Sunday, February 7, 2016

Pheaturing Phile Alumni Burning Jet Black

Dad, remembering you on this day...

Hello, and welcome to the Phile for a Sunday... it's not just any Sunday, people, it's Super Bowl Sunday! The two states that legalized pot are getting together for a "Super Bowl." I hope this year's Super Bowl players are safely protected from having to listen to Coldplay during halftime. This is a phun phact... the toilet is flushed more times during the Super Bowl halftime than any time during the year. Do you love watching those Super Bowl commercials? I watched the Super Bowl commercials on the Internet, but only for the pop-up ads. Haha. Actually, I refuse to watch them until the game. It's all part of the fun. The funniest Super Bowl commercial was the one where they pretended farmers really exist and our food doesn't just come from the store. It's sad to think of all players who'll one day be brain damaged enough to laugh at Super Bowl commercials. Here's hoping your team's Super Bowl championship shirts don't have to be flown to a Third World country tomorrow. Okay, enough about the Super Bowl... what else is going on in the news?
A group of "neo-masculinist" Men's Rights Activists have been kicking up an Internet dust storm this past week after their leader, a man named Daryush “Roosh” Valizadeh, announced plans for a meet up in Australia. Despite Australia's continued refusal to acknowledge that blackface is racist, they're fairly progressive on women's issues. Since Roosh has advocated for "legal rape," meaning a rape committed on private property wouldn't be prosecutable, a petition was quickly created to keep him out of the country. Australia’s Immigration Minister Peter Dutton made a statement that supported the notion that Roosh and his chest thumping basement cretins could be banned, saying, "People who advocate violence against women aren’t welcome in Australia... In the past people advocating violence against women have had their visa refused or cancelled." Roosh hit back with an illustration that looks like it was created by someone who has been playing Risk by himself in the cafeteria instead of going outside with the other kids at recess...

Then, on Wednesday, the tide turned. There have been so many protests launched and threats of violence that the hateful meet up has been thwarted. The website Return of the Kings, used to organize Roosh's events and sell rape merch, released a statement that his visit to Australia is cancelled. The statement reads, "I can no longer guarantee the safety or privacy of the men who want to attend on February 6, especially since most of the meetups can not be made private in time. While I can’t stop men who want to continue meeting in private groups, there will be no official Return of Kings meetups. The listing page has been scrubbed of all locations. I apologize to all the supporters who are let down by my decision." Oh my gosh, men who want to rape ladies at will because they're so masculine are afraid for their safety? What's a little ultra violence, lads! The frustrating thing is that Roosh's ultimate goal is to get everyone hearing and reading his name. This has still been accomplished. He's a social media expert: say something insanely inflammatory, have it reported everywhere, and then get lots and lots of attention and book sales. 
Americans all have their own Super Bowl traditions, like the many unique unhealthy snacks various states prefer, but one that is shared all over the country is someone loudly explaining how that yellow first down line gets superimposed on the field. Traditionally, the specifics of the story are made up on the spot by the explainer, but popular themes include a claim that it's beamed down from space and often involve recently declassified military technology. The true explanation is both way simpler and at the same time more complex, because it's a real answer about how technology works. The helpful folks at Vox created an explainer video that will walk you through it in about four minutes, so you can cough and politely make everyone in the room realize that you are the most knowledgeable and deserve the last piece of the party sub. Basically, the field is a big green screen, except it's also a huge painted field of grass with people running all over it and cameras whirring around willy-nilly. In order for the green screen to work, then, the three cameras in the stadium need to memorize what every inch of field (and player uniform) looks like in every possible condition. No matter what happens, no matter how fast the cameras are moving, the system (known as "1st and Ten") knows which pixels are field, where on the field they are, and which pixels are players, balls, refs, and other non-field things.
This crab is terrifying and real and yup, this tourist named Mark Pierrot just picked it up.

Tourist turned viral photo subject Mark Pierrot's recent trip to Australia's Christmas Island gave him the chance to hang out with some of the locals, including this utterly gigantic coconut crab... the largest known land arthropod on Earth. The tropical island is home to more than a million of these huge crabs, in case you're wondering where not to go on vacation. Coconut crabs can grow up to 16 inches, with a leg span of three feet, and weigh up to nine pounds, and will now be the subject of nightmares for countless readers everywhere. You're welcome! Their size has earned them the nickname "crabzilla," and they're also sometimes called "robber crabs" because they steal everything (including your SOUL... not really), according to Linda Cash, the Christmas Island marketing manager. If you ever find yourself trying to escape from a coconut crab, it's good to know that they can climb trees, but they'll drown in water. So will you, but that might be preferable to having to spend any extended amount of time around one of these creatures. ​Coconut crabs are often hunted for their meat, which residents of many islands consider to be a delicacy and an aphrodisiac. But they're safe on Christmas Island, where it's illegal to hunt and eat them... and people who break that law can be fined up to $4,000. No word on what happens if it's just self defense. The typical coconut crab's diet consists of coconuts (duh), fruit, dead animals, other crabs, and the occasional tourist (that last part may be made up).
Here's a story about a gymnast who got her name in the record books by creating an impressive, vagina-crushing move. Eighteen-year-old gymnast Marisa Dick created a new gymnastics move that now bears her name... one you shouldn't attempt it if you ever want children. It's a jump from the floor to a balance beam, landing in a split. The move is now named after her in the sport's official Code of Points, which contains rules for judging how successfully the move was performed (you've got to assume points are taken away every time someone winces). By the way, yes, it seems that Dick has a sense of humor about this pubic-bone-crushing trick.
Super Bowl Sunday is as much about the snacks as it is about the sports. The good people at Google made a map showing the most-searched for snacks by state leading up to the game, which shows that regardless of how the country divides along Broncos vs. Panthers lines, it is united in its love of dips. People all along the East Coast and into the Midwest will be savoring Buffalo Chicken Dip. North Carolinians will be cheering on their team while eating 7 Layer Dip, and Colorado, along with the people in New Hampshire, will be feasting on meatballs. The strangest takeaway from the map is that people from Vermont seem to have invented their own delicacy: the Bacon Bread Bowl, which probably goes well with Ben and Jerry's. Bacon Bread Bowl? I want that!
Speaking of food, I love hot dogs... and I have a million dollar idea that Disney should sell something called a Disney Dog in their parks, like this one...

It's Belle. Brilliant, right? If you are buying potato chips for your Super Bowl party Lay's has a new flavor...

I should be the spokesman for them. You guys saw the latest Star Wars movie, right? I was thinking the other day Disney, the greatest company to work for ever, is the best at synergy. Check it out...

Do you guys remember when Robin Williams was a cheerleader for the Broncos? No? Take a look.

One of the things I love 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." and this is what I recently saw yesterday...

So, this year is the Phile's 10th anniversary and I am showing you what people actually look like when they are reading the Phile. It's pretty stupid, but here you go...

Guess he is mad that the last entry of the Phile was all backwards, with the interview first. Haha. I also have been showing you some photos that show why presidential candidates really shouldn't pose with kids.

"This has been. Fun." And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's...

Top Phive Things Overheard At Hillary Clinton's Iowa Victory Rally
5. Uninteresting, unexciting, undynamic... she really IS the anti-Trump!
4. She seems pretty happy for someone who just tied a wild-haired Socialist maniac!
3. She might as well celebrate now... she's going to lose New Hampshire!
2. Tying Bernie Sanders isn't exactly a win, but at least she wasn't "schlonged."
And the number one thing overheard at Hillary's Iowa victory rally was...
1. Bill clearly adores her. No, not Hillary... that blonde up front!

Just in time for Black History Month, now you can spend your morning commute inhaling the scent of an anti-apartheid hero. Just settle in to your Malcolm Xtra-Soft Slipcovers and take deep, easy breaths of the patient yet determined resolve to achieve freedom for all God's people. We'll assume they've approximated the scent from the dead Mandela, and not the 27-years-in-prison Mandela.

I'm posting really easy one this month. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. It's really easy. Alright, so, I told you a few weeks ago that Laird Jim, whose a good friend of the Phile had a stroke and was in the hospital. Well, a lot of you have been asking about him and want to know how he is.  Also I wanna know what he thinks of the Super Bowl. Well, he's fine and out of the hospital... and here's here to tell you. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man. You know what time it is...

Good morning, humans... Happy Super Bowl Sunday, Phuckerz! As always... there's a yin and a yang side to every aspect of my life. On the one side, I've lost 26 lbs. and have been told by several women I know that I look the best I have in nearly 20 years. On the other hand I feel weak, I have NO appetite and even the BEST of my favorite foods taste like a dog shit taco. I had to quit smoking AND drinking completely. My body is in a constant state of upheaval... but I am feeling stronger each and every day. I love you all and want to thank you for your daily support and encouragement. An old friend stopped in to see if I needed anything a short while ago. When I asked her why she came all that way just to check up on me, she replied, "Because... YOU'RE the real El Ray... plain and simple." I didn't quite have the heart to tell her the "real El Ray" was the name of the video store that Quentin Tarantino worked at, before he began as a wannabe screenwriter. Random thought... I have this overwhelming urge for either a really great blow job OR to get into a fight. So... If I happen to walk into wherever you are... I suggest you either pucker up or break out your brass knuckles... just sayin'. My thoughts on The Super Bowl... Anyone who knows me well, understands my feelings on watching sports of any kind, in any format. I feel the same way about sports as I do about sex... unless I'm participating, I have NO interest. No desire to watch it... follow it... or speak about it. To sum up... cleats or condom ON? In 100% not getting bruised, banged or blown? I'm on to a good book or to tinker with my slot cars. To be honest with you all, I don't even KNOW what teams are playing today. No, I'm serious...

O.J. Simpson
O.J. Simpson is a comedic actor, best known for his role as Officer Nordberg in the Naked Gun franchise.

The 45th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Richard will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

Today's Alumni guests are the members of one of my favorite bands I met because of this stupid little blog. Their Eps "The Modern Egotist" and "Rascals" are great, and both available on iTunes. Please welcome back to the Phile from Burning Jet Black... David Bloomfield, Wes Hall, Rob Hughes, and David Sparrow!

Me: Hey, guys, welcome back to the Phile! How have you been?!

Wes: What up?! Yes, long time. We're better than okay!

David S.: Hey, it’s been way too long!

Me: Okay, this year the Phile is celebrating it's 10th anniversary and I wanted for January some of my favorite bands and guests I ever had on the Phile again, and as you guys know, Burning Jet Black is one of my favorite bands that I discovered because of this stupid little blog. The Whiskey Saints weren't such a bad band either. Hahaha. Explain to the readers that might not know what happened to the Saints.

Rob: You are a gentleman for continuing to invite us back and congratulations on 10 years! The short story is that we used to be called the Whiskey Saints and we played a lot of alt-country tunes, but then we started writing more rockin' songs and someone referred to us as a bar band so we changed the name to Burning Jet Black.

David S.: Initially it was the same members with a new name, but then Wes Hall joined us about a year in.

Me: Did you guys ever regret changing the band name?

Wes: It's all I've ever known as a band name.

Davis S.: I don’t have any regrets. I think the new name represents where we’ve come as a band.

Rob: We were hesitant at first because we had been playing so long under the other name, but I think Burning Jet Black fits our music better. No regrets, Jason!

David B.: Hearing the Whiskey Saints definitely brings back some great memories, but it's purely by association. Aside from a few songs on "West" (our first LP), I don't think the old name ever suited us well musically.

Me: Do people ever go to one of your shows and get confused?

Wes: I don't think so; there are some fans that love songs from the Whiskey Saints era. I do too and we play them sometimes but no one has ever come to a BJB show expecting something else. It's a bonus when we play the "old" stuff.

David B.: The Saints were always very much a rock n roll band, so I don't see how anyone could really be that confused, even if the Burning Jet Black records are stylistically different. We do have people come out who are fans of Sparrow from his solo performances, and they're definitely a little shocked on occasion, but usually in a positive way.

Rob: Not anymore, now it's more like, "Oh yeah, you guys used to be the Whiskey Saints. Are you gonna play that Whiskey Saints song tonight?" Ha-ha. The answer is generally "no."

Me: Since 2012 when the band became Burning Jet Black you guys released two fantastic EP's... "The Modern Egotist" and "Rascals." Which one do you guys prefer?

David S.: I’d choose “Rascals."

Wes: Me too, especially since I played on that one.

Rob: That's like asking, "Which one of your kids do you like better?" That's a fucked up choice to be given. But I'll go with "Rascals." We put "Saved" on Rascals and that's one of my favorite songs that we do. We actually re-recorded it for our next record because we started playing it at a much faster tempo after we released "Rascals." The Rascals version sounds weird now, but still good.

David B.: I've always sort of viewed them as part of the same musical collection and not separate works, mainly because we recorded most of the songs from both records at the same time. "Bleeding Heart" and "Waiting For Tomorrow" are two of my favorite recordings BJB has released, both on "Modern Egotist."

Me: Wes, you didn't play on "The Modern Egotist," like you said, but you have played with the band quid a bit over the years before "Rascals," am I right?

Wes: You are correct on both! Although I filled in on the Whiskey Saints stuff I wasn't the main drummer for that or the first BJB record. Jeff Bell (original drummer) set a good foundation for me to pick up on. We have different styles and it was good to adapt to his take on the material, it was like acting.

Me: By the way, do you think Trump is a modern egotist? I think so.

Wes: I don't want to answer and risk losing any political support we might have.

David B.: I'm a proud liberal clown and will gladly admit Trump fits that description quite well.

David S: Don’t even get me started.

Me: Haha. Have you guys been working on any new music?

David S.: Yes! We’ve actually been recording an album for the last 2 years. We’ve been doing it on our own, thus the reason for such a lengthy process. I’m excited because we’re probably only a few months away from finishing/releasing it.

Rob: It feels like that's all we've been working on! We decided over 2 years ago that the next record we were going to record would be totally DIY. We bought Protools and a bunch of recording gear and I bought a book to teach myself how to mix. The goal was to release a song every month. We didn't really consider that it would take so long to get things right, or at least the way we wanted them. We did a lot of learning these past two years… argued about songs, spent most weekends recording or listening to tracks. We're actually to a point now where we have more songs finished than unfinished and we should be able to knock out the last of the songs pretty quickly. I think we set a pretty lofty goal for ourselves and I'm pretty proud of what we've done.

David B.: I just love being able to process everything at a comfortable pace, take the extra time to experiment. The reward when everything finally comes together after a lot of blood and sweat is that much sweeter, too. We were recently recording a cover of Low's "Murderer," and I tried about a dozen different sounds before finding what we ended up describing as the "Twin Peaks" tone; it sort of has this eerie, vintage vibe reminiscent of a David Lynch soundtrack. We were pretty stoked, and it only happened because we had those extra takes. I have great memories from recording the Whiskey Saints "Bootleg EP" (our first release) in my living room with Sparrow, and it was definitely great to experience that sort of freedom again.

Wes: Yes, can't wait! Sparrow found some inspiration and came in with a new song last rehearsal as well that I'm definitely into.

Me: I know you guys play all over California... do you have any favorite shows you have played? 

David S.: Opening for Everest in San Diego at The Casbah a few years ago felt like a pretty big deal. 

Wes: Yes, that was an exciting time as I was just getting the feel for everything.

David B.: I was recently looking through old photos and saw some shots from the House of Blues a few years back here in L.A. I actually had a great time playing that venue, mainly because of the ample "rock out" space provided on stage.

Me: Bloomfield, who is the main songwriter now for the band?

David B.: Sparrow and I still contribute most of the material in bare bones form, but once they're accepted into BJB they usually become an entirely different beast. One of the new songs, "This Company I Keep," was originally a Wilco-esque sort of acoustic pop tune... that would be a horrible description of what it has become now. Rob also writes on occasion, but nearly as much as we'd like since most of his songs are pretty damn excellent.

Me: Sparrow, have the guys ever given you a song that you should do and you said no too?

David S.: Sure. Sometimes there’s stuff I have trouble attaching myself to. Sometimes Dave B. will take the reins these days if I’m not feeling something. But there are definitely songs that go by the wayside just because they don’t really fit.

Me: Sparrow, I know you do a lot of solo stuff... how is that material different from the bands?

David S.: I don’t think all of it is that different, but I guess I still explore a bit of an alt-country sound on my own. I’m not sure if I’ve passed it on before but you can hear examples at There are also some episodes of my defunct podcast Usually By Friday. I just jumped right into doing a podcast without realizing how much time needs to go into each episode. I may try to resurrect it this year.

Me: Any of you other guys have solo projects on the side?

Wes: As a drummer no solo gigs, no one wants to hear that, although I've picked up some side projects stemming from exposure through Sparrows solo stuff when I back him. It keeps me fresh. 

Rob: Wes and I sit in with our friend Kelli Debbs ( from time to time. She's a singer/songwriter with a powerful voice. Completely different from Burning Jet Black, but it's cool to step out of the comfort zone and work with other musicians.

Me: I checked her out and want to interview her here. We talked about you guys doing a Foghat song in the past... what do you guys think? I still think you should. It'll be epic.

David S.: We’re still down for it!

David B.: I think I recommended "Easy Money" to these guys a while back. Definitely still into it. 

Me: Just don't put that echo part in it. Haha.

Rob: Since we're about finished with the new record, we'll need something else to record so who knows! We've talked about recording a couple more covers.

Me: Any new cool bands you guys are listening to at the moment?

Wes: Can't say that I am. I have been pulling random stuff off of KCRW, I listen and add the artists I hear to a playlist and just listen randomly. The DJs on there are awesome.

Rob: Sparrow and I went out to the Silverlake Lounge the other night and caught our buddy's band Beachwood Coyotes. I was blown away. Really great high-energy live show!

David B.: We got compared to the U.K. band Royal Blood a while back in a write-up, and I hadn't heard of them before, but was pleasantly surprised. I also read a study that after 30 most people stop listening to new music, so I'm also nervous that I'm slowly becoming one of those people. You have to work a bit harder to find rock music now, but I'm admittedly lazy about it, too.

Me: Have you heard of Nathaniel Rateliff? He's great if you haven't.

David S.: I haven’t heard the full record, but I love "S.O.B."

Me: Rob, you're the bass player... and Lemmy was a famous bass player. Were you a fan?

Rob: Honestly, not really. I don't dislike him but I can't say that I'm a huge fan.

Me: How did you end up choosing bass?

Rob: By default really. The first band I played in had a drummer and guitar player and all I played at the time was the saxophone so I pretty much had to learn the bass. Ha!

Me: Do you guys remember the first song you all learnt to play?

Rob: No idea. Wes, what did you learn first?

Wes: I don't remember at all.

David S.: I had a "Guitar World" magazine with “Selling the Drama” by Live. That might’ve been it. Although I was working on Beatles songs using the old school Online Guitar Archive.

David B.: I had two tab books that I studied like a madman when I first started playing, Jimi Hendrix "Blues" and Smashing Pumpkins "Siamese Dream." Both were advanced but I remember recording many a sloppy performance reading from those books.

Me: So, Jeff Bell was the original drummer... have you heard from him? Is he in a new band?

David B.: I just assume he's still in a perpetual cycle of doing his laundry as always... although it was great to grab a beer with him recently. We definitely miss Jeff; he was an integral part of the group for many, many years.

Rob: Jeff's following different passions. He moved back east to direct and produce a tremendous documentary about The Sons of Ben, Philadelphia's Major League Soccer team. We still let him hang out with us when he visits L.A. though. No bad blood.

Me: So, your new material, what can we expect from it?

David S.: I’m excited for it. We’ve produced it ourselves so I think it sounds more like “us” than anything we’ve previously released.

David B.: I'll just say very soon, because it sounds promising but also leaves a little room for interpretation.

Me: Who is doing the song writing?

David S.: Dave B. and myself.

David B.: Mostly, Rob also penned one of the new tunes.

Me: Okay, so, I know you guys formed the band ten years ago... but what else were you guys doing then?

David B.: I was just graduating college, decided to ditch any aspirations of grad school, and really only cared about being involved in something creative and meeting other creative people. We were definitely out to have some fun at the same time, too. The main difference now is that we can't consume nearly as much alcohol, and occasionally have to take life seriously, just a little bit though. 

Rob: Mostly just running wild in L.A. It's a pretty great town for young folks. People are moving out with high expectations and looking to make connections. You meet some pretty amazing people when you move out here when you're young.

Me: Wes, what were you doing?

Wes: Just playing whatever I could. Recorded an album with a 70s trio. Finished and moved on. Really I was trying to survive in L.A. as a newbie.

Me: Thanks so much for being back here. I'll have you guys back when the next release comes out. Mention your website, guys.

Wes: Yeah, thanks so much. It's a nice reminder why we're doing it.

David S.: Thanks for having us! Check us out at

Me: Rock on, and continued success.

That about wraps up this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Laird Jim and the guys from Burning Jet Black. Before I finish I want to say today marks the 16th anniversary of my dad passing.
Sixteen years ago today the world lost one of the best rock and roll singers in the world, and I lost my best friend. Those who know me know how much my dad meant to me. He was the greatest and I miss him every day. Normally on Feb. 7th I go into a dark place and don't wanna be around anybody. This year it's different... thanks to some special people. So, I'm gonna play Foghat music during the day, watch some Foghat videos, and think of the good times. I suggest you all do the same. Okay, the Phile will be back tomorrow with Patrick Glass, the drummer from the punk band Nap.

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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Many of us are thinking about your dad, too, I'm sure.