Monday, September 7, 2015

Pheaturing Phile Alum Kevin Hearn From Barenaked Ladies

Hi there, welcome to the Phile on a Monday, and it's Labor Day, people. This Labor Day try not to think how your next holiday isn't until Thanksgiving. Happy Labor Day to all those people who are actually doing something this Labor Day.  Okay, kids, listen up, Pornhub is offering a college scholarship, requiring a 3.2 GPA and probably 8 inches. Pornhub has a philanthropic division called Pornhub Cares, and they are now offering a $25,000 college scholarship. By the looks of it, this is a very straightforward scholarship. "Pornhub very much takes this to heart in that we work hard to help make millions of people feel happy every single day. In turn, we would like to help support the recipient of the first annual Pornhub Cares Scholarship to realize their goal of doing the same. To mark the launch of Pornhub Cares, we are offering a $25,000 scholarship to one carefully selected recipient! Whether you are studying medicine, botany, paranormal psychology, or anything in between, application is open to all fields of study so long as you have a GPA of 3.2 or higher." The good folks at Pornhub are having some fun with their choice of words, if you look closely at the "majors" they mentioned. You can't study "medicine" as an undergraduate, but biology or chemistry would be very fitting majors to receive endorsement from a porn site. There is some graduate-level paranormal psychology research, but it's extremely difficult to fund. Botany departments have mostly been folded into biology and agriculture departments. They might as well have listed "pizza delivery science" in there too. There is a written essay section, and a video submission, which requests that applicants "submit a video 2-5 minutes in length that elaborates on the good work that you do and anything else that you might want to say." Let's hope none of the video submissions include multiple camera angles.  It's Labor Day, so here's a story of a boyfriend of teen who faked a pregnancy with triplets who got suspicious when she hit 10 months. A teen from Wyandotte, Michigan used a website called Fake a Baby to convince her friends, family, and her boyfriend that she was pregnant with triplets for a whole ten months. She took things incredibly far, receiving donations from a church, a non-profit, and a Facebook group called Moms of Triplets. She also named the triplets Ivan, Alice, and Isabella and had a baby shower where people brought her a bunch of gifts. Upon hearing the news, her boyfriend started looking for jobs, and was ready to dedicate his life to their kids. When interviewed about the situation, he told reporters that she explained her 10 month pregnancy as being the result of a doctor wanting to prevent her from having a "micro-preemie," which doesn't make any sense because preemies come out early, not late. Things started to unravel when her boyfriend's family couldn't contact any of the doctors she claimed to have visited. Someone on the Facebook group then realized that the ultrasound pictures she was posting were from Fake a Baby. "Silicone Fake Pregnancy Belly." "Personalized Fake Prescription." "Fake Sonogram." These are all items that you can buy from Fake a Baby. I took a look at their website, and their advertisements are super weird...

This Microsoft Word 2003 formatting is making me cry. Anyway, the person from the Facebook group contacted the boyfriend's family, who then called the authorities. When detectives visited the 16 year old, she cracked. She claims that she lost the babies at six weeks and was too scared to tell people, so she chose the path of carrying out a long, unsustainable con. There's a chance that she was never pregnant at all, but then again, if you're going to fake a pregnancy, why would you claim to have triplets? If it were me, I would've skipped town and started another fake pregnancy somewhere else. I'd just keep doing that, living out the life of a transient, pregnancy-faking con woman. Then I'd accidentally fall in love with one of the boyfriends I was conning, and it would challenge my transient, crime-fueled lifestyle. My life story would then be turned into a rom-com called Out for Delivery, and it'd get lukewarm reviews.  A 27 year-old man in China had been suffering form severe constipation for 10 years. He had gone to doctors before, but they had no idea what was happening to his colon until his most recent visit. Basically, a huge dookie was lodged in there that made it expand so much that it was smushing his heart: "A series of X-rays revealed that the patient’s heart had shifted to the right because his colon had swelled to twice the normal size," CEN reported. Doctors diagnosed him with congenital megacolon, which can cause paralysis of the movements of the bowel and can sometimes lead to fecal tumors. Surgeons later removed an 11pound stool that had lodged itself in the patient’s colon and caused his severe pain. Congratulations, you now know that "fecal tumors" are a real thing.  Did you hear the story of the spoon that was discovered on Mars? Could this be evidence of ancient soup? One sharp-eyed Mars enthusiast writing on the Unmanned Spaceflight message board spotted the kitchen instrument sticking out of the bedrock in a recent panorama from the Mars Curiosity Rover. Sadly for everyone who wanted to sample some Martian Gumbo, the reason this spoon is sticking out of the bedrock is that it is part of the bedrock. It's a ventifact, which is something created by wind (as opposed to an artifact, something created through an art or craft). Specifically, the erosion is caused by sand being blown by wind... like a very slow sandblaster. Water is the dominant erosive force on Earth, so ventifacts here are mostly found in dry, sandy areas. On Mars, which is one big desert, they're pretty common. Of course, we're never going to stop people from seeing faces, women, or kitchen instruments on Mars, so why bother trying? Here's a pic if you care to see...

My spoon is too big... and millions of miles away!  Do you ever do that thing where you're so excited about your new job you just have to send someone a sexy pic of yourself, but you're thinking about your new job so you send it to the HR department instead? A 23 year old man in Chicago landed himself a brand new job and managed to un-land it just three days later. He made the age-old mistake of accidentally sending the HR manager who hired him a steamy, nude self-portrait. Oh, and then made the worse mistake of doing it again two days later. According to "The Chicago Tribune," the recipient of the now-unemployed-man's selfies called the cops. The man admitted to sending the pictures, saying they were meant for someone else. Probably someone who has the same first name as the lucky person he was trying to seduce.  It's Labor Day, and you're probably smart enough to handle the simple concept of cooking food outdoors. But remember that it involves fire, fire-starting chemicals, and humans, all of which can lead to dumb (but totally hilarious) grilling accidents, like this one.

See, with charcoal you're gonna want a low, controlled burn.  So, here in Central Florida there's a giant king cobra snake that is missing and being looked for. But I think I know where it is...

Of course, right?  Holidays commemorate very specific, obvious things, and most people know what those things are. Labor Day, for example, honors workers and unionized labor. Good for you if you knew that, unlike this people who didn't quite get Labor Day.

Or, if you're an English conservative, Happy Tory Day.  I love inspirational posters, and when I went to the mall yesterday I saw a Labor Day inspirational poster that I kinda liked...

I am not quite sure that's what Labor Day means, but who cares, right? You're welcome, fellas.  And mow for some very sad news...

Martin Milner 
December 28th, 1931 — September 6th, 2015
The star of "Adam 12" and "Route 66" just got deep 6'd.

Haha. If you spot the Mindphuck please let me know. Okay, I have to mention not only is it Labor Day, but today is my sister Lucy's birthday. So, happy birthday, Lucy. Okay, for the last four years my friend Jeff and I talked about football here on the Phile and did some football picks. Well, the tradition continues.

Me: Hey there, Jeff, it's that time if year again, can you believe it?

Jeff: It's been a long off season and not for a lack of football. Football should not be decided in the court of law, but we will get to that in just a minute. I just can't wait for football to begin again. However if I hear the word deflated again, there's going to be a problem.

Me: Yeah. Before we talk about football, how's the writing coming along? Since you were a pheatured guest here you had two more books out, right? And you're working on another?

Jeff: The writing is coming along great. Thank you for asking. Since I was a pheatured guest I had another book come out. I'm hard at work on my third book which will come out next month. And then I've started planning my fourth book which will be completely different from the first three.

Me: Alright, football... let's talk about this Brady deal. Are you surprised he is not getting punished?

Jeff: Brady still had to pay a fine of a million dollars. But let's face it, that's barely a punishment for the guy. Am I surprised? No. I said he would not be suspended for the four games he was originally suspended for. I figured he would be suspended for a game or two. The judge didn't think there was enough evidence against Brady. And I kind of agree. But I still think there should have been a suspension. He was defiant to the commissioner. I will say this... While he was not guilty, I don't think he was exactly innocent either.

Me: Those Patriot fans are loving it. That sucks.

Jeff: Oh yeah, Patriot fans are loving it. The day his suspension was thrown out I saw a fan write on a post "To all the Brady haters, go kill yourself." Then he put three gun emojis in a row. I think that guy is taking it just a little too far.

Me: I think so. You don't need three guns. Haha. Any other football stories?

Jeff: Lots of other football stories that doesn't involve Brady. Let's start the RG3 issues in Washington. The team has lost all faith in him as a quarterback. I think the team will spend the next season looking for another team to trade him to. So that's something else to keep an eye on. I think it will be interesting to see what kind of numbers Jason Pierre Paul will have this season. For those that didn't see, he had a finger amputated this off-season from a firework accident on the Fourth Of July.

Me: His name is Jason. Haha. Okay, let's do our picks. Explain the rules, Jeff.

Jeff: The rules are simple. We each pick two games and predict the winning margin. For each time we are correct, we get two points. We also gain a point if our team (either the Giants for you or the Steelers for me) win their game that week. The person with the most points at the end of the season has bragging rights!

Me: Alright. Here we go... So I say Patriots by 4... sorry, Jeff. And for Sundays game Jets by 3. What do you say?

Jeff: My picks are Seattle by three points and Miami by six points.

Me: Okay, I'll see you next week for week 2. Good luck.

Jeff: Good luck to you as well!

Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns are the Cleveland of football.

The 39th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Suzi will be a guest on the Phile next Sunday.

I am so excited... today's pheatured guest is a Phile Alum and is a Canadian musician who is currently the keyboardist of Barenaked Ladies, whose latest album "Silverball" is available on iTunes. Please welcome back to the Phile... one of my favorite guests ever... Kevin Hearn!

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

Kevin: I’m doing well, thanks.

Me: Before we start I have to ask you if you ever saw this?

Me: It cracked me up when I saw it.

Kevin: Ha. Yeah. My friend Kurt Firla did that for a show I was doing.

Me: It's very funny. Kevin, you were sick again for awhile, am I right, and had to cancel a few Barenaked Ladies shows? How are you feeling now?

Kevin: I had a very rough winter, but I’m doing much better now, thanks.

Me: That's good. You have had leukemia, and have recovered, thank god. Being sick recently, did that have anything to do with that or was that something completely different?

Kevin: They found some cancer cells in my tongue, so I had to stop everything I was doing and deal with that.

Me: Okay, let's talk about more happy stuff. I love your solo album "Days In Frames." Did you write all the songs on that album, Kev?

Kevin: I wrote all the songs but one: the lyrics for the song "Floating" were written by me and the late great, one and only Lou Reed.

Me: Oh, wow. You made a few beautiful videos for that album. You must be very proud of it. Which video did you like making he best?

Kevin: Thank you. Both videos are directed by the brilliant Phil Harder. I Love working with Phil. He is a kindred spirit. He directed a few of the BNL videos. That’s how I met him. The "Cherry Blossoms" video ( was something he did independently of my song, but it was kind of a perfect fit for both. On the "Gallerina" video ( we did more brainstorming together and it was really fun. I really love both videos, and we have been discussing doing more.

Me: Do you like that part about being a musician, making videos?

Kevin: Wel, itt’s not yes or no. If there is an idea that I am excited about, then it makes it really fun. Also, if you are working with a director you trust and admire, then it can be really great. Folks like that usually attract a team of like minded cool people, which makes the process enjoyable. On the other hand, if the idea is lame, or the people don’t have a clue, it can be excruciating. I’m more comfortable as a musician than as an actor though. I really enjoyed the premise of the “Odds Are" video that BNL did with the Rooster Teeth folks. That is one of my favourites, especially because I got to turn into a zombie.

Me: Yeah, you made a cool looking zombie.

Me: I wanna play a zombie on the "Walking Dead." What do you prefer, being in the studio or playing live?

Kevin: I would say the studio, although I love both.

Me: So, who plays on "Days in Frames" with you, Kevin?

Kevin: Well, four different drummers appear on the record. My old pal Bob Scott from Thinbuckle, Don Kerr who I played with in the Rheostatics, Rob Kloet from the band NITS, and of course my good friend from The Lou Reed band Tony Thunder Smith. Then we have Chris Gartner on bass, Hugh Marsh on violin and Aram Bajakian on guitar. I recorded "Floating" with some of Lou’s longstanding band members: Mike Rathke, Fernando Saunders, Tony Thunder, and there is a bit of Lou’s guitar in there as well. Then there are cameo appearances by Ron Sexsmith, Joan as Policewoman, and Clara Venice. Oh yeah , and some horns by Tom Walsh and Perry White. I think that covers it.. All wonderful talented people who I feel very lucky to have worked with.

Me: And who is that on the album cover?

Kevin: Her name is Evelyn Keyes. She was an actress. She played Sue Ellen O’Hara in the 1939 film Gone With The Wind. My great Uncle Arnold and Evelyn were dating sometime way back then, and he had that portrait of her painted by an artist named Pal Fried, who had studied with Claude Monet. Anyhow, he left the painting to my mother, who gave it to my sister, who lent it to me. Compare this photo of her to the painting!

Me: Okay, so, let' s talk about BNL. You have been in that band for twenty years this year, and have recorded a lot of great music with BNL. Do you have favorite BNL album or song?

Kevin: I’ve always enjoyed playing "Brian Wilson" and "For You." The "Stunt" record was an exciting record to make. The stars were all aligning at the time.

Me: How did you become a member of the band, Kev? Did you have to audition?

Kevin: I remember getting a message on my phone from one of the guys. They said, “we really don’t want to go through the whole audition process, we’re just hoping you will come and play with us."        So I signed up for a two month summer tour in June 1995, and I think that was my “ audition”. They asked me to join full time after that.

Me: You weren't familiar with BNL's music before you joined, right?

Kevin: I had seen them perform twice and really enjoyed it. I didn’t own their record.

Me: I love "Silverball," it is one of my favorite BNL albums ever, and you have two songs on that album... "Passcode" and "Tired Of Fighting With You" which could almost be my theme song. That's a very emotional song. Did you write it about anybody or anything in particular?

Kevin: Well, as i mentioned I was diagnosed with tongue cancer in November, the very day we were supposed to start working on the record. So, that made it really difficult for me to write and record. But one night, in one emotional outpouring at my piano, I wrote "Tired of Fighting With You." So, it is inspired by that experience of struggling with a disease, but I think you could apply the lyrics to different situations: relationships, etc.

Me: Did you write those two songs for this album or were they songs you wrote in the past for your solo stuff?

Kevin: I began "Passcode" thinking it could be a cool song for my first band Look People to record. Our vocalist had sort of a Tony Bennett meets Krusty the Clown vibe. We had been discussing a reunion show and recording. The show part happened, but the recording never did. I quite liked the little chorus idea I had, and decided I should finish it anyways.

Me: Is it different writing for your own project and BNL or the same?

Kevin: Definitely the same. The ideas all come from the same well. They just end up different depending on where they seem to want to go. I almost want to say that my more personal, darker songs end up with my solo work, but then BNL records "Tired of Fighting With You," and I can say, oh, that can work in this context too.

Me: Where was "Silverball" recorded, Kev?

Kevin: In Toronto at Noble Street Studios.

Me: Did you guys write a lot more songs for the album that wasn't recorded?

Kevin: I don’t believe so. I know we recorded two that were left off.

Me: I never got to see the band on this past tour, which is sad. Are you guys thinking of releasing a new live album?

Kevin: It’s really sad, Jason. Not at the moment.

Me: So, how did the album get its name? I am guessing it was Ed's idea as he collects pinball machines, am I right?

Kevin: He wrote the song "Silverball." It became the title of the record.

Me: The video for "Say What You Want" has a whole pinball theme. Was that a fun video to make?

Kevin: It was alright. Not as much fun as turning into a zombie.

Me: Do you play pinball as well?

Kevin: I do enjoy the odd game of pinball. I used to go to the Family Fun pinball arcade at Dundas and Yonge after school when I was a kid. I really liked playing air hockey, and Miss Pac-Man, but I enjoy pinball too.

Me: The first time you were here we talked about your artwork. Are you still drawing?

Kevin: Oh yeah, still drawing. I still love it. I find it very relaxing.

Me: That's so cool.

Kevin: I do it mostly for fun. I have since I was a kid. I remember going to visit my cousin Harland when I was vey young. He was my cool older cousin... really fun, strange and creative. He had a bunch of sketch pads full of drawings, and thats what really inspired me to start drawing. I’ll always be thankful to him for that, and his friendship over the years.

Me: I am a big fan of Harland's comedy. I'd love to interview him here. Anyway, so, what is next for you and the band? Any ideas?

Kevin: I am currently mixing a new record of instrumental music. At the heart of it is the piano. I am also working on a wonderfully strange fun medley of some of my favorite superhero themed songs, featuring a cast of thousands including BNL, Violent Femmes, members of the Sun Ra Arkestra, Lou Reed’s band, The Rheostatics, Look People etc. As for BNL, we have some more tour legs coming up.

Me: So cool. So, I have to ask, and you don't have to answer if you don't want... but do you think Steven Page will ever work with BNL again?

Kevin: I really don’t know if it will ever happen. That's the only answer I have! So... you never know.

Me: Kev, thanks for being back on the Phile. Mention your websites and please come back soon. Also, tell the other guys they should be on the Phile.

Kevin: I’m on Facebook, Instagram (kevinhearnmusic) and my website is  

Me: Take care, and all the best. I hope this was fun.

Kevin: Nice talking to you. Take care, Jason.

That about does it for this labor intensive entry. Haha. Thanks to Jeff Trelewicz and of course Kevin Hearn. The Phile will be back next Sunday with author Suzi Albracht. So, 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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