asked Steve if Nile might want to add some of HIS magic. The thought of a rhythm section including Nile Rodgers, Bernard Purdie and Chuck Rainey was too good not to at least ask. Steve made the connection, and lo and behold, he said yes. Here's a bit of that story:  

Me: Did he tell you any cool stories from people he worked with like those two French robot guys my son is into?

Jeff: The Daft Punk dudes! No, no stories from Nile, other than his pure love of making music and his excitement about the release of his new Chic project.

Me: Who else plays on the album, Jeff?

Jeff: Wow... some folks might say who DOESN'T play on it! I hope I don't forget anyone here: Will Ackerman, Tony Levin, Nile Rodgers, Scott Tarulli, Philip Aaberg, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, Chuck Rainey, Michael Manring, Tom Eaton, Taylor Barefoot, Noah Wilding, Shambhu Vineberg, Melissa R. Kaplan, Carl Weingarten, Catherine Marie Charlton, Todd Boston, Ricky Kej, Britt Brady, Vanil Veigas and Jeff Taboloff. "next" was produced by Will Ackerman, Tom Eaton and me, mixed by Tom Eaton and mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering... Whew! I'm a lucky dude!

Me: I have to ask you about the title... why is "next" is lower case?

Jeff: The music speaks louder than any words, including the title. I didn't want ANYTHING getting in the way.

Me: That's a pretty cool album cover... do you wear that hat on stage often?

Jeff: I love hats, and have indeed worn that one often onstage. It's one of my collection from Meyer the Hatter in New Orleans (maybe I should see about an endorsement!).  

Me: So, how long did it take you to record this album, Jeff?

Jeff: It took about a year to create the demos, and then another six months of recording, mixing and finally mastering. And then two more months of creating the album art.

Me: On it, you do a cover of Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me." Why that song?

Jeff: It's one of the most heart wrenching songs ever recorded, especially Bonnie Raitt's version. I've always loved it, and when I decided to record my first cover song, I chose that one. I ALMOST did Miley Cyrus' "Adore You"... and who knows, I still might! No one would expect THAT!

Me: Did you hear if Bonnie heard your version and if she liked it?

Jeff: Can you make that happen? I'd love it if Bonnie might hear it one day. I hear her voice in my head every time I play it.

Me: You have a song called "Mystery of B." Who is B?

Jeff: It's a mystery!!! Actually, there's a woman who likes to stay behind the scenes, whom I love very much. She does indeed embody the mysterious ways of the heart. She even wears one on her sleeve! I'll ask her if she'll let me use her name.

Me: Okay, on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Ready? Is it more fun to be a parent or a child?

Jeff:  I've been accused of being both: a parent acting like a child, and a child inhabiting a parent's body. I have a 17 year old son, and a 13 year old daughter... they think THEY'RE having all the fun, but I know better!

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile. Mention your websites and continued success.

Jeff: Thank you for the cool interview, and for sharing this with your voracious readership! You can hear my new album, "next" at My Twitter: @Jeff_Oster.  YouTube:  Instagram: @JeffOsterPix.  Write to me at:, and I'll write you back! Promise!

Me: Great job, Jeff, continued success.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Laird and Jeff Oster. The Phile will be back next Sunday with singer Sara Serpa. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Have a safe July 4th. Oh, the photo below was taken by my son Logan last week. I think it's pretty bloody cool.

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

1 comment:

Ali Mari said...

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