Hello, welcome to the Phile for a Monday... and it's MLK Day, kids. I, like, MLK, have a dream... err... I had a dream... umm... I will once again dream... oh, fuck it... who am I kidding I dream no more. Actually unlike Dr. King my dream usually involves a woman. Here's to King for being the only person in history to be interesting when talking about a dream. Don't forget to honor MLK by copying and pasting a quote that he actually said. This MLK Day, I plan to demonstrate non-violence through napping. Alright, so, let's start off with a crazy Martin Luther King Jr. related story...
Military officials have removed and apologized for a flyer featuring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. atop the words “fun shoot” at an Air Force Base in Georgia. The event was to be held on the holiday honoring the civil rights leader. The flyer advertised a gathering with skeet shooting on Jan. 18th for the Robins Air Force Base Trap and Skeet Club. An official at the military base’s Outdoor Recreation office said it was created by a marketing team. Not surprisingly, associating Dr. King's image with the word "shoot" and a figure holding a rifle was found by some to be in poor taste...
It does appear that it was an extremely unfortunate mistake, as the base holds "fun shoots" on other federal holidays. There's one scheduled on President's Day entitled George Washington Fun Shoot, for example. It just so happens that Martin Luther King Jr. is the only person with a federal holiday who died as a result of assassination. The Air Force did blame the marketing team, but they should get with the times and specifically blame it on a graphic designer or intern. They also noted that they'll administer "remedial training" to the parties involved, which was a polite and formal way of hinting that whoever approved the flyer made a dumb mistake and got screamed at by an Air Force superior.
If you sold your car back when you had to sell your soul for a gallon of gas, you might want to empty the piggy bank, throw out your bicycle, and get some real wheels. At least that's a viable option for some people in Michigan, who are currently experiencing the beautiful reality of sub-dollar gas. According to reports from Gasbuddy.com, which provides a "real time gas prices forum," cited by Detroit's local Fox affiliate, a possible price war between stations in Houghton Lake, Michigan is responsible for the basement level prices. Daily Detroit refers to Gas Buddy forums that reflect a $.78 per gallon price at Beacon and Bridge Market and a $.95 per gallon price at another service called the Marathon. And although the price war probably ensures the rates won't stay quite so low, it's indicative of a global trend that has sent "global oil prices tumbling to more than 11-year lows," according to the "Wall Street Journal." So have fun, everyone. Escalades are finally cool again.
Alan Rickman who tragically passed away last week, played many iconic roles in his career, but the one he's probably most known for is Snape in the Harry Potter franchise. When interviewed about his portrayal, Rickman revealed that author J.K. Rowling, who hand-picked him for the role, gave him a major clue about Snape's character early on in filming. The Independent reports that in an interview with RTE, Rickman said, "She gave me one little piece of information, which I always said I would never share with anybody and never have, and never will. It wasn't a plot point, or crucial in any tangible way, but it was crucial to me as a piece of information that made me travel down that road rather than that one or that one or that one." A fan reached out to Rowling on Twitter today and asked if she would reveal the secret. And Rowling, queen of Twitter, replied...
"Always" I have been told, refers to a scene in the final Harry Potter book where Snape reveals he was forever in love with Harry's mother, Lily. In other words, Rickman knew early on the importance of his relationship with Lily and how that might make him feel toward Harry.
I wonder if Laird knows about this... On the corner of 28th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, there is a curtained phone booth that's been seeing quite a bit of activity, despite the advent of cell phones. The booth was put in place by a sex toy company called Hot Octopus. They were inspired by a "Time Out" survey that deduced that 39% of men masturbate at work (take a moment to look around the office and guess who). So, the booths are for masturbating someplace private when you can't wait to get back from lunch and use a bathroom stall. Yeah, YOU. The booth includes a folding chair and computer for checking your "email." It opened on Tuesday, and apparently 100 people christened it that afternoon. Hot Octopus co-founder Adam Lewis says, "There’s no denying that working a nine to five job can be stressful on both your mind and body, especially in a non-stop city like Manhattan. It’s really important for guys to look after themselves so that they can stay healthy and focus properly on the task in hand. We’re told time and time again how beneficial it is to have a break away from your desk. At Hot Octopuss we are all about looking for new solutions to improve everyday life and we feel we’ve done just that with the new GuyFi booth. We hope the city’s men enjoy using the space we’ve created in whatever way they want. It’s completely free of charge… all that we ask is they thank us when they get their promotion!" Whoops, hold up. The booths aren't really for masturbating. That's actually extremely illegal. A representative gave Mashable this ass-covering statement, "We may be insinuating that these booths could be used in whichever way anyone would like to 'self soothe,'... but the brand is not actively encouraging people to masturbate in public as that is an illegal offense." Of course, that hasn't stopped people from masturbating in phone booths since they were invented. GuyFi isn't really revolutionary except in the way it calls attention to it.
For just 200 million dollars, you can be the proud (?) owner of The Playboy Mansion. There's just one catch... a really old horn-dog roommate who never gets out of his pajamas. "ABC News" reports that the famous party pad was put on the market today, with the condition that 89-year-old perv Hugh Hefner gets to stay in his bedroom until his (likely Viagra-related) death. Besides bragging rights, the 200,000 square foot mansion comes with 29 rooms (28 if you subtract the old man's haunted boudoir), a home theater, a zoo, a pool, and of course, the infamous grotto and its plethora of communicable diseases. Some sources report, however, that the mansion is not in tip-top shape. TMZ doesn't get specific, but says Hugh's pad is not worth the HEF-ty (get it?) asking price, and is apparently in "tear-down condition." That little detail probably won't concern the rich douche who buys this place. He'll have bigger problems, like getting Hef to do his part of the chores.
Alright, so, you know it's MLK Day, right? If you'r staying at the Mirage you might get a good deal...
Yes, we've all had that dream. I was at the book shop this past weekend and I saw a Dr. King book I have to share with you...
Haha. Very good. Speaking of books, did you know there's a new Harry Potter book out?
I don't get it. So, this year is the 10th anniversary year of the Phile and all month I am showing up pictures of what people look like when they read the Phile. Check it out...
Why would he let the baby look at the Phile? Maybe it's for the pictures. Hmmmm. Okay, now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...
Top Phive Selling Points Of The Playboy Mansion
5. If you should ever need to clone Hugh Hefner, there are plenty of DNA samples to be found on the premises.
4. There's a bronze plaque dedicating the bedroom in which Charlie Sheen contracted HIV.
3. The legal procedure to evict Pauly Shore should be completed by the time of sale.
2. It features a lavishly-appointed bar, pre-stocked with vodka, scotch, and Bill Cosby's favorite "mixer."
And the number one selling point of the Playboy Mansion is...
1. Throughout, there's a distinctive, ever-present scent of old-man balls.
All through January for the Phile's anniversary month I am showing you Mindphucks that you readers have sent in. So far it's definitely been a stretch... let's see how this one goes...
I don't get... wait, I think I do. If you figure it out please let me know, people. It is a sad picture though, isn't it? Okay, it's Monday so it's time to talk football with my good friend Jeff.
Me: Jeff, welcome back. How's it going?
Jeff: Great to be back on the Phile. I'm looking forward to my adventure in New Jersey later on this week. That's about it for me.
Me: Okay, a lot of crazy stuff happened in The NFL world this weekend... Like that ending of the Green Bay game. Good-bye, Green Bay. Ha! So, what happened?
Jeff: That was a crazy finish, that's for sure. As far as what happened, Green Bay just came up a little short. Arizona has a player like Larry Fitzgerald. There are few receivers as dynamic as him and we saw that against Green Bay.
Me: So, what do you think about the Rams moving to L.A.? I don't think it'll be a success.
Jeff: You mean the Rams are moving BACK to L.A. There are still talks that the Chargers might move to L.A. as well. Here's the thing... L.A. has had several football teams over the years, the Rams and the Raiders several times. Ultimately it doesn't seem to work there. But considering the market size of L.A., of course they are going to keep trying to put a team there. But finding success will be a completely different story.
Me: So, how did we do this past weekend with our picks?
Jeff: It is a rare thing that I can say this. We both went 2-0 this week. And because of that I maintain my 4 point lead. There's still 3 games to pick, a total of 6 points up for grabs. It can still go either way. Because if we tie, you will get the win because of actual predictions.
Me: Alright, with the next picks I say Denver by 3 and Arizona by 4. What do you say?
Jeff: I hate to say it but New England by 7 and Carolina by 3.
Me: Alright, see you here next week.
Jeff: See you next week!
November 19th, 1941 — January 15th, 2016
Now it's just "The Times of Grizzly Adams."
Okay, the 44th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...
Phile Alum and author will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.
Today's pheatured guest is a Phile Alum and lead singer and founder of the cool band who I love... Nine Times Blue. They have to great albums on iTunes... "Falling Slowly" and "Matter of Time." Please welcome back to the Phile, my friend... Kirk Waldrop.
Me: Hey there, Kirk, welcome back to the Phile, my friend. How are you?
Kirk: Doing great, Jason! So great to hear from you again…and also... congrats on the 10th anniversary of the Phile!
Me: Thanks. I know you don't have a new release out but for this month, for the Phile's 10th anniversary, I wanted to interview some of my favorite guests and yes, you are one of them. I love your band Nines Times Blue... even though it reminds me of algebra which I never did in school. Haha. Anyway, are you guys recording a new album?
Kirk: We haven’t actually started recording the new album yet, but about 3/4 of the songs are written and we’ve started working out arrangements. We’ve actually started playing one of them, “One By One," live. I’ll have to send you a URL to see some footage of us doing it at a show back in the fall.
Me: So, when do you wanna release the new album?
Kirk: My hope is to get into the studio by late spring and have the new record ready before the end of the year. The goal this time is to do another full length, rather than an EP.
Me: Did you do good in math in school?
Kirk: I’m going to come across a nerd here, but yeah... I did well in math. My undergrad degree is in engineering and I minored in math. It just always came naturally to me. I’ve actually read somewhere that folks that are good in math are also good at music, and vice versa. Wonder if that’s really true?
Me: Well, I suck at math and can't play an instrument... unless you count the kazoo. I forgot Nine Times Blue was named after a Mike Nesmith song... I Googled the band name and that came up. I don't know if I ever asked you this, but did you ever meet Nesmith?
Kirk: Nope... haven’t met him, but would love to. I never know what to say to my music heroes when I meet them. I likely come across like a babbling idiot. I have however met his son Christian Nesmith, who is an incredible musician in his own right. I believe he plays in his dad’s backing band as well as with The Monkees’ touring band.
Me: Mike Nesmith is touring with Peter Noone now, did you know that?
Kirk: I did not know that. I’ll bet that’s a great show. I think Mickey Dolenz tours with Peter Noone, as well. Davy Jones may have done the same years ago. Definitely a great pairing.
Me: I was supposed to interview him once but when I met him he turned me straight down saying, "I don't do interviews for fucking blogs and I have nothing to say." He was a bloody Monkee for crying out loud! Haha. You've been a Monkees fan all your life, right?
Kirk: Yeah... he was a Monkee, but he was so much more, too. I guess he feels he’s said enough. He really doesn’t seem to do many interviews anymore, so I wouldn’t take it personally. I have been a HUGE Monkess fan for most of my life. I’m first and foremost a Beatles fan, but one day I was ready for something new (I think I was 10 or 11) and I ventured WAY out of my Beatles comfort zone and bought a Monkess album… and the rest is history.
Me: Do you have a favorite Monkees song?
Kirk: Too many to pick just one. Always loved “Someday Man," written by Paul Williams, “The Door Into Summer” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday.”
Me: So, I think you are a great singer, songwriter and guitarist. I love your guitar which I think I mentioned before. Where did you get it?
Kirk: Thanks for the kind words. It’s certainly a matter of opinion as to whether I’m a guitarist. After nearly 30 years of playing, I should be a lot better than I am… but I get by. I think the guitar you’re referring to is my black and white Rickenbacker 360 6-string.
Me: Yeah, he's a picture of you playing it...
Kirk: That’s my baby. That was actually a birthday present from my wife, so I’m not exactly sure where it came from.
Me: Do you remember what the first song you learnt to play on guitar, Kirk?
Kirk: Hmmm… well… I THINK it was The Beatles “Day Tripper,” likely followed by some originals my friend’s band... The Groovy Tubes. My friends from the band... Adam and Eric Leland were instrumental in my early days learning guitar and vastly improving my taste in music. Actually... one of the first songs I learned with my guitar teacher was “Alice’s Restaurant," which I can still play.
Me: In the 90s you were in band called The Features, right? That's a great name for a band. Where did that name come from?
Kirk: Yeah... I always liked that name. When I started writing and playing my own songs in the early 1990s, I was typically backed by my friends Adam and Eric Leland on bass and drums. We played with several names, many just jokes, such as Kirk and The Comfortable Two, but decided we needed something a bit more serious. Being a Beatles fan, and a fan of many of the classic 60s bands, I felt we needed a “The xxxxxS” kind of name, and so many bands were featuring someone, like The Someones featuring Somebody… so we thought The Features featuring Kirk Waldrop had a nice ring to it. Actually… because I was obsessed with British names, and a big fan of XTC (including bassist Colin Moulding), we were The Features featuring Colin Kirkland, with me using the “Colin” moniker. Some folks actually thought that was my name for a while. When I started playing in Athens, GA... we dropped my name and just went with The Features. I’d likely still be using the name, but after a 4 plus year hiatus from music in the late 1990s/early 2000s... a band from Nashville starting using the name. They’re a great band and I figured they’d get better use out of it than me, so I decided not to pursue getting the name back.
Me: How was that band different from Nine Times Blue?
Kirk: The Features was a LOT more influenced by The Beatles and Squeeze than Nine Times Blue is. Nine Times Blue is definitely more on the alternative side of power pop, and leaning more that way with every album.
Me: You and I have the same musical tastes... and it shows through your music. I have a music project as well called Strawberry Blondes Forever, but my songs are in their own category. have you heard my band?
Kirk: I have actually heard your band! You told me about it before and I checked it out. It’s an interesting mix of styles... definitely some power pop jangle with the guitars, but the vocals and song structure reminded me of Cake or perhaps a little bit of Wall of Voodoo. Cool stuff.
Me: I think Nine Times Blue would do a great version of my song "I Wish I Was a Beatle." So, what do you think? Haha.
Kirk: Musically we could definitely do that one justice, but vocally... I’d wreck it. I’m bad the songs that are sort of spoken word... which is why we don’t cover any Cake songs. I just can’t get the vocal cadence down.
Me: Alright, fair enough. Years ago you helped produce an album with famous bands doing Paul McCartney songs to raise money for breast cancer awareness, am I right? Was that a fun album to do, Kirk?
Kirk: Correct! I actually produced two companion albums... "Listen To What the Man Said" and "Coming Up." Both were huge labors of love, a LOT of work to do, and something I’m immensely proud of. They were a ton of fun to work on and to put out into the world.
Me: Do you have a favorite Beatles song?
Kirk: I’ve always been quite partial to “Nowhere Man” and “Here, There and Everywhere.”
Me: You don't cover the Beatles in your shows, right?
Kirk: Not with Nine Times Blue, but I do a few when I play the occasional solo acoustic show, such as “Rocky Raccoon," “I’ve Just Seen a Face," “Dear Prudence," “Blackbird," “Mother Nature’s Son," “Cry Baby Cry” and “I’ve Got a Feeling."
Me: Any new covers you do?
Kirk: We just started to cover Silversun Pickups’ “Panic Switch” and we’ve picked up a few others over the past few months including “Peaches” by Presidents of the USA, “My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit, and “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World.
Me: So, recently you guys opened for Drivin' and Cryin'. How was that? Did they put on a cool show?
Kirk: Yes... we opened for them last November, which was the second time opening for Drivin' and Cryin' in 2015. It was a fantastic show... one of our best. It’s much easier to put on a killer show when you’re playing to a capacity crowd! Drivin' and Cryin' was amazing... perhaps the best I’ve seen them play. They were joined that night by the amazing Warner Hodges (Jason & The Scorchers, Dan Baird & Homemade Sin)... which I think elevated everyone else’s performance.
Me: Is there a band you'd love to open for? Many of them!
Kirk: I’d love to open for Squeeze, or perhaps the Gin Blossoms. Foo Fighters would also be killer to open for. We’re all big fans. We’ve been lucky to open for some great bands over the past several years, so we’ve always got our fingers crossed for the ones on our wish list.
Me: I know you are a big Squeeze fan like me. Did you read the last interview I did with John Bentley? What did you think?
Kirk: I am a big Squeeze fan and did read the interview. I thought it was great! I’ll read any Squeeze related interview.
Me: Have you heard their new album "Cradle to the Grave"? It's very good.
Kirk: I’ve actually not given it a proper listen, other than skipping around to hear a few tracks. I have a signed copy from them and also have it downloaded on my phone. One of these days I’ll sit down and listen to it start to finish and really take it in the right way. I’m afraid I just don’t have as much time to listen to music these days as I used to with work, family and my own musical pursuits.
Me: So, your last album was "Matter of Time" and that came out a few years ago. You're working on new music, how is that coming along, Kirk?
Kirk: Yes, “Matter of Time” was the last release, an EP, and we’re approaching the two (2) year anniversary of that release. As I mentioned above... we are working on new music, with about 5 or 6 songs written at this point. Well... at least all the music and chorus lyrics are written, but the remaining lyrics are in various stages of completion. We’ve started playing one song, “One By One," out live and it’s getting good response. It’s a little different for us... think REM meets Pink Floyd meets the Allman Brothers.
Me: Are you doing all the song writing again?
Kirk: I am doing most of the writing. There’s at least one that started off with a very cool bass riff from Jeff Nelson, our bass player. Very Pixies / Smashing Pumpkins feel to it. We’re hoping to get that one done for the new album.
Me: Any chance you'll be playing down here in Florida again soon?
Kirk: We’d love to come back. Hopefully when the new album is done... we’ll have a good reason to head back down there.
Me: Oh, there's one thing I think I keep forgetting to ask you and that is you are in the Guinness Book of Records. Or maybe I did ask you, but I'm asking you again. What was that for? A concert, right?
Kirk: Yes... that was for the World’s Longest Concert by Multiple Artists. We did that back with Nine Times Blue was just an acoustic duo, I think it was back in 2010, maybe 2011. Anyway... it was for charity and we performed for one hour of what I think was 343 hours of continuous music. We were part of the record for a year before it was broken.
Me: Okay, I am asking my Alum guests what they were doing 10 years ago... so what were you doing, Kirk?
Kirk: Ten years ago I was most definitely not playing any music. I was living in Alexandria, VA. My wife and I had just had our first daughter a few months before now, I had just switched over to Sirius Satellite radio so I could continue to listen to Howard Stern, and I was just wrapping up the core curriculum of a dual masters degree program at University of Maryland. This was about two years into a 3 plus year period where I didn’t even open my guitar case. That changed when I moved back to the Atlanta area in the summer of 2007.
Me: Thanks so much for being here again. Please come back when the new album comes out. Go ahead and mention your website.
Kirk: Thanks for having me again, Jason! Always a pleasure to be part of the Phile! The website is ninetimesblue.com, Facebook is facebook.com/ninetimesblue and YouTube is youtube.com/9timesblue.
Me: Take care, and come visit!
That about does it for this entry, kids. Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz and Kirk Waldrop. The Phile will be back on Wednesday with Phile Alum Justin Ross from The Bandicoots. 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