Thursday, October 27, 2016

Pheaturing Matt Steckler From Dead Cat Bounce

Hey there, welcome to the Phile for a Thursday morning. How are you? I'm not gonna begin to tell you how I feel. You kids don't need to hear that shit. I have to start off with a story that made me scratch my head. Some of us are forced to endure tragedies before we can appreciate life's lessons. Others of us just need to read about them in notes left by complete strangers, like this one addressed to "whoever owns this car."

A powerful message indeed. Maybe someday that driver will be telling his child, "Please learn how to park. Don't put other drivers through what I put this driver through." I'm not gonna tell you whose car this note was left on. October is Black History Month in the U.K. This year, the student union at the University of Kent decided to choose several prominent people to serve as the face of the campaign on campus. Amongst those famous faces was former member of One Direction, Zayn Malik. Zayn Malik is not black. Another choice for the campaign was London mayor Sadiq Khan.Sadiq Khan is not black. Amidst the backlash, a Twitter account representing "the Official U.K. guide to the events and people who make every October worth celebrating" registered their deep disappointment in the choices, chiding the Kent Student Union by asking "will Black icons be celebrated by Kent University" during Asian Heritage Month? The president of the student union behind the posters, Rory Murray, apologized on Facebook. His apology did not, however, mollify much of the anger directed at Kent University. According to the BBC, the Kent Union and the University of Kent also released a "joint statement" saying their "campaign was in line with the National Union of Students' position on Black History Month which chose to 'recognise and celebrate the immense contributions that people of African, Arab, Asian and Caribbean heritage make to humanity.'"
According to Deadline, at about 5:45a.m. on Wednesday morning, a man dressed as a construction worker destroyed Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with a sledgehammer and a pick-ax. The aggravated Trump protester told Deadline that his name is Jamie Otis. Otis said that he is "disgusted" by Trump and that "4 or 5 women" in his family have been sexually assaulted in the past. Otis says that his original intention was to remove the star and auction it off to raise money for the 11 women who have publicly accused the Republican nominee of assault. When Otis discovered that he couldn't remove the star in one piece, he just smashed it up until it looked like a broken eyeshadow. The star was bequeathed to Donald Trump in January 2007 for his work on "The Apprentice." Since Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015, his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame has been vandalized in many creative ways. It has been adorned with swastikas, had a "mute symbol" spray painted directly over it, and even had a miniature wall erected around it. Although Otis defaced the star, it will probably be fixed or replaced by some poor soul who probably doesn't even support Trump in the deeply blue state of California. Election day less than two weeks away, so maybe just drink some chamomile tea and chill out instead of risking being thrown in jail by destroying public property. Don't smash. Vote!
Misery loves company, but it's hard to find a fellow miserable soul when dating sites are about pretending that existential despair didn't bring you there in the first place. Enter Shaun Price, creator of, a destination and app for singles who are tired of pretending that they like traveling, exercising, and themselves. "The majority of the sites, everybody's perfect," Price told "Arizona Family," "Everybody's got a beautiful picture, everybody loves to travel, everybody loves to hang out with their friends but that's not really who they are. Really who they are in their daily lives is really a different picture." After going through the trials and tribulations of all the dating sites and apps and services, Price felt "intimidation of feeling inadequate for the majority of people that have profiles posted on these sites." Enter Date Miserable People, which describes itself as "a place for people to come together and feel comfortable sharing their lifestyles, interest and concerns honestly." The site is a totally real thing, and has begun hosting speed dating events for people to vent and connect in cities all across the United States. In the land of the sad, it's even possible that being miserable can make you more desirable. Find your true love, kindred spirits. Find the Miserable Marius to your Miserable Cosette.
A strangely specific high school prophet may have predicted this year's miracle season for the Chicago Cubs back in 1993.

On Tuesday night, the long-cursed Cubbies played in the World Series for the first time since 1945. It's an event they haven't won since 1908, and their mere appearance in the Fall Classic has shocked longtime fans to tears. Meanwhile, this yearbook photo from 1993 shows that one guy, Michael Lee, apparently isn't surprised at all. Obviously, you're skeptical. Well, the Chicago media's covering the Cubs World Series like they might the moon landing, and any conspiracy theories are swiftly fact checked. A video on WGN shows the yearbook in question's cover and the photos inside, where a one Michael Lee appears to call the Cubs' win completely out of nowhere. And the Internet has rejoiced. But the words of the prophet, incredible as they are, won't be completely proven until the Cubs make good on the prediction by sealing the win. To ascertain the odds on that prospect, ask a Cubs fan about Steve Bartman.
So, did you guys ever watch read "The Hardy Boy's" books? I used to. There's one though that I saw the other day that I didn't know existed...

I bet that one is good. Do you ever see those family stick figure stickers on the back of cars? There's some of them that make me wonder...

Hmmmm. So, as I have been telling you CNN's graphic art department has been trolling Donald Trump for awhile. But so has MSNBC. Check it out...

Trump has an amazing trick that he's been showing off recently at his rallies.

So, this Halloween you will not just be seeing jack-o-lanterns, but a new trend called Trumpkins.

Ugh! And now for some sad news...

Bobby Vee
April 30th, 1943 — October 24th, 2016
The night now has 998 eyes.

Pete Burns
August 5th 1959 — October 23rd 2016
Dead, definitely dead.

That's for you, Rich. What a lame Mindphuck. If you spot it let me know. Okay, it's time to talk football with my good friend Jeff.

Me: Hey, Jeff, welcome back to the Phile. I lied... I said you'll be back Sunday but there'll be no entry on Sunday, so I'm having you back today on Thursday. Is your new book out?

Jeff: Always glad to be back on the Phile, even if you told me the wrong date! Hahaha. Yes, today is the release day for "Paranormal Contact Vol. 3."

Me: Congrats. I'll have you on the Phile as a pheatured guest soon... if you want.

Jeff: Of course I do. It's always great being a pheatured guest.

Me: So, before we talk football let's talk about baseball. We never talk baseball. What do you think of the Cubs making it to the World Series? Who are you rooting for? For histories sake I'm rooting for the Cubs.

Jeff: Just like you I'm rooting for the Cubs to win. The Red Sox know what it's like to have a long drought of not winning the World Series. It's agony. So it will be good to see if the Cubs can pull it off. Plus this series has ties to the 2004 Red Sox when they won. Our General Manager that year was Theo Epstein, who is now General Manager of the Cubs. Our manager? Terry Francona. He is now managing the Cleveland Indians.

Me: Jeff, did you see the game ticket prices for Cleveland sports? Indians: $1000, Cavaliers: Firstborn child, Browns: 7 Taco Bell wrappers.

Jeff: That's not what I saw. I saw the Browns will PAY YOU to see their game!

Me: Hahaha. Okay, football... are you surprised the Dolphins' Arian Foster is retiring? Why do you think it is?

Jeff: Talk about breaking news! I hadn't heard Foster is retiring. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with nagging injuries he's had over the last few years. His numbers over the past few years have declined. It's a shame, since he was such a great player.

Me: Sad to say but if I was a betting man I think the Giants' Beckham is gonna retire at the end of this year. Do you agree? If anyone wants to get me a Beckham jersey size XXL I wouldn't complain. Haha.

Jeff: Don't see Beckham retiring. He's young. He just needs to get his head on straight. Good luck getting that jersey!

Me: What other NFL news is going on?

Jeff: The Jets were tired of Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing interceptions. So they benched him for Geno Smith, who tore his ACL and will be out for the year. So Jets are stuck with Fitzpatrick again. The last undefeated team lost, that being the Vikings.

Me: We are into week 8 and people are starting to talk who they think will make it to the Super Bowl. I think the Falcons have a really good chance.

Jeff: The Falcons certainly have the offense to make it to the Super Bowl, but defenses win championships. I'm going to say Minnesota vs New England has a good chance. They are the teams with the best records in football right now.

Me: Do you know what's weird? The two cities with the worst football teams have the best baseball teams?

Jeff: That is weird. Also throw in the fact that the two cities that competed for the American League title were the same cities that competed for the Eastern Division in basketball. Cleveland vs Toronto. And Cleveland won both times!

Me: Okay, so, last week you were ahead by one. How did we do last week? I'm glad the Giants won in London.

Jeff: Giants won, Steelers lost last week. But I went 2-0 and you went 1-1. So I expanded my lead. Somewhere I did the math wrong, but I just double checked it. I lead by three. I have 8 wins (8 times 2 is 16) plus 4 wins for the Steelers gives me 20 points. You have 7 wins (7 times 2 is 14) plus three wins for the Giants gives you 17 points. I just wanted to show that the system was not rigged, only my math skills.

Me: Ugh! Fair enough. Let's do this week's picks... I say Bengals by four and Falcons by 3. What do you say?

Jeff: Both our teams have bye weeks this week, so it's up to our prediction skills to earn us points. I say Denver by six and Seattle by 3.

Me: Alright, great job as always. I'll see you here next Sunday if not before. Haha.

Jeff: Sounds good! I'll see you when I see you!

Ack! I apologize, people. Okay, so, comedy has been around for a long, long time and a friend of the Phile likes to come on here and tell some funny jokes. But, the problem is that he's so old no one understands what he's talking about... except me. I can translate for him. So, please welcome back to the Phile once again...

Me: Hello, Alan, welcome back to the Phile. So, what joke do you have for us today?

Alan: A booby of a country squire, who made an honest woman of his father's chamber-maid, bolted into the room when she was in labour, and blubbering over her with great tenderness, sobbed out that he was sorry she felt so much pain on his account. "Don't make thyself uneasy, love," said the wife, "I can't bear to see thee fret, for I'm sure it was not thy fault."

Me: Haha. What Alan was trying to say is... When a dumb guy's wife goes into labor, he apologizes for the pain he's causing her. But she's like, "Don't worry about it; it's probably not your baby." That's a good one, Alan. So, I was wondering, do you have a any poop jokes? People love poop jokes.

Alan: A man chiding his wife told her, that she could call nothing hers but her ring, fillet and hair-lace, nay, her very breech was none of hers. Which the good and harmless woman understanding one night, let something drop into the bed, which he having found out by the smell, ask'd her what was the cause of her so doing: she told him, that whilst she thought her breech hers, she had command over it; but being his, she could not rule another body's arse.

Me: Hmmm. A husband says he owns his wife's butt, so she shits in their bed and says she's not responsible because she doesn't own her ass. Man, that's horrible. That's more like a shitty joke. Alan Raglafart the 100-year-old comedian, everyone. Thanks, Alan.

Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns are the Cleveland of football.

Today's pheatured guest is a member of the New York jazz band Dead Cat Bounce whose CD "Chance Episodes" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Matt Steckler.

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

Matt: Fine, thank you. Where are you out of?

Me: Milk? What do you mean? Haha. I must admit your band Dead Cat Bounce is the best name I heard for a jazz band in a long time. It beats The Matt Steckler Trio or The Matt Steckler Quartet like a lot of jazz musicians call their bands. Wait, you don't have a band with those those names do you?

Matt: No, my other jazz groups are Persiflage  and Cello Pudding Pops, and a rock outfit called Lavender Jones and the Dead Giveaways.

Me: Where did the name Dead Cat Bounce come from? It sounds like it could be the name of a punk band, Matt.

Matt: I'll refer you to the blurb leading off your bio page: Presciently stripped from the headlines, the term dead cat bounce denotes a small, brief recovery in the price of a declining stock. To the artists in Dead Cat Bounce, it signifies one’s dedication to creative rebirth and renewal even as times, traditions and masters move on. The punk irreverence thing is what we go for, and it's gotten us in trouble before.

Me: You do play with other bands though, right? Who else do you play with?

Matt: Besides my groups listed above, I freelance a bit with, among friends: Hannis Brown, Doran Danoff, The Sidetracks, MC Frontalot, etc.

Me: Who is in the band with you?

Matt: Matt Steckler saxes, flute & compositions, Jared Sims: saxes, clarinet, Terry Goss: saxes Charlie Kohlhase: saxes, Dave Ambrosio: bass, Bill Carbone: drums.

Me: You guys are based in New York, right? What part?

Matt: Brooklyn, baby... no sleep 'til.

Me: Is that where you are from, New York?

Matt: We formed in Boston, some guys are still up there, I'm personally from Upstate, NY.

Me: Okay, in Dead Cat Bones you have four sax players... do you all play the same kinda sax, or different ones?

Matt: Different. Soprano alto tenor bari, sometimes doubling a/t, or flute clarinet.

Me: I interviewed a few sax players on the Phile and I always tell them the same story, on how I "played" sax in school and how much I hated it. What made you pick sax, Matt?

Matt: It takes a stubborn fellow to persevere... but the guy who demo-ed it in grade school was so cool, with the Gato Barbieri/zoot flowing hair and Bohemian hat thing going on.

Me: Do you have a favorite sax player?

Matt: So many, how to choose: for Sheer Tone, Charles Mariano; for melodic invention, Ornette Coleman and Johnny Hodgers; for raw power Oliver Lake; for groove... Maceo Parker; for a composer's player... Wayne Shorter.

Me: How many reeds do you go through?

Matt: A lot before I find one I like... once I have  four or five of those I milk 'em all year.

Me: Okay, let's talk about Dead Cat Bounce's CD "Chance Episodes." Where did that title come from?

Matt: "Memory's haphazard way of bringing to the fore seemingly unrelated events." In other words, "by chance." Some pieces come from personal experiences... either mine, or the band's as a group. Others suggest "ruminations on the fate of the world from a personal perspective."

Me: Did you write all the music for it, Matt, or do the other Cat's write stuff as well?

Matt: I write it all.

Me: I always wonder how song writers that write instrumental's come up with the song titles. How did you pick them, Matt?

Matt: Lately getting harder and hader... I comb the news, poetry magnets, or just personal or band-related events like in the case of "Chance Episodes." You have to be fearless to make a whole lot of sense.

Me: Also I have to ask you about the album cover... is that Abraham Lincoln? No, I don't think it is. Who is it?

Matt: Who knows... my dad is a collage/diorama/multimedia artist and he finds images everywhere.

Me: You have written music for film and plays, right? What do you like better? Do you prefer to write music for yourself?

Matt: Of course... I think music for it's own sake is the richest sonic experience. But I enjoy those other activities and like the teamwork involved and the whole art object as a gestalt in the end.

Me: I have to ask you about your new project Eco-Beat Heresy... is that your new band? Will you be releasing a new album with this band?

Matt: No, it's new work that Dead Cat Bounce is working on currently, with a totally different (group improv and electroacoustic/multimedia) compositional approach. we're in the formative stages which have been documented on my blog. It may become a CD or DVD one day.

Me: When it comes out, please come back onto the Phile, Matt. Thanks for being here this time, go ahead and plug your website and anything else you want. I wish you lots of luck and like I said, please come back.

Matt: When what comes out? The "Chance Episodes" CD is now out.

Me: The Eco-Beat Heresy CD.

Matt: Oh. How does the Phile work in terms of plugging, etc?

Me: I don't know... word of mouth? Dedicated readers?

Matt: Well, thanks for reaching out. My links are Dead Cat Bounce On Facebook, On ReverbNation On Sonicbids. Follow on Twitter. Make us a Pandora station!

Me: Alright, Matt. Continued success, sir.

Well, that does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz and Matt Steckler. The Phile will be back on Monday... yes, Halloween with musician Bones Howell. So, 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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