Monday, May 2, 2016

Pheaturing Mark Sarro From Lost Souls On Broadway

Hey there, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How's it going? It's going here, let me tell you. Let's start off with some football talk, shall we? Former University of Mississippi offensive tackle and brand-new Miami Dolphin Laremy Tunsil was drafted on April 28th as the #13 overall pick... which would have been fantastic if he had not been projected to be the #5 or #6 pick (he was even ranked #1 by some). The fall in his fortune happened the night before the draft, when his Twitter account abruptly uploaded a video of Tunsil in an Ole Miss dorm room smoking cannabis from a gas mask bong. This was only the first time he was hacked this week, and right now signs point to his disgruntled stepfather. That smoking video prompted the Baltimore Ravens... a team that seemed far less alarmed by a video of Ray Rice beating his wife... to drop Tunsil instead of taking him as the #6 pick. Miami got him at #13, which probably cost the player about $7 million dollars (this was a great deal for Miami, however). According to Deadspin, this is manifestly the work of someone with a grudge, someone who had been trying to sell the video for weeks before giving up and posting it to Twitter just to damage Tunsil even if they couldn't get cash. That someone is quite possibly Tunsil's stepfather Lindsey Miller, with whom he has had a series of recent legal disputes. Tunsil pressed charges against Miller alleging that Miller had hit his mother and that Tunsil stepped in to defend her. Miller counter-sued, charging that Tunsil had assaulted him unprovoked. Eventually, both suits were dropped, but Miller then claimed that he had proof Tunsil had violated NCAA violations, which brings us to the next hack. After he was picked by the Dolphins, Tunsil's Instagram account also went rogue, showing what appeared to be a text conversation between Tunsil and Ole Miss Assistant Athletic Director John Miller in which Tunsil asks for financial help with his rent and his mother's utility bills. When asked about these incidents at a press conference, Tunsil admitted to both events, saying he does not run his social media accounts personally and that they had been hacked. "I made that mistake, y'know, several years ago" Tunsil said about the weed video, "and somehow someone got into my photos and hacked my Twitter account." With regards to whether or not he ever accepted money from a coach, Tunsil responded "I'd have to say yeah" (after earlier saying no) before being ushered off-stage by a Dolphins handler. So, in closing, a college student smoked pot and accepted subsidized housing and help for his mom's utility bills. He didn't hit his girlfriend so hard she lost hearing (Johnny Manziel), he wasn't suspected of double homicide (Ray Lewis), he wasn't filmed beating a woman in an elevator (Ray Rice), and he didn't fake his entire academic record (UNC). He's possibly being harassed by his father-in-law, who possibly beat his mom. If there's a lesson to be learned here, it's change your passwords regularly.
The artist usually known as Prince left behind a staggering legacy of musical genius that fans adored, but the opening of his legendary vault revealed a trove of unpublished music and videos that dwarfs what's already out there. Bremer Trust, the company that has been giving temporary control over Prince's estate (the singer had no will), was forced to drill into the vault on April 28th because no one knew the secret code. There are enough unpublished songs inside to release a new album every year well into the 22nd Century (he released 39 during his lifetime). The existence of the vault is well-known, and contains both songs that were never released as well as dozens of music videos for those unreleased songs, as Kevin Smith revealed in his talk at Kent State. No word on whether it contains any of Prince's amazing song covers. Because vaults are fascinating, you'd probably like to see it, right? Here's a shot of the door to the vault...

There are several images floating around the Internet claiming to be the inside of the vault, but as of yet they are all of dubious origin. Now that it's been opened, however, that should change soon. Today in new paranoias to develop: Michigan woman Megan Pearce is suing a police officer for tapping her baby monitor in order to watch her breastfeed. Her lawsuit claims that the officer, "who is paid to uphold the law, perversely and illegally spied on her and her infant son, in one of the most intimate and private moments between a mother and her baby imaginable, to satisfy his prurient voyeurism." Here's how the officer, Michael Emmi, allegedly did this... he arrested the mother's fiancé, a licensed medical marijuana caregiver, on charges of having more than the legal limit of marijuana. Emmi then confiscated the man's iPhone... which had a baby monitor app on it... as evidence. While Pearce was breastfeeding her child, she noticed that the camera light was turned on and in use. She used Find My iPhone to track her partner's phone to the cop's house... not the evidence room. "It's so brazen to me," attorney Kevin Ernst said to "People." "How did he think he could do this? It's so sickening." Police officers, meanwhile, are saying that Pearce may only be filing this suit to help her fiancé with his drug charges. In any case, that's the version of this story that is less likely to keep you up with anxiety every night.
So, a Shia LaBeouf doppelgänger was punched in the face for looking like Shia LaBeouf. According to The Cut, some guy attacked a man named Mario Licato in a New York subway station merely because Licato's face resembles the visage of infuriating actor Shia LaBeouf. The punch ended up throwing Licato down a set of stairs and knocking him unconscious, effectively ruining his day. "I was so confused," Licato told Gothamist. "I was even more confused because I got up and I was like, am I crazy or did I hear him say, 'This is because you look like Shia LaBeouf?;" A nearby couple confirmed that yes, his attacker felt Licato looked like Shia LaBeouf. This story gets even weirder: Licato doesn't look that much like Shia LaBeouf. Sure, in this close-up of his messed up face he does, because scruffy beard...

If anything, Licato is more Charlie from "Girls" than Sam from Transformers. Licato, though, insists that LaBeouf is his doppelgänger. He said he's been told "so many times" that he looks like actor/artist and has even been stopped in the street "at least 10 times." Okay fine, Licato can claim LaBeouf as his celebrity look-a-like.
Allison Wint was a substitute art teacher at Harper Creek Middle School in Michigan up until she recently taught a lesson on George O'Keeffe to an eighth-grade class, WMMT reported. Anyone who has seen some of O'Keeffe's more famous works will immediately recognize O'Keeffe's unique and vaginal take on flowers. O'Keeffe (which conveniently rhymes with queef) and vagina go hand-in-hand, so of course Wint dropped the v-word a few times. She said vagina "maybe 10 times" during the lesson, Wint told the "Detroit Free Press." “But it was never in a vulgar capacity.” Nonetheless, Wint was reprimanded after the school caught wind of the dangers that were happening in the classroom. Wint's lesson went against school policy, which demands that teachers receive approval before touching upon the terrifying topic of reproductive health. Another stipulation to this policy is that parents must be notified of the impending lesson, and can remove their kids from the class. Wint wasn't aware of this old-fashioned rule, as she explained to school administration. Nonetheless, she was canned. “I thought if I used a euphemism, that would make it into a joke,” she told WMMT. “And I don’t think that’s a word you should be afraid of.” In sum, vagina. Vagina. Vagina.
On Wednesday morning, a construction worker took himself to the hospital after a venomous redback spider bit him on the penis while he used a porta-potty (the man, not the spider) at a Sydney work site. Oh, Australia, land of dangerous creatures and extreme conditions, you've done it again. Okay, nobody wants to see the words "penis" and "spider" and "bite" in the same sentence, let alone the porta-potty part. And the redback spider, which is closely related to the black widow, has a poisonous bite that can cause severe pain, sweating, and nausea (much more than the pain, sweat, and nausea you might experience just from reading about it). The 21-year-old man was later discharged and left the hospital in stable condition, so all's well that ends well (or ends without death due to painful spider bite right on the ol' johnson, at any rate). Honestly, the guy lives in Australia, he's lucky a shark didn't just leap out of the toilet and eat him. Expect to see an apology video from the spider (maybe with Amber Heard by its side, just for the hell of it) some time in the next few days.
This year is the Phile's 10th year and occasionally I have been showing pics of what people look like when they read this blog. Take a look...

She's probably trying to work out a Mindphuck or figuring out what my drawing of a keg stand is. I saw a picture of a woman that I thought was for Donald Trump and I couldn't believe it. Turned out I was wrong...

Haha. So, someone came up with a restroom idea for that who transgender restroom debate...

Wait. I don't think that's what they mean. Kids, ever look at an inanimate object and see a face? I am fascinated by that. Look at this...

See it? Awe, so cute. So, I love kids and they're drawings. Sometimes thought they the ink they are drawing something innocent but not so much. This is so old school. Haha.

Muff is the dog, or this kid really likes the natural look. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, here is this week's...

Top Phive Ways McDonald's Is Making McNuggets Healthier
5. They'll now be made with organic sodium acid pyrophosphate.
4. They'll be served with an easily-disposable slice of cucumber.
3. They'll be shaped to look like line-caught Alaskan salmon filets.
2. Starting in 2018, only half of the water used for processing will come from its primary source in Flint, Michigan.
And the number one way McDonald's is making McNuggets healthier is...
1. They'll be making damn sure that Gary stops picking his scabs by the deep-fryer.

That's an easy one. If you spot it let me know.

It's 10:00 AM, 82°F and Kelly finally put up a photo of her second child, Remington Alexander Blackstock (what a name!), on Instagram. Actually, three photos, including an adorable one featuring little "Remy" with his older sister, River Rose, and two step-siblings. Clarkson's husband, talent manager Brandon Blackstock, has two children from a previous marriage.

Don't they look like a one-family vacation bible school? But little newborn Remy, of course, steals the show...

He looks like such a happy little boy. It's like he already knows his mom beat Justin Guarini back in season one of "American Idol."

Bud Light
Bud Light is a pair of cargo shorts in alcoholic form.

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

Todd will be the pheatured guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

Today's guest is one of the members of the duo Lost Souls On Broadway whose CD "Anthems For The Fallen" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Mark Sarro.

Me: Hey, Mark, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Mark: I’m great. Thanks for the welcome, I’m glad to be here. 

Me: So, I thought you were based in New York because of the bands name... when I think of Broadway I think of New York. Am I the only one who thinks that?

Mark: No, you’re probably not the only one who thinks that.

Me: Where are you from, Mark?

Mark: I’m from Delaware, I lived in Philly and the Philly area for many years, moved back to Delaware in 2012.

Me: Is that where the band is based at?

Mark: My production studio is in Delaware, but Matt lives outside of Philly. So, saying we’re from the Philly area makes sense.

Me: So, where did the band get its name from?

Mark: The name came from a lyric from the Dean Davidson song “Wouldn’t Change a Thing." It kind of stuck with me; Dean and I got to talking about it and it fit the vibe of what I was going for.

Me: Lost Souls On Broadway is you and Matt Harrigan, right? How did you to originally meet?

Mark: Yes, Matt and I are essentially the band. I met Matt at Dome Studios in 2011, he was brought in as a studio bassist for a metal band that I was producing at the time. We met and worked briefly, but we didn’t really start jamming until the beginning of 2014.

Me: Alright, so, who does the songwriting in the band? Is it a collaborative effort with you and Matt?

Mark: Pretty much all of the music and lyrics on our debut album were written by me. The songs span a 15-year period. They were a collection of demos and other tunes that I hadn’t released. When we started the project in 2014 I wrote a handful of new tunes that filled out the album. Matt contributed to some of the final arrangements on those tunes during the demo and writing process.

Me: Someone else you worked with on the album "Anthem for the Fallen" worked with John Lennon, am I right?

Mark: Yes, the album was produced by Dean Davidson (Britney Fox, Black-Eyed Susan) and recorded, mixed and mastered at Studio 4 by Phil Nicolo. (Bon Jovi, Lauren Hill, Billy Joel, Sting, Cypress Hill, too many to name!)

Me: Mark, who did you listen to growing up? Your music is a mix of different genres.

Mark: When I was young I got my first taste of pop and top 40, Michael Jackson, The Police and so on. When I became a teenager I dove head first into rock and heavy metal. (Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Megadeth, Metallica). And as I got older my tastes started to spread out into everything from Portishead to Elliott Smith, Beck, The Flaming Lips, Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots… A lot of jazz too, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Thelonius Monk… So much good music… I could go on for hours!

Me: Before this new band, you have been playing for a long time, am I right? What was your first band you were in?

Mark: The very first band I was in, I was 14. We were a garage punk band in the realm of Black Flag, The Misfits, Dead Kennedys, etc. From there I picked up bass in a metal band, then jumped to acoustic guitar in a singer/songwriter duo then dove into lead guitar in a death metal band. Over the years I’ve played various instruments in several different genres of music. (IRR, Godbox, Values of the Tongue, Blue Cheese, Joyful noise, M45, Argo Navis Band, Stillframe, MK Omega…) 

Me: Didn't you leave home at a young age to be in a band? How did that go?

Mark: Yes, I left home at age 17. I was playing bass in a metal trio with my older brother on drums. We had a producer who promised us the world and in the end I lost most of my possessions and ended up in a mental hospital 3 days before my 18th birthday. It was one of the craziest summers of my life.

Me: What did your parents think?

Mark: At first, I don’t think they knew what to think. Especially considering the music I was getting into at the time was heavier and aggressive and they couldn’t relate to it in any shape or form, but over the years as they saw how passionate I was about music they became very supportive and still are to this day.

Me: You play guitar now, but what was your first instrument?

Mark: Ah, my very first instrument was the Violin. I started playing in 4th grade and played it into 8th grade. At that point I jumped on the guitar and threw the violin out the window. I also picked up the bass, drums, keyboards, saxophone, sitar and vocals along the way.

Me: What made you choose violin and how did you go from that to guitar?

Mark: My father had an old Kay acoustic that he played when I was very little. He loved to sing and play John Denver tunes and all of that. So, as my musical tastes started getting more into rock and such, the guitar was in the house and one day I picked it up and well, haven’t put it down since. I still have his guitar and recorded several of the tunes on the album with it. ("Touch," "Open Eyes.")

Me: So, is "Anthem for the Fallen" Lost Souls On Broadway's first album?

Mark: Yes, this is our debut album as this band. I hope it will be the first of many, and we’re very excited and proud of it. Right now, we're just trying to get it out there and spread the word, in the hopes that people will pick it up and give it a listen.

Me: It's a pretty good album with fourteen songs. That's a lot. Did you write more songs for it that you took off?

Mark: Yes, there were almost 20 song demos that we recorded in the span of about 10 months in my studio. We recorded several of them multiple times where we changed the arrangements and played around with the vocal parts and melody. It was tough cutting it down to the 14, but I’m really happy with how the album flows from song to song. It tells the story that I’ve been trying to tell for many years.

Me: How long did it take for the album to be recorded, Mark?

Mark: Honestly, we recorded the album start to finish in 10 days, but the production of it spanned a year and half. We had a rough start in the beginning and had to replace our drummer after all of the drum tracks had been laid down. (That’s a whole other story in of itself). Dean wasn’t originally supposed to play on the album, but he did an amazing job and I couldn’t be happier.

Me: When you write, what do you do first? Lyrics or music?

Mark: For the most part, I will come up with a musical idea first. It could start as just a few chords and then it slowly grows into a song. The lyrics are typically last, as I try and find the right kind of melody before committing to the lyric.

Me: I have to ask you about the cover... I'm sure it has a meaning. What is it?

Mark: Yeah, each of the hands in the head of the figure represent a song on the album. (14 total) They are the thought streams, stories, chapters of a life lived without regrets.

Me: I can't tell if it's a photograph or a painting either. Who did it and come up with the concept?

Mark: It’s a photograph that has been added to and worked by the designer. My good friend and graphic designer Jason Ziemba came up with the album art and band logo. He and I go back a few years... we played together in a band named Stillframe. He did all of the artwork for that band too and over the years he’s been my go to guy when it comes to art and album design.

Me: Mark, over the years you played with a lot of different bands as a side man. What was your favorite experience and band you played with?

Mark: Man, that’s tough. I’ve had lots of great experiences with different bands along the way. Godbox was crazy, because we were a 5 piece death metal band that spent our free time hanging out in abandoned mental hospitals and trying to come up with ways to take over the underground Philly scene. We played a show once where a riot broke out and the club got fire bombed shortly after we finished playing. We were the last band to ever play there. The cops even came looking for us because they thought we did it, but we had no clue that it had even happened. Values of the Tongue was great, because as a band we practically lived together, we spent so much time rehearsing and hanging out that we really were a family of sorts. Stillframe was a lot of firsts for me, opening up for national acts on bigger stages, playing live on the radio and TV, having a song that charted on various Internet/indie radio stations. I even woke up one morning to one of songs on the radio, just as it was getting to my guitar solo. Surreal indeed.

Me: Okay, I have to ask... what was your worse?

Mark: Well, overall the experience with this one band (I won’t mention the name) wasn’t terrible, but the way it ended was pretty bad. We were a power trio and I was playing bass, the lead singer/guitarist was a young guy full of ego and attitude. He wrote everything, controlled everything. I was lucky that I got to even write my own bass parts. So, after a while it started getting old. His ego and attitude was getting a bit out of control and I wasn’t getting the creative outlet from it like I had hoped, since I was being limited on how I could contribute. So, we played this show one night and for the first time I was able to get some of my family out to see us and he decided that I wasn’t working out; on the top of the set list that he gave me for the show in big red letters was “You’re Fired”… Yep, pretty shitty. Although, the whole having my stuff stolen, getting into a fist fight with my brother and ending up in a mental hospital before my 18th birthday was pretty bad too! LOL.

Me: Is there any band or musician that you wish you could record with?

Mark: I’d love to collaborate with folks like Beck or Imogen Heap, or have an album produced by Butch Vig or Billy Corgan.

Me: So, will the Lost Souls be touring? I imagine you need a lot of people in the band to get the music like the record.

Mark: Ideally, someday we’ll tour. Right now the focus is on getting the music out there by any means. It’s hard to tour and tour well without some backing and support. I’ve already been there and done the indie tour and that was a rough life. Surprisingly, the album isn’t overly produced. Dean really wanted to capture what we sound like live. They only thing I’ve thought of adding would maybe be a rhythm guitarist to back up on some of the tunes, but we’ve pulled them off well as just a trio too.

Me: So, what's next for you, Mark?

Mark: Next, we continue to promote and talk about the album as much as possible. We’ve got two music videos coming out soon. (A live performance video for “Saved” and an awesome animated concept video for “Anthem for the Fallen”). We also did a full live album and video in the studio for the release party that we had. So, that will be getting wrapped up and put out on YouTube in the coming months as well. We’re actively looking for a full time drummer and have already started working on a few ideas/tunes for the next album.

Me: Very cool. Continued success and come back here when the next release comes out.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Mark for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Sunday with Al Laughlin from Highway 50. 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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