Saturday, August 15, 2015

Pheaturing Charles Etienne From The Alpine Camp

Hey there, how are you doing? Welcome to the Phile for a bloody rainy Saturday. My favorite time to pretend I was going to exercise is when it's raining out.  Alright, so, Trump will pause his campaign to ruin a different branch of government. Donald Trump was selected for jury duty and will report to the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Monday. All this despite a busy weekend campaign schedule, which included giving kids helicopter rides at the Iowa State Fair. Which is a completely normal ride at the fair. In this case you win a prize for throwing stuff at immigrants from above. Coincidentally, Trump has yet to report for jury duty in New York because he claims the requests were mailed to improper addresses. But what do you know, he made it a point to show up when he's running for president. As for the case, it would be great if the defendant was female or Hispanic, just to see if the attorneys could keep a straight face while they screen him for bias.   I should save this for a Mindphuck, but can you find the rude word hidden in this Hunger Games poster? Hint: It rhymes with bundt.

Some graphic designer probably had a very bad today, because Lionsgate released this new Mockingjay Part 2 poster, and it totally looks like it says "cunt" over Jennifer Lawrence's nose. Well, either that, or some graphic designer had a great day because they purposefully hid the word "cunt" in a major motion picture advertisement, and nobody noticed it before it went out into the world. I'm an optimist, mystery graphic designer, so I'm hoping it was the second option. If so, good work! When Lionsgate comes out with the Power Rangers film in 2017, can you hide the words "vaginal cavity" in the poster? Thanks!  The world's worst rich kid got a Ferrari from his dad, and set it on fire for unimaginably selfish reason. If your hobbies include feeling self-righteous anger against the 1%, today is your lucky day. The hate in this story is uncut and pure. In March of 2014, a Swiss man went to a dealership to get his Ferrari 458 Italia valued. The car had been a gift from his father, a wealthy Zurich businessman, to go with his 14 other cars, including a Lamborghini. He was taking it to the dealership because, like all rich boys with their playthings, he had grown tired of it and wanted a new one. Unfortunately, the Ferrari was valued at a measly $193,500, not enough to cover the cost of a brand new replacement 458 Speciale. One of the dealers, with all of the class and integrity you'd expect of a sports car pusher, suggested he burn the car for the insurance money. The young dauphin agreed, and hired three accomplices to help him, including one from the dealership. They took the car to Augsberg in Germany to allay suspicion, and two of the accomplices set it ablaze while the owner and the other culprit were getting massages. Unfortunately, the whole thing was caught on a security camera. The information on this case has just come to light, because the German trial was concluded last week in Augsburg. The 20 year old was sentenced to 22 months probation and given a $33,000 fine, which is probably a smaller amount of money than he's ever seen before. The accomplices were given probations of 14-16 months each. Kind of a slap on the wrist, but then again, these people are above the law. In court, the young man admitted that all this happened because he didn't have the courage to tell his father he didn't like the Ferrari anymore. But it's okay. I'm pretty sure he got the message.  Hey, good news. Toy Story 4 will be a love story between Woody and a woman that's not Ms. Davis. The Toy Story franchise will carry on in the name of love, diving into the love story between Woody and Bo Peep. Never stop at a neatly resolved trilogy when you can churn out another movie and make zillions at the box office. Pixar has this down to a science, and good for them. Release an animated movie that kids love, throw in a few discrete dirty jokes that only adults will understand, and watch the cash roll in. Interestingly, Bo Peep did not appear in Toy Story 3, and has a minimal role in the other two films. Pixar has said this will not be a prequel or a direct sequel, so they'll be crafting this romantic tale from scratch. Basically they'll be figuring out how to explain why Woody's girlfriend was absent for the last movie. Grad school? Peace Corps? It'll have to be a more wholesome option than when the rest of us explain why our significant others weren't around for a large chunk of time. I look forward to the love story of Woody and Bo Peep, and those discrete dirty jokes that only adults understand in Pixar movies.  Do you think Will Smith rebooting "Fresh Prince" is a bad idea? Well, it's not your decision! Did you just think about the "Fresh Prince" theme song? Congratulations, now it's stuck in your head for two weeks.  Maybe it was inevitable: Will Smith is developing a reboot of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." According to TVLine, the new show would be "a present-day family comedy that puts a new spin on the fish-out-of-water tale while maintaining the spirit of Fresh Prince." The show is still in early stages of development by Smith's production company, Overbrook Entertainment. I know reboots are all the craze right now, but is this the best idea? "Fresh Prince" is such a nineties show that it has the word "fresh" in the title. And if you're going to do a show with a similar premise in 2015, let's just say that it better delicately and thoroughly explore issues of race and class. And of course have a long, explanatory theme song, a Tatyana Ali cameo, and a prominently featured modernized twist on the Carlton dance.  So, there's a new movie I wanna see that came out yesterday... Straight Outta Compton. But there's another movie I wanna see more...

I love me some Wawa. Haha.  I love movie posters as well, I don't know if you know that about me. But I was wondering what would some movie posters look like if they were made with stock photos. Such as this one...

That's a great movie.  So, one thing I like to do in my spare time is to go on Twitter and look up certain words. One of those words I look up is "Foghat." This is a Tweet I found recently...

Very funny, Big Kris.  Well, it's summer on the Phile and all through summer I am showing you some different bathing suits or bikinis you might find at the beach.

Business in the front, open for business in the back. You're welcome, ladies. As you know by mow I am sure I live in Florida and here in Florida some crazy stuff happens that would happen nowhere else. That's why I have a pheature I call...

A group of black Days Inn workers in Tampa are suing their former employer for discrimination, in addition to the "other hardships" they faced on the job. Those hardships? They allege that they had to deal with guests' blood and vomit without proper biohazard protection, and that they were refused the proper vaccinations for dealing with contaminated linens and towels. The most egregious allegation, however, has to do with the instructions they were given for handling the room of someone who had their last days at their Days Inn. They claim that their employers forced them to just flip over the mattress where a corpse had been lying, and prepare the room for new guests. Ewe! That's disgusting. Seriously, at least spray it down with some Febreze as well.

If you spot the Mindphuck then let me know. Okay, so, a friend of the Phule has a very strange story he wants to tell. He's a patriot, singer and renaissance man. You know what time it is...

Just had an interesting conversation with my ex-wife regarding my granddaughter, Olivia. Seems my little angel has some rather strange abilities. Olivia claimed to see spirits at a recent visit to the Montauk lighthouse and the former military base known as Camp Hero. After Olivia told her grandmother that she saw the spirit of a little girl. The tour guide told my ex (in private) that there is indeed a legend of a child spirit that haunts that very area. My ex looked it up on-line in a site about haunted east end landmarks. Olivia was right... in the late 1800s a little girl was murdered and hung on a fence near Camp Hero. Her spirit has been seen and felt near that sight as well as the Montauk lighthouse. How could my six year old granddaughter have known this?

That's a crazy story, Laird. Hmmm. The 38th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

David will be a guest on the Phile next Friday.

Today's guest is one of the founders for the band The Alpine Camp. They have a new self-titled EP. Please welcome to the Phile... Charles Etienne.

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

Charles: Wonderful.

Me: I have to tell you I am a big fan of the band. How long have you guys been together?

Charles: Not long in this configuration. We recorded a few songs about two years ago, then found some people that were willing to do a few songs. About a year later we recorded a few more songs and now we're back at it playing a round of shows in our neck of the woods.

Me: There's quite a few of you guys in the band, right? Like six of you. Two of you guys knew each other since you were kids, am I right?

Charles: That's right, this is a bigger group but it's working. We really feel like the banjo and the pedal steel bring a whole dynamic to the songs that we just could not get from a four piece. But yeah, Chris and I have been making music together since we were about 16. I guess that means some of our songs are old enough to vote at this point.

Me: Did you guys always want to be in a band together?

Charles: Yeah, totally. We were both in other bands even before that. I remember I think I opened for Chris at some show, that's how we met. But yeah, after that, we just kept making music that we liked together.

Me: So, where did you meet the other guys?

Charles: Well, technically we don't exactly remember where everyone came from, there was definitely some Craigslist involved and then a lot of word of mouth. Shad (drums) was just a friend of a friend. I remember someone telling me, "Hey you know Shad plays drums" and I was like great, what's his number, let's get him over here and jam on these songs. It's like dating, the Internet just makes it easier to go on first dates so we took advantage of that.

Me: All of you have played with some pretty cool bands... The Black Crowes, Allman Bros, The Derek Trucks Band... do you all have side guys still as well?

Charles: Chris and I have been playing exclusively with The Alpine Camp for a few years now. That said, I don't really know who the other guys are playing with. But somehow they all manage to make it work. We still get rehearsals in and go out and play shows.

Me: I saw Derek Trucks play here in Florida when he was like 12 years old. I am glad he is still playing. How long ago did you work with him?

Charles: Chris and I opened for him back in Connecticut at a small club in New London. He absolutely killed it that night. We stuck around and were just amazing and super jealous. I remember everyone in his crew being really nice.

Me: Who are your influences, guys? I am guessing with the six of you there's a lot.

Charles: Yeah, that's true, but we like to think of the band as a personality, and from that perspective you can kinda determine a similar aesthetic that runs through the songs. Simply from an instrumentation point of view there are country, bluegrass, and southern rock influences definitively. Song structure wise, we really like the way a pop songs works, and we can then take those structures and play with them live. So from that point of view, the improvisations definitively has a jazz... jam band influence.

Me: You have been compared to the Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons, and the Grateful Dead. What do you think of these comparisons?

Charles: Um, yes? They all make a living doing music. Compare us to anyone that does that and we shall take it as a complement.

Me: Alright, where are you guys from?

Charles: We grew up in Connecticut. Neither of us were born there but we went to high school there and started playing shows there. That's were I consider I grew up.

Me: Where did the band name come from? Is the Alpine Camp a real place?

Charles: You know, that was something that Chris came up with when he was camping one time. It's not a real place, but I think it gives you an image that really works with the type of music we make. Those words have a certain association and we like that.

Me: I like the logo with the mountains that's on the EP cover. Who came up with it?

Charles: Thanks, it took us some time to work that out. We wanted to have a symbol that would represent us. Something we can put on t-shirts and stuff. We actually had it made into a wood brand that we used to make some bottle openers for the first tour. They look really great but they didn't work that well. People still seem to dig them though.

Me: I laughed when I saw the picture of Kanye with the logo on his forehead. You guys have a good sense of humor. I have to show it here...

Charles: That was real.

Me: Let's talk about your EP... how long did it take to record?

Charles: It took about a month from start to finish. We knocked it out in my old house. Setup the drums in one of the bedrooms and ran cables everywhere. I really prefer recording at home. I feel like it makes it a bit more personal.

Me: Who did the song writing on it?

Charles: Chris and I write all the songs together. Sometimes we will come with a lick or an idea, doesn't really matter. We just keep editing it and massaging it until we like it.

Me: So, with the EP out, are you guys gonna be working on a full length album?

Charles: Yup. Just as soon as we get some time. I just finished moving into a new house and I know Chris is about to do the same so it's going to be a little while. But just as soon as we are settle in that's what we are doing next.

Me: I have to ask you about the song "Regrets of a Cosmic Mountaineer." What is a cosmic mountaineer and what was the story behind that song?

Charles: It's a part of a larger story that is getting built into the next album. We like to take aspects of one song and have it play a cameo in other songs. We wrote a few more that we didn't have time to release yet but it ties these songs together.

Me: Your music has been described as "roots rock for the outdoors." Who came up with that, and what about when you guys play indoors?

Charles: We mostly play indoors, but it's more of who we are to say that we make music for the outdoors. Chris and I both camp a lot and we get much of our inspiration from nature. That's where that came from. Maybe it should be from the outdoors. Roots rock from the outdoors, that could work too...

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile. Please come back when your next album comes out. Go ahead and mention your website and everything.

Charles: Can do... Check it out and follow us on all that social media...

Me: All the best and continued success.

Charles: Thanks, dude.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Charles Etienne for a great interview. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Australian singer Self Tort. Look him up, he's a legend.

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