Sunday, May 8, 2016

Pheaturing Al Laughlin From Highway 50

Happy Mother's Day! Hello, welcome to the Phile, and yes, it's Mother's Day, which I almost forgot about as my mum as you know passed away in 2000. Well, maybe you don't know. I'm so glad my mother brought me into a world where love can be expressed electronically. My mum was wonderful... she supported me in every decision she made for me. Alright, so, let's start this Mother's Day entry with a story about Justin Bieber being sued for $100,000 because he doesn't know how to use a beer bong. At a Houston nightclub in April, Justin Bieber had a fun college-style night involving cigarettes and a beer bong, Uproxx reported. The night kicked off with Bieber putting out a cigarette (or something else smoke-able) on the arm of his tour mate, Post Malone. Then, according to TMZ, the 22-year-old singer gave it a go at a beer bong, only to show his ineptitude at the drinking apparatus. Robert Earl Morgan, who was present at the club, said Bieber "was clearly a novice" with the beer bong and spilled everywhere. Sounds like Bieber isn't going to make the cut for SAE this year. Morgan was noticing all this because he was filming Bieber... an act that Bieber did not take kindly to. Bieber apparently grabbed Morgan's phone and smashed it to pieces (yeah, this is definitely a college-y night). Morgan is suing Bieber for a whopping $100,000 because Morgan's phone had business contacts and about 5,000 pictures, including ones from his grandmother's 100th birthday party. It's certainly too bad that Morgan lost out on pics from old Gran-Gran's big bash, but $100,000 is a lot of money for a phone. Myself, I don't care what you say about Bieber, he's a Fogjat fan...

Another Justin... Justin Timberlake released his first new song since 2013, and hot damn it's catchy. At midnight on Thursday, pop star and national treasure Justin Timberlake released his first song in 3 years, "Can't Stop The Feeling," for the upcoming Dreamworks animated movie Trolls, in which he voices a troll named Branch. No, not an Internet troll, one of those little weird hairy things. The video features the cast of the movie, which includes James Corden, Kunal Nayyar, Anna Kendrick, Ron Funches, and Gwen Stefani, dancing around and having a good time and just generally being great at life and fun. "Can't Stop the Feeling" is all over the radio, it's number one on iTunes in the U.S. Catchy tune? Check. Lyrics about dancing? Check. Your new summer jam? Check. Justin still wearing a goddamn fedora? Check.
A 7-year-old girl from Texas got away with the impossible when she used a fake note to get dismissed from school early on Monday. Rosabella, a second grade student at Sheldon Elementary School, will undoubtedly go down in history for handing her teacher the very obviously forged note that got her out of attending an after-school program and put on an early bus home. Rosabella would have been your hero when you were seven, but the situation is a total nightmare for any parent.
After Rosabella was dropped off at home, she realized that she was locked outside. It wasn't until she went to a neighbors house to ask to use the bathroom that anyone even knew that she was dropped off early. The neighbors called her father, Charlie Dahu, who had no idea that his daughter was not at school where she was supposed to be. "I was shaking," Dahu said. "I was scared. I was just glad to see her in good health and that nothing happened to her. Dahu went to the school to confront the people who let his daughter go home early and filmed their exchange. Even the employee he spoke to admitted that the note looked questionable. When the father asked, "Now, does this look like a note... does this look like a note that a parent would write?" The employee responded by saying, "No, that's why I asked my boss." The school released a statement saying, "We are reviewing our training procedures to ensure that our after school grant program staff is properly trained in dismissal procedures." Plus, that terribly written note is a total slap in the face for anyone who spent hours perfecting writing their parents' signatures. By the way, this is the note...

This seems on the up-and-up.
Hey, the Obamas love Star Wars just as much as everyone else! (They are contractually obligated to.) And to prove it, on Wednesday (May the Fourth, Star Wars Day) they took a little break from being in charge of the nation to dance with R2-D2 and couple of Stormtroopers who somehow made it past security into the White House. Yes, they danced to "Uptown Funk," and yes, Michelle says it's her favorite song. Wow! Look at this.

Y'all, that is a whole bunch of relatable fun-having there, by some very dedicated fun-havers. Star Wars! U.S.A.! Okay, back to worrying about the future of the country.
On Tuesday night, MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews was reporting on Donald Trump... and how good Melania Trump looked. While his co-workers were busy covering the Indiana primary, Matthews believed that nobody could hear what he was saying about Mrs. Trump. He was wrong. Everyone heard... including Brian Williams, who wisely cut to commercial so viewers could be spared further thoughts from Matthews. "Variety" confirmed that Matthews said, "​Did you see her walk? That's runway walk. My God, is that good." But that wasn't all. "I could watch that runway show." "Hardball" has a whole new meaning now, doesn't it? Ugh, ick, eek. Matthews has a point:... Melania, who is a former model, is a nice-looking lady. But it's Chris Matthews making that comment. Then again, Melania is married to Donald Trump. So maybe the Slovenia transport was into the praise? Eh, not so much. Her rep shared a statement in response, "Melania Trump is an accomplished businesswoman and entrepreneur in her own right, achieving tremendous success in a variety of industries, including an illustrious modeling career, as well as being a dedicated wife and mother. It is unfortunate to see the continuous inaccuracies and misrepresentations made by the media of Mrs. Trump as anything less than the independently successful woman that she is." Good for Mrs. Trump, being successful at those things she does.
In addition to breakfast in bed and trying to be less annoying for the day, kids traditionally give their moms a sweet card to honor them for Mother's Day. Like this one for example...

Collin doesn't understand the point of Mother's Day. Hey, I found your mum's van...

Hahahaha. I'm just kidding. Alright, so, when Ted Cruz dropped out of the presidential race I wasn't at all surprised. After al, I saw Zootopia...

Hmmm. So, even though Ted has dropped out he still has come out with a new slogan.

You know, one thing I like to do in my spare time is to look up different words on Twitter and one of those words I look up is "Foghat." This is what I recently found...

That has happened to me. It was recently announced that the $20 bill will soon be redesigned, replacing President Andrew Jackson with the face of a woman. That dramatic move will rocket the ratio on U.S. currency all the way up to ten men and TWO women! But there’s an even better way for America to show the ladies just how much it thinks of them.

Haha. Alright, and now from the home office in Port Jefferson, here is this week's...

Top Phive Historical Inaccurancies in "Hamilton."
5. Nowhere in the Oath of Office does an incoming President swear that he 'likes big butts" and "cannot lie."
4. It's true that Alexander Hamilton died in a shootout... but there's no record of his last words being "Thug life."
3. In real life, George Washington could barely rap eight bars without his wooden teeth falling out.
2. Oddly, it completely overlooks Abigail Adam's legendary beatboxing skills.
And the number one historical inaccuracies in "Hamilton" is...
1. The Constitution's preamble doesn't really start with "My name is Alexander Hamilton, and I'm here to say..."

If you spot the Mindphuck, and it's pretty easy, please Alright, so, I love jokes, and the other day I was thinking familiar, well-trod joke formats didn’t begin with your dad. Knock-knock jokes, chickens crossing roads, and bad wordplay have been delighting/making people groan for generations. You might not know where certain jokes come from, so that's why I wanted a new pheature to tell you the disturbing origins of these jokes. So, here's a new pheature called...

"Yo Mama" jokes. It is Mother's Day after all. Yo mama is so dumb, she thinks yo mama jokes were only a fad in the ‘90s. These jokes started as an inner city street game in the ‘60s called the Dozens. Two guys would freestyle insult each other (and, of course, each other’s mothers) until one& couldn’t top the other. Still, the insult game... and why it’s called the Dozens... go back way farther, and gets way darker. In her article "Still Laughing to Keep from Crying," author Mona Lisa Saloy says that the Dozens originated in the New Orleans slave trade, where slaves that had been punished for disobedience were sold cheaply in bulk, by the dozens. To be one of “the dozens” was about the lowest state for a human being. See? Now you know.

Mother's Day
Mother's Day is an annual worldwide holiday honoring those who still use Yahoo! mail.

The 47th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

I said last week that Todd will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks but he'll actually will be here tomorrow.

Today's guest is the lead singer and founder of the Colorado band Highway 50 whose latest EP "The Violent Project" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Al Laughlin.

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

Al: Doing well thanks, hope your the same!!

Me: Yes, I am. So, I got to say... Highway 50? You have like 50 people in the band judging by this publicity pic...

Me: Hahahahaha. How many people in the band, Al?

Al: I use a 4 to 7 piece band live. The people on the EP are other friends that also play with me and were useful on the recording.

Me: So, I guess you knew these people before?

Al: Yes, I've known most of them many years. One of the drummers Jeep Macnichol used to play in The Samples with me. Brian Nevin is drummer for Big Head Todd and longtime friend.

Me: You know, the more people in the band, the less percentage you get. Haha. So, who are these folks?

Al: All of these friends love to play and make it about the music. It's really in any musicians best interest to be on a well produced recording in my opinion. Each player has experience and plays in many bands and projects. They are all dear friends.

Me: Where did the bands name come from? I'm guessing there really is a Highway 50.

Al: I ran out of gas on Highway 50 in Utah once which was memorable. It was the Pony Express route when mail was delivered by horse and is called "the loneliest road in America." It was all amusing.

Me: One of the members in Highway 50 was in Big Head Todd and the Monsters you said. I loved that band back in the 90s. Are they still together?

Al: Yes, Brian Nevin is a long time friend, great drummer and person. I played many shows with him.

Me: So, you guys are from Colorado... what part?

Al: We all live in Boulder/Denver area.

Me: Were you born there, Al?

Al: I was born in Lowell Ma, and moved out to Colorado in late 80s. The Samples started about then.

Me: So, now that pot is legalized there do you see a whole lot of change?

Al: Yes, I see a lot less violence and sickness in every way, though you'll catch an occasional driver thinking their going 70 when really their going 30... ha.

Me: The music scene in Colorado is pretty cool, right? I interviewed a few musicians from there. That's one place I love to visit. If I went, what should I do there?

Al: I really like the music scene in Denver. Being the middle of the country I think musicians somehow end up here. Visiting is just pleasant either way. Visit the Fillmore or Boulder Theaters and check whose playing. It's just nice being here. If you visit contact me!

Me: I will. Okay, let's talk about your music... as well as Highway 50, you have another band... The Samples. That's a great band as well. How do you compare the two bands, Al?

Al: The original Samples stopped in the late 90s leaving Sean Kelly to carry it on. We are are still good friends and hope to do some reunion shows and maybe a recording. I learned a lot from touring and playing in The Samples so the style leaks into Highway 50. I draw in ska reggae rhythm and blues and hip hop adding horns and female vocals and touch on jazz and swing so in that way it goes in another direction from The Samples. Sean Kelly sits in with Highway 50 sometimes and we have a blast and Jeep is my drummer when available. I just keep the musical ball rollin!!

Me: What made you form this second band?

Al: I had the songs and write constantly and its my favorite thing to do simply.

Me: You have a great new EP out called "The Violet Project." Where did that name come from?

Al: "The Violet Project" was done at Violet Recording in Boulder Co. My friend Scott Higgins owns it and is a band member on guitar. Combined with friends Darren Roebuck and Chris Wright they were able to help me execute the recording. All these guys were very instrumental making it happen.

Me: Did you do all the songwriting for the EP?

Al: Yes, I did. I had the songs for years but Darren Roebuck helped me work them out at his house each week as a motivator.

Me: Your music is very ska, reggae sounding. Did you grow up listening to bands like The Specials, Madness, The Police, Grateful Dead and bands like that?

Al: You got that right! Yup! I grew up in Boston area listening to ska reggae jazz. I went to England playing soccer when I was younger and got a heavy dose of ska and American punk/hardcore was slamming back then. My dad was a jazz fan so I heard all of those records so the styles all meshed. The Samples played with a lot of jam bands but I always considered us a bit different because the improv jams were rooted in reggae beats so it felt less noodle... Must say John Popper's HORDE tour in 93 was a blast... all great people!

Me: Your music has been also compared to Elvis Costello... which drew me to you as I'm a big Elvis fan. Are you a fan?

Al: I have a lot of respect for anyone that has pulled of a music life as he has. I think our comparison comes from writing melodic songs and fusing reggae in there... and we're both white as a previous interview pointed out... (thanks for fillin me in). Yea, Elvis is inspirational

Me: What about Graham Parker? Graham is my idol.

Al: I'm not as familiar but have respect for the music.

Me: So, how long have you been playing music professionally?

Al: Since 1987 just before The Samples. I played in a band called The Professors in Boulder.

Me: You play keyboards, and your playing has been called "the bubble," am I right? Where did that come from and first called it that?

Al: Cool question. "The bubble" is actually a style I heard Jamaicans doing in the roots reggae music. The Wailers member Wya Lindo was really influential. It basically sounds like a bubble sort of when you play it. Most reggae shows you'll here the keyboard doing it, I think I brought that into context with my bands and cross styles so it stands out.

Me: When you first heard that what did you think?

Al: I loved it and wanted to learn it so listened to every reggae record Jeep Macnichol had and absorbed it.

Me: So, does Highway 50 play many gigs, Al?

Al: I play all the time no matter what. I just try to keep the ball rolling as I said even if members can't make it. I keep gigs updated on

Me: Do you guys just play Colorado or across the states?

Al: I play all over and getting a new booking agent soon. I'll be in Boston and Cape Cod/east coast in late July.

Me: I just watched the video for the song "Condoplex" and thought it was well put together with lots of clips that don't really segue. Is that what you were leaning to?

Al: The video was done by Andy Sheldon original bassist of The Samples. He lives in Oregon and likes the music. He's talented at editing and film and took it upon himself to do it. He's done videos for Highway 50 tunes "The System,""Heard About You,""Building in the Sky," and another off the new one 'Pyrite Gold"... They're all done in friendship and light hearted so its really a fun thing.

Me: It definitely fits the great song. By the way, what is a condoplex? It's a place people live, right?

Al: Ha!!! Yea, it's about living in tight quarters and seeing people suffering and needing help at times.  The absurd thing was watching the lack of communication. Everyone seemed to be in their own world and that was sad to me because communication with neighbors is important in my eyes  So yes, condoplex was the word that came to me.

Me: Okay, so, I have to ask, are The Samples still together?

Al: I kind of explained before but, yes.

Me: You'r right, you did.

Al: The current Samples are lead by original member Sean Kelly. He has kept the music alive and still writes great songs. We hope to do some shows as the original members when we figure out the venues we want to play and fitting into everyones schedules, etc. Still all friends... personally I have improved since then and think we could have some great show... open to venue suggestions!

Me: One of the members of The Samples was in the movie Pirates of the Carribbean, is that true?

Al: Yes, Charles Hambleton and his brother James that plays guitar in Highway 50.

Me: Did you see it? What did you think of their performances?

Al: They were extras.

Me: What about you, Al? Any plans to act? Haha.

Al: I'd love too! Nothing in the works but get a kick out of acting out my own life... Good suggestion!

Me: What's next for you, Al? Anything else coming up?

Al: I'm currently writing a full album and bracing myself for doing some touring. Completely psyched actually!

Me: It's so cool to have you here on the Phile. I hope it was fun and I hope you'll come back again soon. Why don't you mention your website again?


Me: Thanks again for being here. Continued success. Come back again soon!

Al: Thank you, its been a trip going through the years fun stuff!! ᐧ

There, that about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Al for a great interview. The Phile will be back tomorrow with author Todd James Pierce. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Have a good Mother's Day.

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

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