Monday, October 26, 2015

Pheaturing Noah Hoffeld

Hi there, welcome to another entry of the Phile. How have you been? There was no Phile yesterday so I got a jammed Philde today. Let's get started. Here's to Lamar Odom on being the first guy in history to have coke and hookers save his marriage.  It's October and as you know it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So... please get a breast exam and please call me if you need a second opinion. Speaking of cancer... those jerks over at the World Health Organization just announced bacon causes cancer. Lower that BLT from your greasy lips and take a seat. The news you've been trying to deny is true. Eating as little as two slices of bacon per day increases your risk of colorectal cancer by 18%, according to the World Health Organization. If your response to that news is "How bad is colorectal cancer anyway?" then you might have a problem. Processed meats are meats that have been smoked or cured with salt and other preservatives, including "bacon, sausages, hot dogs, salami, corned beef, beef jerky and ham as well as canned meat and meat-based sauces." But researchers say pork, beef, and lamb that are unprocessed still "probably" cause cancer, which caused a stampede of people signing up to be part of the study that finds out for sure. One possible upside to finding out bacon is scary: new Halloween costume idea?  The practical joke that is the Trump campaign continues to add punchlines. Humble millionaire Donald Trump, in all his humility, explained to Matt Lauer on the "Today" show how he relates to the hardships of the American people, a country all about making something out of nothing and pulling oneself up by the bootstraps. “It’s not been easy for me,” Trump said, “I started off in Brooklyn, my father gave me a small loan of $1 million." Take a second to absorb that: "Not easy." "Small loan." Points to Trump for relating to millennials by mentioning how he started off in Brooklyn with daddy's money, but come on. Lauer finally called him out on how a MILLION DOLLARS will not read as small to a lot (read: most) people, but Trump quickly defended himself by saying, "A million dollars is nothing compared to what I've built."  It's been more than two years since "Blurred Lines" was the ubiquitous song of the summer, but Robin Thicke is still acting hardcore Robin Thicke. He and co-writer/performer/dancer-among-naked-women Pharrell Williams were sued and found guilty of copying elements from Marvin Gaye's "Got To Give It Up" in their song. KABC has released new deposition videos from the copyright infringement trial, and though there aren't masterpieces on the level of Bieber's deposition videos, there are some interesting moments. When asked if he was drunk or on Vicodin during a particular interview from 2013, Thicke answered, "I didn't do a single interview last year without being high on both."  He was just trying to make things efficient by offering an answer to any follow-up questions about when he was or wasn't drunk or high. Pharrell's slow-moving interview consists of a lot of bickering over specifics about music notes and chords. However, the most notable element of both interviews is the evocatively pouty faces made by both defendants. Pharrell glumly rested his head in both of his hands. If you had a huge hit song and then had to give $5.4 million to a dead guy, you'd probably get all angsty too.  Who can blame Chris Christie for being stressed? The former presumptive Republican presidential candidate is now polling at a dismal 3%. But although we're used to him lashing out, there are some spaces too sacred for even him to violate. Chief among them is the Amtrak quiet car. Sources report that Christie boarded an Amtrak train from D.C. to New Jersey on Sunday morning with two security men, already chewing them out for mixing up his seating arrangements. Holding a McDonald's smoothie, the governor took his seat just before the train pulled out, and immediately began making phone calls. The calls may very well have related to his presidential campaign, because a witness claims he kept repeating the phrases "this is frickin' ridiculous" and "Seriously? Seriously?" After a few minutes and a number of passenger complaints, a conductor came to remind Christie that he was in the quiet car. To his credit, he seemed to have no idea, and quickly moved to another car where he could be as loud as he wanted to (which is plenty). He only stopped long enough to berate his security for seating him in the quiet car. His spokeswoman Samantha Smith later issued this statement, "On a very full train this morning, the Governor accidentally took a seat in Amtrak’s notorious quiet car. After breaking the cardinal rule of the quiet car, the Governor promptly left once he realized the serious nature of his mistake and enjoyed the rest of his time on the train from the cafe car." Sincere apologies to all the patrons of the quiet car that were offended. Will Quiet Cargate tarnish his legacy as much as Bridgegate? No, but he's finished anyway.  I love this story... it's truly the cherry on top of a bad Monday sundae. It comes to us from a galaxy far, far away, AKA Ukraine. On Sunday, a man dressed as Chewbacca from Star Wars was arrested for campaigning for a candidate running for mayor of Odessa. That candidate's legal name? Darth Vader. Here's a pic of the arrest, showing how many human cops it takes to subdue the mighty strength of a Wookiee...

Despite how weird this story is, the reason Chewie was arrested is surprisingly pedestrian. Apparently there's a law in Ukraine against campaigning for a political candidate on Election Day. Is that worth going to jail for? If you're a big enough Star Wars fan, absolutely. Chewie was taken to court, where he was fined the equivalent of $7.50 (converted from Ukrainian hyrvinias/Galactic credits). However, he claimed that his bank has no branches on this planet, which may put him in trouble. That and the fact that he wouldn't take off his costume in court.

It's all worth it for that photo. It's great to see democracy blooming in Ukraine. Next step, the galaxy. Speaking of Star Wars... did you watch that new trailer during the Giants game last Monday? Of course I did a number of times. One scene I thought was kinda odd was this one...

And everybody thought he was gonna be a good guy. Haha.  I never had a flu shot... I don't want the flu so why get a shot to get one? Anyway, I might go to Walgreens to get one...

Have you ever noticed everything this year is pumpkin spice flavored? I mean everything...

Jeez, people.  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 recently saw...

Wait. It's not? Haha.  It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month and this is the last October entry for year. I have been showing you some clever breast cancer awareness ads. Here's the last one I have to show you...

It's hard to read but you get the idea. And now, from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's...

Top Phive Fallouts From New Claims That Processed Meats Cause Cancer
5. The FBI has added Jimmy Dean to its Ten Most Wanted List.
4. Upon request, Applebee's will remove one of the 19 strips of bacon from its Triple Bacon Burger.
3. Oscar Meyer executives have convened an emergency meeting in the Baloney Room.
2. Some Americans are having serious second thoughts about their morning kielbasa break.
And the number one fallout from the claim about processed meat causing cancer is...
1. Incredibly, vegetarians have become even MORE smug and condescending.

Maureen O'Hara 
August 17th, 1920 — October 24th, 2015
The last thing she did was a TV movie in 2000 called "The Last Dance." That works for me.

Ha! That's an easy one. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. If you don't spot it there's something wrong with you. So, my son Logan is visiting from Pennsylvania which has me thinking while he is playing violent video games... we used to sit and watch "Sesame Street" together. Unfortunately, he's too old for it now. Or is he? Here's a new pheatire called...

While trying to photograph his dessert Ernie realize his house might be haunted. That's so stupid. Ugh. Moving on... Jeff?

Me: Hey, there, Jeff, how are you?

Jeff: Good afternoon, Jason. I'm doing well. Just prepping the last pieces of my book before it's released this coming Thursday. If I may, cheap plugs please? You can get the first in the series for free until Wednesday on Amazon. While you're at it, pick up Phile Alumni Jeremy Croston's book "The Cactus Killer" for free until then as well. Okay, cheap plugs are over.

Me: Great. I'll have you both on the Phile again talking about your books soon. So, did you watch the Giants have? It was a freaking horrible game but at least the half-time show was good. What did you think of the trailer? How many times did you watch it?

Jeff: That was a terrible game for you indeed. I have seen the trailer probably about ten times now I think. It looks incredible. I'm curious why we have only heard Luke, but not seen him yet. I mean he's not even on the poster or anything!

Me: True. He's probably only in it for a minute. Any other NFL news worth talking about?

Jeff: There's not a lot going on in football right now. Some good games this week that went right down to the last seconds of the clock. And really that's all you can ask for, right? Arian Foster, running back for the Texans tore his ACL and will miss the rest of the season. No other injuries this week and we are looking at some players who could return as early as next week. So I will be keeping my eye on that!

Me: Okay, how did we do last week? Am I still winning?

Jeff: Well, there is good news and there's bad news. The good news (at least for you) is that you're still in the lead. The bad news is we went a combined 0-4 this past week. I mean I guess it's dirty tactics for me to not tell you that when you picked the Jets this week, you were picking against New England. But I was unable to pick up any ground on you this week. One of the teams I picked won, but not by the spread. So yeah, we both went 0-2. But the Giants beat Dallas and the Steelers lost so your lead grows. You are now officially up by 4 points on me.

Me: Fantastic! Let's do this weeks picks... I say Chiefs by 4 and Falcons by 8. What do you say?

Jeff: My picks for next week are Arizona by 3 and Jets by 3 as well.

Me: Alright, Jeff, see ya here next week.

Jeff: Talk to you next week!

Pumpkin Spice Latte
A pumpkin spice latte is the only thing white girls can even.

The 40th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

The author, Gary Gerani, will be a guest on the Phile a week from today. Okay, so, a week ago or so I pheatured a new pheature called The Phile Sez Make a Change... Or Else. It was pretty successful, and someone else wanted to come on and mention their cause. So, once again, the Phile is here to help with...

Please welcome to the Phile... Rep. Marsha Blackburn.

Any fan of a popular band has likely fallen victim to a scalper bot... a computer program that ticket scalpers use to buy tickets faster than actual humans can. It’s estimated that 60% of tickets are purchased by bots! Scalpers then sell those tickets online for ridiculous prices. These bots are often the reason that the tickets you tried to buy instantly sold out but if you went to a secondary ticket site you’d find plenty of them available... being sold at 100-500% above the original price. That $75 ticket is now $150-$375+ (plus the service charges). Because there’s no federal law to stop these bots, many people just fork up the extra cash or completely give up. This is a broken system. Fortunately, we can change this. After thousands of Paul McCartney and Rolling Stones tickets in New York were bought up by scalper bots and resold for absurd prices (like $8,000!), Sen. Charles Schumer and myself, Rep. Marsha Blackburn are working to pass The Better Online Ticket Sales Act, legislation that would prohibit the use of bots and make selling any ticket knowingly purchased by a bot punishable with a fine of $1,000 per ticket. As live music fans, this bill is common sense to us. Please sign our petition asking Congress to make the use of scalper bots illegal so that we all have a fair chance to see the concerts we want! Go to for more info.

That is a cool thing to try and stop. Okay, today's pheatured guest is a rock cello player whose CD "Play Human" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Noah Hoffeld.

Me: Noah, what's up? Welcome to the Phile, man, how are you?

Noah: I'm doin' good thanks, Jason! Great to be here.

Me: You are a rocking cellist, I have to say. How did you first start to play the cello?

Noah: Thanks a lot, man. I first started when I was about nine. One day, mom took me to her violin lesson in a small community of music teachers. That's where I saw the cello for the first time. When I heard another kid playing it, I was like, "I gotta have that! That's mine." Kinda like a kid seeing that Chewbacca action figure for the first time. Ha! Not that different at all.

Me: Last December I had another cellist on the Phile named Lindsay Mac. Have you heard of her? 

Noah: No, dunno her. There's a lot of us out there! Look out! We're taking over the world.

Me: Do you have a favorite cellist?

Noah: Pablo Casals is the one who made the biggest impression on me and shaped the way I think of music forever. Of course there are many great players out there, but he's the stand out for me.

Me: Your music is labeled as cello rock. I take it you grew up listening to classic rock opposed to just classical music?

Noah: Yeah, I listened to a lot of stuff growing up... everything from classical to roots reggae and experimental jazz.

Me: What bands did you listen to growing up? Any Foghat?

Noah: I was really into Prince, The Police, Bowie, Bob Marley, The Beatles, AC/DC. All kinds of stuff. I heard Foghat later on and really dug it.

Me: You have been compared to Bowie, Lennon and Lou Reed... those are high comparisons, Noah. Are you fans of those musicians?

Noah: Yes, I'm a big fan of all those guys and they shaped me and made me into the musician I am today. Without their music and their attitude, a lot of us wouldn't be doing what we're doing right now! I think their influence on society and culture at large is largely underestimated. It's not just politicians who shape the world as we know it!

Me: Your album "Play Human" was co-produced by someone who worked with Bowie, am I right? Did he have any good stories for you?

Noah: Actually I produced the album on my lonesome. Mark Plati, longtime music director and producer for Bowie, mixed the hell out of it. He totally blew me away. I was blown away to just be in the same room, looking at his great photos of him and Bowie together. I don't remember any stories per se but that feeling stays with me, big time.

Me: Did you get any shit plying cello in a rock setting, Noah?

Noah: I'm sorry, I don't understand.

Me: Never mind. Do you play any other instruments as well?

Noah: Yes! I play keyboards, guitar and bass on the album. Plus doing programming and stuff like that.

Me: Most of the musicians I interviewed here went to Berklee but you went to Juilliard. How did you choose that school?

Noah: I chose Juilliard because of its reputation as one of the great conservatories in America. It was strictly classical. I needed to go somewhere to beef up my skills as a cellist. Places like Berklee weren't really on my map at the time.

Me: What's the biggest difference between both schools? 

Noah: Berklee focuses on pop, rock and jazz. Juilliard has a classical focus and now a new jazz department.

Me: What did you study at Juilliard?

Noah: I majored in Classical Performance. I have a BM! HAHAHA.  A Bachelor of Music!

Me: Noah, where are you from?

Noah: I'm from Brooklyn, NY.

Me: I thought so. Do you still live in the New York area?

Noah: Yeah, I'm back living in Brooklyn again. I love it here.

Me: Okay, let's talk about the album "Play Human." Where did that title come from?

Noah: It comes from the first track on the album. The lyrics are "why don't we all play human for a change? Lovin' each other shouldn't be out of range." So theres that, but I also like the angle of looking at a play human like a doll of sorts. Maybe we're all dolls being played with by some force we really don't understand.

Me: Did you write all the songs on the album?

Noah: Yeah, I did!

Me: Is this your first album, Noah?

Noah: Well, I released an EP a while back when I was just getting into songwriting. I did it just for fun but was actually pleasantly surprised by how the songs came out. I still listen to it!

Me: So, what came first, lyrics or music?

Noah: It depends on the song. "Stop Slow Down" for example (which I made a video for) was a lyrics first kind of experience. I actually had an experience of receiving the words completely intact, almost like a channeling experience. Then there are others like "Play Human" where I got the idea for the riff first and then constructed the lyrics around it.

Me: Is that you as a kid on the album cover?

Noah: Nah. That's a friend's kids. Great shot, no?

Me: Yeah, it's cool. You have written music for a few films, am I right? One of those films is The Skeleton Twins. I have to say, with Bill Hader and Kristin Wiig, two funny people, when I saw this movie I thought it was gonna be a comedy. I was wrong. It was a depressing movie! Did you get to read the script or see the movie when you wrote the music for it?

Noah: Haha! Actually although I do write film scores, I just played cello on that one. Depressing? Yeah! But funny too... like that scene in the dentist's office! Hader and Wiig just go off in a hilarious "SNL" sort of way!!!

Me: What movies have you written for?

Noah: I've written stuff for commercials and I'm now writing scores for 2 indie features in progress. I'll keep you posted!

Me: One of your songs "One Family" was written for Martin Luther King Day this year. How did that come about and are you a fan of his?

Noah: Yes, MLK is a person who has influenced me tremendously. He's one of those people who've done huge amounts to bring hope to the planet. It was interesting with that song cause as MLK Day 2015 was approaching I started getting the melody in my head. I tried to make it go away but it wouldn't budge!! So finally I figured I'd better sit down and wrangle with it. It turned out that it had a message attached to it... We won't give up on Civil Rights. "We've marched way too long for all the things we've won" is the lyric. The whole song and recording, including a music video with historic footage of King, came out all in one weekend! I was really blown away. And tired!

Me: That song received a lot of hits and feed back, am I right?

Noah: Yeah, that's true! Over 100 strangers shared that post on Facebook right away. It was kind of intense and made me feel the song must really touch something with people. I hope it circulates more and brings some good to people.

Me: That song should of been in the movie Selma. Do you wish it was?

Noah: I agree! Man, I would wish it would find a home like that. Selma was an amazing movie... the writing, the performances. Woah!!!

Me: There's two stories I have to ask you about... one is that you were in a photo spread with Iman, the super model. How did that come about? That's another Bowie connection for you.

Noah: I think my mom has that photo in the vault! It came about when I was practicing cello in this amazing mansion I had the privilege of working in. "W Magazine" came along one day and said, "We're doin' a shoot here. Would you like to join?" I said of course! And yeah I hadn't thought about that Bowie connection. They're married of course! I had another Bowie experience at the Tribeca Ball one year. It was a fundraiser for something and Bowie was the special guest or MC. They paid me to destroy a cello on stage. OOHH one of my worst memories! Never again, no matter how much you pay me.

Me: How was Iman, Noah? I looked all over the freaking Internet for that photo by the way.

Noah: Iman was really sweet and kind to me.

Me: The other story is you taught James Taylor to play the cello? When and how did this happen? Was it just a one off class so to speak?

Noah: I taught James for a while when I was younger. I met his wife and when she learned I was a cellist, she hired me to help pick out a cello for James as a birthday gift and to give him some lessons. He'd studied as a kid!

Me: So, what's next for you? A tour or new music? 

Noah: I'm off to Europe next week to play some shows! Very psyched about that. I think when I get back I'll start getting into some new songwriting, maybe hide away in the woods for a couple of weeks and get the creativity flowing...

Me: Noah, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Go ahead and mention your website and please come back sometime. Good luck.

Noah: Thanks so much, Jason! Come find and follow me at or at Cheers!

Whew! Holy shit, that was a long ass entry. Thanks to Jeff Trelewicz, Rep. Marsha Blakcburn and of course Noah Hoffeld. Ha. I think I called him Hoffeid in the last entry. The Phile will be back next Sunday with the kids from Late Nite Cable. 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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