Monday, March 21, 2016

Pheaturing Airi Mori

Good morning, and welcome to the Phile for a Monday. What's up, kids? Let's start with a story about  the weirdest and most mundane case of mistaken identity ever. A bailiff arrived at the home of Emma Caresimo and ordered her to pay a hefty fine for dropping a cigarette butt in Wigan, England. The weird part? Caresimo lives three hours away in Wales, has never been to Wigan, and does not smoke. Emma Caresimo was at home with her three-year-old son when a bailiff arrived and clamped her Volkswagen Golf. The only way the bailiff would remove the clamp was if Caresimo paid a £650 litter fine (that is about $941 U.S. Dollars) for dropping a cigarette butt in the town of Wigan. Caresimo tried to plead her case to the bailiff, but he would not budge. "I said 'I have never been to Wigan and I don't smoke' but he wasn't having any of it. He didn't believe me and said he'd heard it all before," she explained to the BBC. The bailiff simply handed her a torn half sheet of notebook paper that read: "9th Feb 2015 Market Place Wigan Cig butt No Court attendance." A cryptically written note on a torn up sheet of paper? Hmmmm, that doesn't exactly sound like the protocol, but sure? The bailiff then valued her car on the spot for £3700. Let's hope he is better at appraising vehicles than being a bailiff. Why was Caresimo connected to cigarette butt at all? Apparently, the woman they were looking for had the same last name as Caresimo's maiden name, as well as the same birth date. Of course, just seeing someone's last name and birth date seems like some sloppy detective work. After all, "Smith" was Caresimo's maiden name...and plenty of people share birthdays. George W. Bush and Sylvester Stallone are born on the same day, but no one is blaming Stallone for 9/11.
When a protester was yanked by his collar at a Trump rally, the incident was caught on camera and seemed to implicate Corey Lewandowski... Trump's campaign manager, who has already been accused of assaulting a female journalist. Naturally, the Trump campaign rushed to defend Lewandowski from a second accusation of violence on the job (among other allegations that concern even Trump staffers), and blamed it on the man next to him in a dark pullover. That man has since been revealed to be a security staffer for the Trump campaign. Trump himself said that the incident was primarily the protester's fault for having a "horrendous" sign with profanity on it, and that although he gave Lewandowski credit for having "spirit," he didn't touch him. A Trump spokesperson, Hope Hicks, declined to say why Trump's campaign manager was interacting with protesters, although Trump blamed it on lax policing in an interview with ABC. Just to be clear, this was separate from the other, much more violent incident at the same rally in Arizona. Ms. Hicks directly blamed the incident on the man in the pullover in a statement Saturday night. She suggested, according to Politico, that "his actions were justified by the behavior of the protester, who can be seen in the video grabbing the arm of a young woman in front of him." What she did not suggest, or in any way identify, was that the man is a security staffer for the Trump campaign. It was not a case of poor internal communication or mistaken identity, however... she did know. She said as much when confronted by reporters on Sunday, telling Politico, "Although we did not identify this individual, we did not make any suggestion as to his affiliation or lack thereof." Translation: "Yeah, we pretended he was some random guy, but we didn't say he wasn't our hired muscle. So, technically, we didn't lie."
Kraft Heinz says it has secretly and successfully introduced a reformulated recipe for its iconic mac & cheese, and consumers haven't noticed the difference. The first boxes of the new recipe hit shelves in December. The changes were not an attempt to mess with the flavor, but to remove artificial and processed ingredients. The new formula replaced artificial dyes with ingredients like paprika and turmeric to maintain the bright yellow color that the boxed pasta is known for. This of course means that it was previously bright yellow because of a special combination of food coloring. Kraft announced their ninja maneuver in a commercial with Craig Kilborn. In addition to not noticing that Kraft Mac & Cheese changed their recipe, most consumers probably didn't know that Kraft merged with Heinz (no word yet on whether they'll need to secretly change their ketchup). Consumers may also not know that if you get a couple thousand followers on your blog and Twitter feed, gigantic packaged goods companies might pay you to tweet about their product. #Didntnotice.
The Internet is losing their chill over one woman who apparently vanished during a live news report on Danish TV. While a man is being interviewed by TV2's "Sports Center" show at an airport's baggage claim, a blonde woman... who stood behind him in the shot... appeared to go poof. In the video, some random woman pushing a baggage cart walks past her and then the lady seemingly vanished. Uncanny, but probably not evidence of paranormal activity, right? Since it was posted to Reddit on Thursday, some folks have suspected that the lady is a ghost or the whole spooky spiel is some sort of "alien activity." Other people assumed the woman just coincidentally walked at the same exact time as the woman pushing the cart. According to Mashable, "If you look closely, you can see the blonde woman's blue jeans in the gap between the woman's arm and her body." The TV2 video has over 4 million views and people are still freaking out about it on the Reddit thread. Meh, only the dumbest things happen in airports. But it's better to lose your luggage at an airport than your being, right? As one snarky top commenter pointed out, "So? Everything disappears in baggage claim."
Prince William has been receiving flack for the lack of time he's been putting into his full-time pilot job with the East Anglian Air Ambulance, an emergency medical service dispatch for the people of East Anglia. Pundits are calling him "work-shy" for the 20 hours he flies a week, which "People" confirmed is about two thirds as much as the other EAAA pilots. But even so, the royal daddy shrugged off the criticism as "part of the job" in an interview with ITV, citing his other commitments, like helping species endangered by the illegal ivory trade, as worth the media bashing. "I didn’t want to get to 45 or 50 and sit back and say I could have said something about that issue but I didn’t because I worried about what people thought or what people said." Plus, with so many royal engagements to carry out, he's plenty busy, not a slacker. What critics argue is it's telling of his work ethic that last year he carried out 128 fewer royal engagements than his 94-year-old grandfather, Prince Philip. Doesn't it bother him to be called a "big soft lad of a son" by "Daily Mirror" columnists? The Duke of Cambridge told ITV, "It’s part of the job, Mark. Today is more about talking about the poaching crisis. And I want to turn round and turn to my children and my friends and talk to other people my age and having known we have truly made a difference, we have fixed something, we have given hope to the future. And that should give everybody a lift and realize there is hope that we can fix stuff." A true king in the making.
So, I mentioned that Kraft "improved" their Mac & Cheese... but I think they need work on their new slogan.

Hmmm. Speaking of slogans, kids, have you heard of the company Rockstar? I think they make video games. Well, they have an odd new slogan...

Why? Okay, so, a lot of people hate Donald Trump as you know. I didn't know kids didn't like Trump either though.

You know I am a big Star Wars fan, right? Well, there was one thing I didn't understand in The Force Awakens, and thought there was no reason for it.

Why the Back to the Future copy? That's as bad as the very bad Star Wars movie...

Why is Han reading a magazine and why does Luke look like he could be The Doctor? Oh, well. So, do you miss Jeb? I do. I miss his disappointed looks. Like the time he suddenly thought of a good zinger insult for Trump six days too late.

Kids, Easter is next Sunday! I think the whole thing about meeting the Easter Bunny is kinda scary. And I'm not the only one...

"Do you like violence, Timmy? Yes, yes, let the evil consume you." Awe. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Changes To Make To Your Dating Life Now That Spring Is Finally Here
5. Break up with the large, hairy man you couldn't bear to be apart from when it was really cold out.
4. Change your Plenty of Fish interests to be more than just a list of hot drinks.
3. Try out new ways of flirting besides hugging someone tightly and refusing to let go.
2. Don't limit yourself to only Skype dating no that it's safe to go outside.
And the number one way to change your dating life now that spring is here is...
1. Split the cost of dinner since you don't need the extra cash for your heating bill.

Ha. If you spot the Mindphuck please let me know. Okay, so, my son is in town visiting and we were talking about how we used to watch "Sesame Street" together. Now the show is on HBO it's just a little bit different.

Bert and Ernie search tirelessly to find a jaguar for their "all natural" feline dildo.

Oh, boy. Okay, so, you know I live in Florida... well, there's some weird stuff that happen inFlorida that happen nowhere else. That's why I have this pheature called...

Mary Thorn of Lakeland, Florida, is fighting to keep her pet alligator, Rambo, even though Florida Fish and Wildlife law say he's too big to live with her. Rambo is housebroken, has his own bedroom, wears clothes, and rides in a sidecar on her motorcycle. According to "People," Rambo and Thorn have been "inseparable" for 11 years. Thorn, who lost her son last year, told the "Orlando Sentinel," “Without him, I don’t feel like even wanting to go on." Thorn has kept Rambo legally since he was four-years-old thanks to a valid permit. But, now that Rambo is six feet long, he's required by law to live on at least 2.5 acres of land, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife. Before he came to live with her, Rambo lived in a dark closet with a few other alligators. He's got a sunlight sensitivity (Thorn has a letter from her veterinarian corroborating this), and needs to wear sunscreen if he's outside for any length of time. Naturally, Thorn is worried about what will happen to her beloved Rambo if he can't live with her anymore. Her friends and Rambo's fans have started a petition to the FWC asking that they make an exception for this exceptional alligator, and Thorn is also looking into getting Rambo certified as a therapy alligator. Obviously, that would increase stress for strangers, but that's because they don't know Rambo.

Okay, so, I don't know if you heard this... but someone threatened Donald Trump's son, or family. Well, a friend of the Phile has something to say about this. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man. You know what time it is.

Good morning, humans. Time to once again, kick Monday in the nuts. Okay... Just so I'm crystal clear on this... You claim Trump is a maniac and he needs to be stopped. That Hillary and the "Party of equality and Voice of tolerance" is the only way to vote. And your way of forcing Trump out... is to send a letter to his son Eric's NYC address with white powder in it... and a threat to "Harm Trump's family if he doesn't immediately back out of his campaign." Okay, then... that settles it. I don't like him... but I REALLY don't like her... never have... never will. I'm all for a female President... just not her. Oh... and as far as the whole death threat to his family thing goes? Congratulations... You just helped me choose the smartest kid on the short bus. I'll begrudgingly vote for Trump... then call his office and offer my services as a part of his security detail. He'll need all the help he can get... and it'll keep me busy for the next 4 to 8 years. Threatening a person's family is never a wise move... So... again, I thank you for helping me choose from a lousy menu with only two items (neither of which I like) AND for quite possibly providing me with job security for the next decade.

Easter is an annual religious holiday celebrating the one-hour resurrection of your lapsed Catholicism. 

Today's pheatured guest is a singer from Japan whose single "Fading" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Airi Mori.

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

Airi: Hello, I am very good. Thank you for having me here.

Me: I was gonna say hello in Japanese but don't know Japanese... haha. I guess I could've cheated. How do you say "hello"?

Airi: We say konnichiwa.

Me: Of course. I should of known from Cheap Trick... You were born in Japan, right? What part? 

Airi: Yes, I was born in the middle of Japan.

Me: How long ago did you come over to the states?

Airi: I came over about two years ago.

Me: Where in America do you live?

Airi: I live in Los Angeles.

Me: Did you come over here to L.A. for the music business?

Airi: Yes, I came here to become a singer-songwriter and producer.

Me: Alright, so, what part of Japan are you from?

Airi: I am from Nagoya, which is in the middle of Tokyo and Osaka.

Me: Ever been to the Disney parks over there, Airi?

Airi: Oh, yes. My family loves Disney, so as I grew up, we went there several times.

Me: I have to say, I love your name... it sounds like a character from Star Wars. What does it mean? 

Airi: Haha, thank you. You are the first person to say that. Usually, people tell me that it sounds like a Jamaican word, “iris,", as we hear a lot in reggae music, such as, “everything is irie!” (everything is alright!). In Japanese, Airi means “reason of love."

Me: You have been singing a long time, right? 

Airi: Yes, I have been singing since I was seven years old.

Me: In Japan did you copy and listen to American or British singers? Who are your influences?

Airi: My biggest influences were Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and many other soulful singers from the 80s.

Me: You went to Waseda University in Japan... what did you study there?

Airi: I majored in international liberal arts, so I studied various kinds of subjects, but I wrote my thesis on philosophy.

Me: Didn't you go to school in London for a while? What did you study there and where did you go? 

Airi: Yes, I attended London University for a year as an exchange student. I studied psychology there. I lived about an hour away from London.

Me: You're not going to school over here in the states, right? If so, now what are you studying?

Airi: I go to Musicians Institute in Hollywood to study audio engineering, producing, keyboards and songwriting.

Me: I noticed on iTunes you have released lots of singles... there's one called "Billie the Lover." Who is that song about?

Airi: I wrote that song as kind of an answer song to Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean," just imagining, “if Billie in the song was a real person and had something to say, what would she say?” That is one of my brother’s favorite songs and after I wrote and recorded it myself, I presented him the CD as his birthday gift. It was before I came to America and studied audio engineering, so it is a little embarrassing to listen back to it now, but I think it is good to be able to notice my own evolution.

Me: One of the songs is in Japanese and is about your mom, am I right?

Airi: Yes, I wrote the song on the Mother’s Day when I was still in London. I was away from home, alone in my dormitory room. I wanted to give her something special, so I started singing about my appreciation toward her love along with one of my instrumental tracks and recorded whatever came straight out of my heart. I wasn’t able to use the first take because I started crying right after I began singing, being overwhelmed by emotion.

Me: What did your parents think when you told them you wanted to move to America?

Airi: I think it was both surprising and not surprising at the same time. Before I came to America, I almost started working at a manufacturing company in my hometown, which, at the time, I felt was the right thing to do. But when I finally made up my mind to go to America to pursue my musical career, they thought it was actually in alignment with my passion. They had observed my love for music all my life and understood my passion and career goal, so they immediately supported my decision, which I am most thankful about.

Me: What do they think of your music?

Airi: They think it has evolved a lot over the past few years. They are happy to see me grow as a human being even before as an artist, which is reflected in my music.

Me: In Japan you performed on some commercials... did you act in them?

Airi: I was a dancer in several commercials.

Me: So, I have to ask, what do you think of the Japanese game shows?

Airi: Haha… it is funny you ask that. A couple of my American friends recently told me about some strange Japanese game show in which people swallow insects and that sounded bizarre to me. It is interesting to see how often people can be introduced to some of the most extreme parts of other cultures.

Me: Anyway, back to your music... you have a new single called "Fading." What's fading?

Airi: It is a song about a person who is confused about falling in love and tries his/her best to fight the emotion, so that the person won’t get hurt. I tried to capture the euphoric feeling of daydreaming, when you fall into a trance and everything around you begins to fade.

Me: You are working on a release called "Reasons of Love." Is that an album? What can you tell us about it, Airi?

Airi: It is an EP that I am working on. I named it after my name as an introduction of myself to the world. I also feel that if there is anything the world could use more of, it’s love.

Me: I have to ask about A3M... what does that mean?

Airi: A3M stands for Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches. A3M is affiliated with the Be The Match Registry, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program.

Me: You sing on the charity song, right? What is the charity and how did you get to be a part of it? 

Airi: A3M is a charity that recruits potential marrow donors primarily from communities in Southern California. We did the charity song to raise more awareness of the marrow donation. A producer heard me singing and contacted me to see if I wanted to be a part of the project. I had lost my family member to leukemia, so I wanted to do something to help other people recover from it. The song was recorded both in Los Angeles and Korea. Most of the musicians were from Korea, and I was the only Japanese singer for the song.

Me: Also, I read you worked on the soundtracks for Chappie and Pitch Perfect 2. Did you sing on those, or were you behind the scenes?

Airi: I was an intern at a mastering studio where they mastered the soundtracks. When I listened to “Flashlight," the main song in Pitch Perfect 2, in the production booth for the first time, I immediately loved the song. I was very proud when they won the AMA award for the soundtrack. It feels great to be a part of something that is greater and give your best.

Me: Did you see those movies? I saw Chappie and thought it was great.

Airi: I haven’t personally seen the movie yet, but I was invited to the premiere of Pitch Perfect 2 and it was a great experience. Their arrangement of the songs was amazing. The music producer, Harvey Mason Jr. and other guests’ told stories about how they organized and orchestrated all those big hits, that was interesting, too.

Me: And what's this, you worked with the Foo Fighters? Doing what?

Airi: It was at the same mastering studio. They came to re-master some of their hit records, and I had the privilege of assisting the process.

Me: How was that experience?

Airi: I was really thrilled to be able to work with them. They were obviously a big client, and personally I cannot forget how nervous I was. Once, they had asked me to go purchase a pack of cigarettes for the client as a runner and I realized that the store would not sell it to me without my ID. It was my first time ever buying cigarettes, so I wasn’t aware that I would need my ID until the lady at the store told me so. So I ran back to the studio, got my ID, got the cigarettes, and gave them to the client. As an apology for the unexpected delay, I bought them a lighter from the store out of my own pocket. But they were all very nice people. They smiled and only took the cigarettes. The main actress of Pitch Perfect 2, Anna Kendrick, was an extremely hard worker, and I did my best at the studio too, so that we could really make a great production. I got to help work the tape machine for the first time, which was also a great experience.

Me: Okay, so, when will "Reasons of Love" be out and what else will you be working on?

Airi: We are currently planning towards a summer release, and will feature a new music video for one of the songs from the EP.

Me: Your beautiful song "Heartbeat" was featured on a DVD called "1," Airi. What is that DVD about?

Airi: The DVD is a collection of dance videos produced by a dance artist/ choreographer, Kento Mori featuring top dancers from around the world. It was released last year by Sony Music Japan International. My song was featured as the end roll theme. 

Me: How did you get to be a part of that?

Airi: Kento, being the biggest fan of my music for years, told me that he wanted to use the particular song in his DVD. So many great talents are featured in the DVD, so it was my honor to be a part of the project.

Me: Is that you playing piano on it?

Airi: No, it is not. I do play piano, but for that particular recording, I had an amazing pianist and friend of mine, Noriko Olling play it.

Me: Alright, I hope this was a fun interview for you, and I hope you come back soon when your next release comes out. Will you?

Airi: Oh, yes. This was a very satisfying experience and I’d be happy to return next time.

Me: Go ahead and plug your websites if you want. Airi: You can find out more about our upcoming releases on my official website,

Me: Thanks so much for being here. Please come back soon, Airi. Now how do you say "bye" in Japanese? 

Airi: Yes, thanks for having me. Jikai mo otanoshimini, matta ne!

That about it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Laird Jim and Airi Mori. There's not gonna be any entries of the Phile next Sunday or Monday as it's Easter, but the Phile will be back on April 3rd with Phile Alum Brian Sumner from The Sumner Brothers. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Have a great Easter.

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

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Pheaturing Alicia Rae

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Sunday. What's up? How are you doing with your March Madness bracket? I don't care about it now that Stony Brook was beaten by University of Kentucky. Anyway, let's talk about how Domino's to test pizza delivery robots, changing porno movie plots forever. Domino's Pizza is testing a pizza delivery robot in Queensland, Australia. The Domino’s Robotic Unit, or DRU, is basically a miniature version of a self-driving car. Not to mention the autonomous delivery vehicle was developed in collaboration with Australian tech startup Marathon Targets, which also makes robots for military live-fire exercises. So yes, this is a recipe for disaster, because when a robot with military technology delivers pizzas it's the first step in the machines taking over and enslaving humankind. The vehicle uses the same tech as self-driving cars to get to delivery destinations, and has built-in GPS tracking technology that syncs with Google Maps. It's also locked, so no greedy monsters steal the pizza en route. DRU has hot and cold insulated compartments, and is opened via a digital security code you receive when you order the pizza. The pizzamobile tops out at 12.4 miles per hour, which seems like the same speed as some human delivery drivers in real cars. It took a lot of regulatory clearance with transportation authorities in Queensland, and DRU's first road test was restricted to some pre-approved roads. So it may be a while before delivery robots are approved in America. Until then, just remember to be nice to robots.
A recent survey conducted by Zoosk revealed that for 72% of people who use online dating sites (like, for example, Zoosk), poor spelling and grammar are a deal breaker. These errors are a problem not necessarily because they makes the writer look dumb, but because they make them look lazy or indifferent. And that's not the message a person should be putting out when they're trying to find a date, even if it happens to be true. And yes, punctuation counts. Of the 9,000 people polled, 93% said that just adding a period at the end of a sentence makes their opinion of the person sending the message more positive. So if you proofread more, you'll get rejected less. The good part of this news is that grammar and punctuation are things you can control. Unlike your looks or, god help you, your personality. Best of luck out there, people.
A waitress at Zombie Burger in Des Moines​, Iowa, had a less than stellar shift when a customer not only stiffed her on a $17.82 receipt, but also left a scathing and judgmental note, according to "NY Daily News." "Tips are only for normal looking people," was the unhelpful message waitress Taelor Beeck received from her customer. Beeck... who looks like a human being... told WHO, "At first I felt really upset. I felt attacked. I almost felt like I was back in middle school all over again." "I may look like a weirdo but I'm actually a very nice, decent person," Beeck said. Zombie Burger's parent company, Orchestrate Hospitality, couldn't care less about what Beeck looks like. "We believe that Zombie Burger is a place that celebrates individuality. We are in 100% support of our staff and we’re confident that our customers will be as well. She is an example of a great team member and we are standing by her." It's a little baffling that Beeck's customer thought she looked strange when eating a meal at a restaurant that dishes out food like this...

What was the diner expecting when walking into the restaurant? And anyway, what did the customer look like... a real-life Barbie doll or something? That would be even weirder. Just for the record... I don't think Taelor looks bad.

The new Star Wars got the kind of acclaim George Lucas could only have wished for on his prequels, and now the tarnished legacy of his other great franchise is about to be rehabilitated, because Disney is making a fifth Indiana Jones movie. Steven Spielberg is directing it, Harrison Ford is starring in it, and if Lucas is involved with it at all, no one mentioned it in any of the press releases, despite him having written the story for all four existing Indiana Jones movies. Here's Disney's statement on the new movie, which is set for release in 2019 and hopefully doesn't call for the return of Shia LaBeouf, or, really, any plot element from Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. "Indiana Jones will return to the big screen on July 19, 2019, for a fifth epic adventure in the blockbuster series. Steven Spielberg, who directed all four previous films, will helm the as-yet-untitled project with star Harrison Ford reprising his iconic role. Franchise veterans Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall will produce. Indiana Jones is one of the greatest heroes in cinematic history, and we can’t wait to bring him back to the screen in 2019,” said Alan Horn, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. “It’s rare to have such a perfect combination of director, producers, actor and role, and we couldn’t be more excited to embark on this adventure with Harrison and Steven.” Famed archeologist and explorer Indiana Jones was introduced in 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark... one of AFI’s 100 Greatest American Films of All Time... and later thrilled audiences in 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The four films have brought in nearly $2 billion at the global box office. Though the press release didn't name a screenwriter, "Entertainment Weekly" claims it's unlikely that the job will go to Lucas, considering he had little involvement in The Force Awakens. Of course, this is maybe exactly what Lucas wants, because he has said that he's gone into semi-retirement in order to work on smaller, more personal films. But watch Disney announce six American Graffiti reboot movies next, just to twist the knife in his side. Speaking of George by the way he was caught eating noodles alone in a food court, because in the end we are all alone.
Just because you have a net worth of $5.1 billion doesn't mean you're too good for a lunch of noodles, Diet Coke, and the day's newspaper on a plastic tray. Twitter user Gabrielle Fusco saw George having a quiet meal to himself in a South Australian food court, and kindly left him alone in person to make fun of him online.

Note that Fusco provided no evidence she was eating with another person or that her noodles were any warmer. Poor George made three unpopular movies after making three of the most popular movies ever and now he can't live down the jokes. Leave this humble soul alone. He's given you more than you can take from him.
That said, I have to show you something very cool. A few weeks ago these road signs were put up all over Iowa...

Now if only we can get every state to have signs like that. So, did you see Bernie Sanders' new campaign slogan?

Hmmm. I think he lost his mind. And then I saw this...

Speaking of Trump...

I think they all lost their bloody minds. You know, I miss Jeb and his disappointing looks. Like the time he really wanted ice cream instead.

So, do you kids like music festivals? There's one I am thinking about going to...

Okay, and now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Types Of People In Every Match Madness Pool
5. Overly confident in their Alma Mater's chances.
4. Never actually gets around to filling out bracket but afterwards tells you they would have gotten it right.
3. Status guru.
2. Harasses everyone in office for help filling out bracket.
And the number one type of people in every March Madness pool...
1. Lets their kid fill out bracket.

If you spot the Mindphuck then let me know. Alright, so, my son is in town and we have been talking about how we used to watch "Sesame Street" together. Now that show is on HBO it's a little bit different.

Big Bird learns the harsh lesson that an inch of water is all it takes for a baby to drown.

Gogi Grant 
September 20th, 1924 — March 10th, 2016
Wayward, and in the wind.

Today's guest is a wonderful young singer-songwriter from D.C. whose EP "Sweet Melody" is available on CD Baby. Please welcome to the Phile... Alicia Rae.

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

Alicia: Hey Jason! I’m doing well! Excited to speak with you today!

Me: That's good. Okay, before we start talking about your music I have to mention this... did anybody ever tell you that you look a little bit like Maisie Williams from "Game of Thrones"?

Alicia: Aw Arya! I love her! I haven’t had anyone tell me that I look like her before, but I can see it now that you mention it. She’s one of my favorite characters on
"Game of Thrones." People normally tell me that I look like Shailene Woodley from Divergent.

Me: I can see that as well. I have to mention this... your chin is pierced... well, right below your mouth. That looks like a painful place to have anything pierced. Was it?

Alicia: Haha! I can already tell that this is going to be a fun interview! I honestly can’t even remember if it hurt or not… so, I guess it didn’t hurt that badly... ha ha! Also, I’ve had people say things about the piercing, but no one has called it a chin piercing. So, that was a first... haha! Sometimes older people with bad eyesight will tell me I have some food on my lip. That’s always a little embarrassing... haha.

Me: I'm old, but knew it wasn't food. Haha. You are braver than I am, Alicia. What made you wanna get pierced there?

Alicia: I went through a little “rocker” phase. I had half of my head shaved and I wore black nail polish, and I decided to get my lip and nose pierced. Now my hair has grown out, but I like the “chin piercing” and nose ring still... haha.

Me: Okay, now we got that out of the way, Alicia, where are you originally from? Have you lived in D.C. your whole life?

Alicia: I was born in Seoul, Korea, but I moved to America when I was 2. I grew up in Southern Maryland, right outside of D.C., and a few years ago I moved just a little north of D.C.

Me: Where are your parents originally from, Alicia?

Alicia: My dad grew up North Dakota and enlisted into the army. He was stationed in Korea where he met my mom. I love visiting family in North Dakota! They are very outdoors-y and do cool things like ice fishing. And, my Korean family is awesome, too! We’re planning a trip back in a couple of years.

Me: What do they think of your music?

Alicia: They’re so supportive of my music! My mom loves everything... haha. And, my dad gives really good constructive criticism. He is a musician himself, and used to play in a band when he was younger. I get my eclectic taste from him! He is really good with being able to hear a part to a new song I’ve written, and say, “Well, I think you should go to this chord,” or, “I think these lines could be a little better.” Sometimes I hear him playing the piano in the basement and I go to Shazam the song and then realize it’s something he is writing.

Me: Do they go see you perform?

Alicia: They do! They don’t make it out to every show, because I play all around the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area. But, they come to any show that is nearby or on the weekends. They’ve heard me play the same songs a million times and are always there to support when they can.

Me: You seem very young... are you still in high school?

Alicia: I think it’s the half-Asian blood. We tend to look younger... haha. I actually just went to our ten-year reunion over the summer. It ended up just being a small group of friends hanging out at the National Harbor, but it was still a great time.

Me: I love your EP, Sweet Melody. Is this your first release?

Alicia: Thank you! I released a single a couple of years ago called “Autumn." It has a cool video with it that I recorded with my family on an iPhone. I learned all of the words in reverse and then we shot the video with me throwing random things around, like leaves. Then, we reversed that video. It created a cool backwards effect, while my mouthing was regular. I hope that made sense… But, yes, "Sweet Melody" is my first EP.

Me: The title track is very whimsical and I like the ukulele on it... was that your first instrument you learnt to play?

Alicia: Thanks! My producer, Chris Rafetto, did a great job with that track, and the whole EP. "Sweet Melody" was a lot of fun to make! My first instrument was the piano, technically. I can play “Mary Had A Little Lamb," “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and the “A, B, Cs." The last two are cheating because it’s the same song... haha. When I was younger my parents had this interactive game to learn the piano. These little ducks would be on the screen and every time I hit the correct note on the keyboard, the duck would quack the note and then disappear. Kind of like "Duck Hunt." In elementary school, I picked up the flute, and eventually the piccolo. I loved both instruments, but I couldn’t sing while playing them. In 2009, I purchased my first guitar and fell in love. A couple years later I purchased the ukulele, but I honestly don’t play it much. I wrote "Sweet Melody" on the guitar but decided to record it with the ukulele after my dad suggested it.

Me: What do you prefer to play? Ukulele or acoustic guitar?

Alicia: I prefer acoustic guitar at the moment. Only because I am more comfortable with it. I do want to write more songs with the ukulele in the future.

Me: Do you remember what the first song you learnt?

Alicia: I do! I learned “Valentine” by Kina Grannis. She’s my favorite musician, and my inspiration for picking up the guitar. She posted a tutorial online for “Valentine” and, I spent a long time trying to get my fingers to cooperate to play the song.

Me: Alicia, did you write all the songs on the EP?

Alicia: I did. “Hide Away” is the oldest song on the EP, and “Fire In Your Eyes” is the newest one I wrote.

Me: I watched the videos for "Sweet Melody" and "Cupid." You look like you enjoyed being on video. Do you like to act and play?

Alicia: I had a ton of fun with those videos! I like to play! Definitely! I don’t think acting is my strong suit, but it was fun to do for the video. With “Cupid” there were a lot of times that I would randomly laugh at my acting. The fight scene was the hardest for me to keep a straight face. Partly my fault, because I kept shouting random things at Bradley Roukis, my onscreen boyfriend.

Me: There was one scene in the video for "Sweet Melody" where I thought for sure you were gonna be pushed in the pool... you also looked like you thought that as well. Was that planned?

Alicia: That whole video was fun! I had all of my friends over for a pizza/pool party. For that scene, it was planned, but Matt Meyers, my onscreen boyfriend, was good at really pushing me forward so it felt like I was going to fall in. There was one point, off camera, where he snuck up behind me and practiced almost pushing me in. I screamed so loudly, and I had genuine pure fear in my scream... haha. I wish the cameras were rolling then because that was the perfect reaction.

Me: So, were you pushed in?

Alicia: Nope! But, I got to push Matt in a couple of times... haha! Oh! This is a little off topic, but I made a Vine with my mom one time and made her jump in the pool a few times. It’s really funny. I said, “If you step on a crack, you’ll break your mother’s” and then I step on a crack. Then, the camera shows her falling in the pool. Haha! I think you just have to see it. My Vine name is @AliciaRaeMusic.

Me: I noticed in both videos you have different boyfriends... haha. Are any of these guys your real boyfriend?

Alicia: Ha ha. No, they’re friends of mine. I went to high school with Matt, from “Sweet Melody." I actually hadn’t seen him for a while before we met up to shoot. I met his girlfriend that day. It was slightly awkward getting cuddly with Matt with his girlfriend in the room... ha ha! But, she was very cool about the whole thing! I met Bradley the day we shot “Cupid." He’s close friends with the director, Scott Sayasithsena. Bradley is an actor and lives in California. So, it was pretty cool working with someone who does this kind of thing all the time.

Me: "Cupid" is about your boyfriend cheating on you... this is not a true story, is it?

Alicia: I actually wrote “Cupid” off an idea a friend of mine inspired. She told me to write a song about her ex-husband and how awful he is. I started thinking about how Cupid is seen as this sweet little baby man who shoots you with a heart-shaped arrow and then you fall in love. But, if Cupid is so awesome, why would he set you up for failure? I have been cheated on before, and the way I reacted when I found out was much different than the way I reacted in the video. I like to think that I’m older, stronger, and have more self-worth to handle that type of situation more like I did in the video. BUT! I don’t plan on ever being in that type of situation again... haha.

Me: You sing that cupid has a gun... Alicia, the cupid I know has a bow and arrow. Haha. A gun would be worse though. What were you thinking when you wrote that song?

Alicia: I was thinking if Cupid is shooting you, and making you fall in love with someone who he knows isn’t the best fit for you, then he isn’t really shooting you with a little heart-shaped pillow arrow. He’s shooting to make you feel pain and, I think he’d do that with a gun.

Me: On your EP you do a song with a guy named Michael Pearsall. Who is that?

Alicia: Yeah, “Fire In Your Eyes”! My dad actually suggested that I do that song as a duet. Once he planted that seed, I couldn’t get the idea of a duet out of my head and, Michael was my first choice for the male vocal. Michael is the lead singer of the D.C. local band Honor By August. They’re my favorite band, and they put on a really good show! I met Michael and the rest of the guys a few years ago at their shows. My producer used to be the bassist in the band, and recently left to pursue his career as a producer. And, he is a darn good producer! When we decided to record “Fire In Your Eyes” I reached out to Michael and asked if he’d be interested and when he said “yes” we hit the studio to record it right away!

Me: I was trying to figure out your influences... who are they?

Alicia: Well, Michael is my favorite songwriter, and Honor By August has influenced me a lot. I pulled a lot from their writing when I first started. As I mentioned earlier, Kina Grannis is my favorite artist. I kind of hold her in a whole different league than everyone else. I admire her songwriting, artistry, and her marketing as an indie artist. If it weren’t for her, I probably wouldn’t have ever picked up the guitar. Taylor Swift is also another big influence. I listened to her album "Red" on repeat for months before writing for "Sweet Melody." I think she’s a big influence with the title track and “Hide Away."

Me: Okay, so, what's next for you? Any big plans? Are you gonna be touring?

Alicia: I’d like to take some time off to write again. I find that it’s easiest to be creative when you make the time for it. When I’m gigging a lot, I tend to only play my current songs, to keep them fresh and ready for my shows. My next release will be a collaborative project with two friends of mine. The single is a little different than "Sweet Melody;" it’s an electronic track. After its release, I will focus on writing and releasing an acoustic album. I want to give music to the fans that is closer to what they hear with my live acoustic sets.

Me: I hope this was fun, and the best interview you have ever done. Will you come back again on the Phile soon?

Alicia: This was a ton of fun, Jason! Thanks so much for having me! I’d love to come back on the Phile again! Don’t tell anyone else, but this was my favorite interview... haha!

Me: Yes! Ha! Want to mention your website?

Alicia: Oh yes! Thanks for reminding me. I have all of my music up there, a blog that I need to update more often, some merch, and all the links to my social sites!

Me: Alright, take care and continued success.

Alicia: Thanks so much, Jason! I wish you the best, and we’ll talk soon!

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Alicia for a great interview. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Japanese singer Airi Mori. 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

Monday, March 14, 2016

Pheaturing Phile Alum Mick Clarke

Hey there, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? Here's a nice little story to start off with. A group of Syrian refugees was welcomed into Vancouver on March 5th with open arms... and paws. The refugees were staying at the same hotel where an annual furry convention called VancouFur (see what they did there?) was taking place. It's unclear what the adults thought about the humans dressed in animal costumes, but the kids couldn't get enough of it. For the uninitiated, "furries" are people who dress up as anthropomorphic animal characters (meaning they have human personalities) as a hobby. The VancouFurries were notified via memo that refugees were staying in the same hotel. The note stressed that “a major concern that VancouFur has is ensuring that each and every one of the refugees (and attendees) feels welcome and safe and the fact that this is likely to be a major shock to them... Keep in mind that they likely will not want to interact with you and consent is important to everyone.” As it turns out, the kids had absolutely no problem interacting with the furries. far refugees lucky enough to get into Canada have been welcomed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, via video message by Canadian students, and a furry convention.
Dos Equis is retiring the actor behind their famed spokesman, "The Most Interesting Man in the World." The Mexican beer brand announced the end of his commercial run on last week. The campaign ran for nearly nine years with the now 77-year-old Jonathan Goldsmith playing the character; Dos Equis plans to replace him with a younger Most Interesting Man. His tagline "I don't always drink beer, but when I do, I drink Dos Equis," worked so well that it inspired endless parody catchphrases and Halloween costumes. His final Dos Equis commercial sent him off with both spectacle and respect (respectable?). A rocket.
In a move she must have known would delight Scooby-Doo fans around the world (or perhaps make them feel like she betrayed everything the gang stood for), a California woman named Sharon Kay Turman led cops on a high speed chase... in an excellent replica of the gang's Mystery Machine. According to KRCTV, the Redding Police Department were looking for the 51-year-old in relation to a probation violation and tried to pull her over on a traffic stop when she took off. The chase reached speeds of over 100 mph, which is officially fast enough to knock the glasses off Velma. Turman left the Mystery Machine when it was spotted by a California Highway Patrol helicopter and escaped on foot. She's still at large, wanted by the Redding Police Department and Shasta County Probation. She got away with it, too, because there were no meddling kids.
New light has been shed on the patriarchy's general unwillingness to reciprocate. In a study commissioned by the Trojan Sexual Health Division of Church & Dwight Canada, it's revealed that collegiate Canadian women are far more generous when it comes to giving oral sex than their male partners. When 899 students were surveyed about their latest sexual activities, over two-thirds of participants disclosed that oral sex had been given and/or received in the encounter, though a disproportionate number of the givers were women, and the receivers men. This is in spite of the fact that a greater number of men said giving oral sex was "very pleasurable" than women. So if Canuck dudes find giving oral sex pleasurable, what gives with them giving it way less? "Cosmopolitan" writer Hanna Smothers suggests the gender disparity between givers of oral sex "could be [due to] that there's not so much cunnilingus going down on casual hookups or in friends-with-benefits situations," given that the women in the study "found giving and receiving oral sex to be better when in a serious relationship (cohabiting, engaged, or married)." Interesting. What do you think?
Some workmen outside London discovered a monster recently. The creature, which was already dead when found on railroad tracks near a city playground, looked like a figment of the imagination that would've been best left there. Are you ready?

Look at the hands. Look at the feet. Look at the shaggy fur, enough of it to adorn the most frightful bogeyman with a terrible rat-cap. The man behind the photo, Tony Smith, gave an appraisal of the size, saying, "I've got a cat and a Jack Russell and it was bigger than both of those put together." He also explained, according to the BBC, that, "We were going to stick it in the bin. But before we did we thought we better take a picture... people won't believe it's real." Unfortunately for fans of massive, horrific beasts, Smith is absolutely correct: it's not real. Or, rather, it's real, but it's probably not as big as it looks. Twitterers and experts alike jumped to correct the assumption that if this rat was in New York, it would be capable of dragging a trash can instead of a pizza. Instead, it's a trick of perspective. "The Independent" quotes Professor Steven Belmain from the University of Greenwhich's Natural Resources Institute, who confirms that there's no way the rat is actually that big. He says that the rat is "a fine large specimen," but nothing to run home screaming about. "All wild rats in England are Norway rats... There are rodents in the Tropics such as cane rats that get that big, but there is no way a Norway rat will get that big." The professor also says, "Part of the explanation is that people don't actually see rats very often or only catch a glimpse of them as they move so quickly, so when they do see them up close they are surprised how big they are." What? Brits don't see rats on their subway tracks as part of their daily routine? Londoners, you are truly a blessed people. And not just because this rat is probably only large instead of ginormous. There's a giant rat where I work... or a mouse. Ha.
A few weeks ago Facebook revealed new reaction emoji's you can comment with. Well, I said it before, I think they are getting just a little bit too specific.

So, are you excited about the new Batman v. Superman movie that comes out in a few weeks? I am, but I saw a screenshot of the movie and I think I know who won.

There's another superhero against superhero movie that is coming out but I don't think this fight is as exciting...

I kick ass at thumb wrestling by the way, I probably could beat both of those dudes. Hey, did you see Ted Cruz's new campaign slogan?

Ha. At least he's honest. I cannot vote as I am not an American citizen, but if I could I wish I can vote for this guy who has a great campaign slogan...

A lot of people compare Trump to Hitler, which I don't think is fair... until I saw a painting that he has hanging up in his house.

Hmmmm. Okay, so, I have been showing you for weeks now why presidential candidates shouldn't pose with kids. Well, finally, here's the last reason I'll show you...

"Yes, I'm comforting you." I am still gonna show you why I kiss Jeb and his disappointing and disgusted looks by the way. Like the time he remembered his dad saying that Dubya was his favorite.

So, one thing I like to do in my spare time is to look up certain words on Twitter and see what people are talking about. One of those words I look up is "Foghat" and this is what I recently saw...

Thanks, Paul. I think. Alright, so, my son Logan is visiting for a month and we have been watching "The Walking Dead" together. We talked about how we used to watch "Sesame Street" together, and it made me think that now that puppet show is on HBO it's a little bit different. Which brings us to the pheature...

"Ernie, it's going to be okay. Prison isn't too bad, unlike the POW camp I was in during the war. Now that place was hellacious. The guards only gave out one jug of water a week to each family. You had to conserve your water to stay alive. There was no water for showering, or washing your hands. The inmates had to piss on each other in order to bathe. Can you imagine the smell? Prisoners would work all day in the quarry, baking under the sun in piss soaked age. Every afternoon the guards would gather up the women and children and rap them while the men watched. Then every night they'd make the men bare-knuckle fight each other to death. If you won, your family got to eat the guy you killed. And you did it, because the guards sure as hell wouldn't feed you. It was horrible, Ernie. I'm just glad I was a guard and not one of the prisoners there. we tortured the shit out of those gooks!"

If you spot the Mindphuck and I'm sure you will, then let me know. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, here is...

Top Phive Reasons Why Dos Equis Is Retiring The Most Interesting Man In The World
5. His liver is now the size of a sombrero.
4. There are worries he;ll get caught up in President Trump's mass deportation of Latinos.
3. To renew his contract, he was demanding TRES Equis.
2. Dos Equis was tired of all that pesky "brand recognition."
And the number one reason Dos Equis is retiring The Most Interesting Man in the World is...
1. The actor playing the role was no longer thirsty, my friends.

Back in December, Patrick Rempe from Vero Beach, Florida, rammed his car into the front doors of the Indian River County jail. When he discovered that wasn't a viable form of entry, he tried to drive through the fence. And when that didn't work, he tried to scale the fence and became caught in the barbed wire. Why? He told police after that he just wanted to visit friends in jail, which is even more ludicrous than the guy who posted his bank robbery on Instagram. If it sounds like Rempe had impaired judgment, he did, because he was high on flakka. Flakka is a variety of illegal bath salts that cause users to experience "excited delirium" through symptoms of hyperstimulation, paranoia, and hallucination. All those drug symptoms also added up to lots of charges for Rempe: aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, battery on a law enforcement officer, three counts of felony criminal mischief, leaving the scene of a crash with property damage, and driving under the influence. If the side effect of a drug is that it makes you want to break into jail, that should be enough of a public service announcement to deter people from using it.

IKEA is a Swedish puzzle manufacturer.

Alright, today's pheatured guest is a Phile Alum and a Bristish blues legend whose two latest albums "Ruff'n'Roar" and "Shake It Up!" are both available on iTunes. Please welcome back to the Phile... Mick Clarke.

Me: Mick! Welcome back to the Phile, sir. How have you been?

Mick: Very well thank you... keeping busy.

Me: Okay, you're from England like I am... Surrey if I remember correctly, am I right?

Mick: We live in the beautiful Surrey countryside down towards the Sussex border. It's great, but we're currently fighting off hoards of property developers who see the green fields as ideal places to build housing estates. Life is never simple.

Me: You said last time you were here you lived in L.A. for a year. What made you do that?

Mick: This was in 1979 and I'd been a professional musician since about 1968, playing in bands such as Killing Floor and SALT. So I'd done quite a lot of work all over the U.K. and Europe and seen different styles of rock come and go, but by the end of the 70s it felt as though that whole scene was over in Britain. Punk had come in in about '77 and then "new wave" and there was no market for long haired blues rockers. Los Angeles sounded like an exciting new adventure. However what I found was a lot of pop rock bands doing showcases on Sunset Strip trying to get record deals, and I didn't find much that I could fit in with. In those days there wasn't much blues happening in L.A., though I did get to see Paul Butterfield, John Hammond and a few others. I nearly joined Badfinger, who were living there and had a new album coming out, but that didn't work out. So a year later I moved back, which was quite hard, because there was no doubt that life in L.A. was easier in many ways. London at that time was still pretty grey and depressing. But they brightened it up considerably over the following few years, in the 80s, and it's a lot different now. After a few years I started the Mick Clarke Band and ended up doing a lot of work in Europe, so I think I did the right thing. Plus of course getting married and having a happy life here.

Me: Do you get to come over to the states often?

Mick: Not these days. I did a bunch of tours back in the 80s and 90s and made a lot of friends, mainly in the north west, Portland, Oregon area. But I never came home with any money! And then there would be six weeks of bills waiting for me, so it wasn't easy. When things started picking up in Europe for us I concentrated on that.

Me: Okay, you knew my dad, right? You opened for Foghat here in the states. When was that and was he aware of you do you know?

Mick: That was in the 80s and we opened for him a couple of times, once in Portland and once in Olympia, Washington. Nice guy... I remember a smiley face coming in to the dressing room to say hello. He would have probably known of me as a member of Killing Floor. We'd known Rod Price a bit... I think he played with a band called Black Cat Bones who were always busy on the same circuit as Killing Floor. And I have a vague memory of dropping by at a Foghat rehearsal, when they were preparing to go to the states for the first time. I think at the time they were called Brandywine... is that right?

Me: Yeah, Brandywine and Black Cat Bones was the band Rod was in.

Mick: At the time I thought "why would you want to go to the states"... I thought that the U.K. was the centre of everything in those days. Clearly I was a little short sighted!

Me: Ha. Foghat did a version of "It Hurts Me Too" a few times, and that is one of my favorite blues songs, and you did a gray version in the past.

Mick: Well, so many songs in blues are 12 bar, 1-4-5 format, so it's nice to find a good song that's different. "It Hurts Me Too" (or "It Hurts My Toe" as it was rechristened in South London) is an 8 bar, and it's a great song. I still play it occasionally, and I've written a few 8 bar blues of my own which I also play. I like to include one 8 bar song on every gig, just as a change from the 12s. They can be a bit more melodic.

Me: Mick, you have been recording for a long time... when did you first decide you wanna be a musician?

Mick: I was over at a friend's house in London, around 1963... still at school. There were a couple of other friends over and they were having a kind of jam... acoustic guitar, harmonica, maracas...  probably trying to play some Bo Diddley or something like that. And I just liked the idea of getting together and making music... it seemed exciting!

Me: Have you always been into the blues?

Mick: I'd grown up with the development of "beat" music in the U.K. When I first became a teenager bands like the Beatles and the Stones were just appearing. All those bands played a lot of what we then called R&B... they were playing a lot of Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Reed... and then a few bands started specialising in the bluesier end of the spectrum, bands like Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, and my tastes gravitated towards them. Through them I heard about people such as B.B. King, Otis Rush...

Me: Do you remember what the first song you leant to play was?

Mick: That's easy... the Shadows' "Apache." Because if you play it in the key of G, you can play the first four notes on open strings without having to actually put a finger down on a fret. And once you've played that one, difficult, fretted note, the next five notes are also open strings. Then you just repeat the whole thing. So voila! You've played several bars of a real song with minimal effort. After that it gets a bit tricky.

Me: As a kid did you go to the clubs in London to see any bands such as Savoy Brown?

Mick: Certainly. We lived in a pretty boring suburb to the South West, but you could get on a Northern Line tube train and half an hour later step out into a different world... the West End of London, with clubs such as The Marquee and 100 Club. I loved it. Actually my introduction to the blues world came to me... John Mayall's Bluesbreakers featuring Eric Clapton came and played at my school fete, in a marquee right next to my house. So I got an early lesson in how it should be done. There was also a great little club in a pub called the Nags Head in Battersea, South London, where I used to go and see bands including Savoy Brown and Black Cat Bones, who at that time featured a young Paul Kossoff on guitar. The Nags Head was great because it was so small and intimate. My best memories are of seeing the early Fleetwood Mac there, and really seeing Peter Green develop as a great blues guitarist in front of my eyes, just a few feet away. One time the band I was with, Cliff Charles Blues played the interval spot there, using their gear. Peter Green complimented me afterwards, and I can't tell you how much that meant to me!

Me: You started off in the same year I was born in the band Killing Floor. Do you guys still play together?

Mick: Yes, we got back together a few years back and have recorded a couple of new albums, "Zero Tolerance" and "Rock'n'Roll Gone Mad." Some tracks on "Zero Tolerance" have the complete 1968 five piece line-up, which is something that few other bands could boast. However my friend Lou Martin sadly died a few years ago... much missed. We played a few festival dates around Europe, which were a lot of fun, the last being Sweden Rock festival in 2012, which we did as a four piece. The four of of us are very close friends, although we're scattered all over Europe. One in Wales, one in Switzerland. But I think all the stuff that we went through back in the 60s, hard as it was, gave us a kind of a bond. I hope we can do some more work together some time.

Me: Killing Floor was Freddie King's back up band, and you even played with the great Howlin' Wolf. Where you nervous when you first met those two, Mick?

Mick: We'd met Freddie before, when we opened for him once on a previous tour, so we kind of knew him. The trouble was we couldn't always understand him, as he spoke with a strong gutteral Texas accent and used expressions we weren't familiar with. For example he'd say, "Hi man, what's happening'." Not being familiar with this as a casual greeting we would carefully and meticulously explain to him exactly what was happening at the time! He gave us some funny looks. Of course he was a wordly 33-year-old and we were... well I was 19 and about as green as any kid could be. So he probably felt he was working with a bunch of children, but he was always extremely polite and easy to work with. Wolf was of course known for a being a bit grumpy, but we had a few chats, with Freddie usually around and some alcohol involved. Bill, our singer, had the job of escorting him to a few gigs, so probably had a chance to chat more. I think he felt that Wolf was pretty badly treated by the agent, so they probably had a lot in common! Lou told me that one time Wolf was having a moan about white people not being able to play the blues, and Freddie gestured over to me and said, "You can't tell me that guy can't play the blues." Excuse me blowing my own trumpet again, but as they say, you can't take that away from me.

Me: My dad used to go to all the blues shows in London back then so I am sure he would of seen you. Anyway, did you do a lot of rehearsals back then or was it "here's the set list and good luck"? 

Mick: We over rehearsed! Killing Floor's whole take on the blues was that we wanted to take the original songs and arrange them in our own way, adding riffs and little changes that would make them interesting and different. Which was great to an extent, and I think we did come up with some interesting stuff, but the thing about blues, as I've learned since, is that you've got to feel free and just play from the heart. That's hard to do when you're never more than a few bars from a break or a key change! So really we could have loosened up a bit. We didn't want to be like some British bands who were obsessed with trying to sound exactly like the originals, so I think we had the right idea but we just needed to let the music breathe a little more. But there... it took me a long time to learn. Even in the 80s, when the Mick Clarke Band was touring in the states, we had a lot of arrangements in the music. We played with Johnny Winter, and my friend Dangerous Dave, the harp player, asked him what he thought of us. He said he thought we were good but too arranged... and he was right. Now, it's just a jam. The set list is vague and the music will go wherever it goes. Loose and sloppy sometimes (speaking for myself) but always real, and I think it's better for it.

Me: So, you have a band now called The Mick Clarke band... who is on the band and how did you all meet?

Mick: Well, it has changed line ups a few times over the last thirty years! The first line up was the remains of SALT, Len Davies on bass and Ron Berg (Blodwyn Pig) on drums, with Lou on piano when possible. These days we're a basic three piece, usually with Chris Sharley (Sassaffrass) on drums, who first joined the band in the early 90s, and Eddie Masters on bass. Sometimes we augment with Dangerous Dave on harp or Dave Lennox on keyboards. So every gig is a bit different really, and I think it stays fresh.

Me: Your guitar playing is really unique, Mick. Is there anybody you are influenced by or do you just do your own thing?

Mick: That's nice of you to say... I'd like to agree, but I know where the influences came from, and they're all fairly mainstream. Clapton was a big one for a start. But I think Freddie's influence was also huge, much greater than I realised at the time. And then a bit of Rory's attitude and aggression, plus influences from all of the great players... particularly Otis Rush, B.B., and a fair dollop of Billy Gibbons! Love that stuff! And I try get a bit of Mick Clarke in there somehow too. On the slide I originally liked Ry Cooder and Lowell George... then when I played with my band the style developed into a kind of rocked up Muddy Waters approach. These days I try to get it as rough and raw sounding as I can... back to a kind of Hound Dog Taylor or JB Hutto approach. All the young players now sound like Derek Trucks which is great, but I prefer to look back to a more abrasive style.

Me: Do you like playing lead, slide, or rhythm the best?

Mick: Y'know I love playing rhythm! Very satisfying if you can just lock into the drums and get it get it tight. Rhythm is so important. Many times when we've been recording the whole track has come together when I've gone back to it and added a good tight rhythm guitar. But also it shouldn't be too perfect. I remember putting the rhythm guitar on "Talking With The Blues" back in the 90s, and it was good but a bit dull. And Nick Robbins, the engineer, said, "Play it like you were 19 years old." so I tried to think myself into the part, loosen up and give it a bit of teenage recklessness and it came out great!

Me: What about acoustic?

Mick: Well, I've never been much good at that finger style thing, and I don't even own a high quality acoustic guitar, so I think I'll leave it to others. Rory was great on acoustic. Maybe that's something I'll get round to... I can see myself when I'm 80 playing nice tasteful stuff on an acoustic... maybe, who knows?

Me: You mostly play a 1963 Gibson SG Standard, which is what Rod Price played in Foghat. Shit, I hope that's right. Anyway, what do you like best about that guitar?

Mick: Yes, that's my guitar, which I call Gnasher. I think, though it's a long time ago, that the first guitar I saw Rod with was a Gibson Melody Maker, which was interesting because I hadn't seen many around. And I remember he got a nice sound out of it. In the photos he appears to be playing a couple of SGs... don't know which years or whatever.

Me: Here's a picture of Rod playing his SG...

Me: My dad always like the Gibson Junior. Here's a pic of my dad... haha.

Mick: Yes, a Les Paul Junior I believe... a very raunchy little guitar. And it looks like he replaced the original P90 pickup with a humbucker. I had a similar guitar when Killing Floor started... an SG Junior, also with one P90. Again, a very fiery instrument which I wish I still had, but I couldn't afford to collect guitars in those days so it had to be traded in.

Me: So, have you collected many guitars over the years?

Mick: Not as many as my counterparts in the states probably have... they're too expensive here. As I said, my SG Junior had to go so I could buy Freddie King's big old 345 from him. Unfortunately that had to go too because I couldn't get on with it, so I traded for the 1963 SG Standard. I also had a Strat which had to go to buy some speaker cabs! My favourite guitars, apart from Gnasher, are a 60s Danelectro 3022 which is just lovely to play and has an amazing bell like tone, which can get really raunchy with a bit of tweaking. I also acquired an Epiphone 335 and put Parsons Green pickups on... supposed to be identical to the original Gibson humbuckers. Anyway it records nicely and I enjoy playing it. For slide I use a Korean Squire Strat with Fender Texas Special pickups, or sometimes on record I play slide on the Danelectro.

Me: Alright, before we talk about your latest releases I wanna ask you your opinion on a few different guitarists... ready? Chuck Berry?

Mick: Chuck! Whoa! The King of Rock 'n' Roll... the man. I only saw him once at a big concert in London, and what struck me was the subtlety of his tone... a surprisingly light touch. A great player and innovator.

Me: You recorded with him, am I right? What was cool or was he a pain? Haha.

Mick: No, that was probably one of the other Mick Clarkes out there. It can get a little confusing and frustrating, but I can't blame their mums for calling them Michael. Of course my friend Lou toured with Chuck and found him hugely amusing... lots of stories.

Me: Oh. Side note, what do you think of that song "My Ding-a-Ling"? When I was a kid I had that 45 and loved it. Hahahaha. I didn't know then it was about his penis.

Mick: Well, Chuck has a sense of humour and also likes to earn money! And I bet every time he's sung that song he sees the dollars rolling in. I see he has a Facebook page... you could drop him a line.

Me: Buddy Guy?

Mick: Fabulous. One of the only blues albums you could get when I was younger was "Folk Festival of the Blues" with Muddy, Buddy Guy, Wolf, Willie Dixon... a great live session (most of it). And there are a couple of stunning Buddy Guy solos on there which introduced him to a whole generation of players like myself. And I know it was a strong influence on E.C. You can hear him quoting from it sometimes in his solos.

Me: B.B. King?

Mick: Chairman of the Board. My favourite album was always "Blues is King" which I think you can now find as "Live at the International Club." The power and intensity of his playing on there is phenomenal... listen to "Nightlife" and it will make your knees weak.

Me: Slash?

Mick: I know very little about him. I know he can definitely play.

Me: Keith Richards?

Mick: Mr. Rock 'n' Roll. His solos can be a bit hard to listen to sometimes, but he is king of the rhythm guitar. A national treasure in my opinion.

Me: Kim Simmonds?

Mick: I got to play with Kim just once with the British Blues All Stars and I really enjoyed it. I just played a straight rhythm guitar behind him while he did all the hard work up front, although at one point we did some lead guitar trading. We did a few Savoy Brown numbers and it was great.

Me: Alright, I can ask you about a hundred different guitarists, but we have to talk about your music. Let's talk about your latest live album "Ruff 'n' Roar." Most of the songs on that CD you never released before, am I right?

Mick: Not sure, about 50 / 50 I suppose. I'd done a version of "Happy Home" on the duo album with Lou Martin, but this one's with the band, a straight ahead Elmore type slide shuffle. Other songs were things that I've played many times on stage but never actually recorded. Then there's "Cheap" which is a kind of dirty ZZ Top kind of shuffle, which I've actually recorded a couple of times before.

Me: How did you choose which songs to put on the album?

Mick: I didn't! They were just the songs I decided to play on that night. I keep a record of set lists, so I when I went back to play that club I tried to pick mainly songs that I hadn't played there the time before.

Me: Is it hard for you to make a set list? I am guessing your set list changes all the time.

Mick: I do give it a lot of thought. Because if you get it wrong and peak too soon it can feel terribly lonely up there, and the last half hour can feel like an age! I try to build in some flexibility so I can change things around as I go if I need to.

Me: It was recorded at Scratchers. Where is that?

Mick: Scratchers is at the Three Lions pub in Farncombe, which is just near Godalming in Surrey. (Which is south of London by the way, for those not familiar with the U.K). We first played there back in the eighties and it was always good. In those days the audience used to sit cross legged on the floor! We were all a bit younger then. But it's still a good place to play and it's only about twenty minutes from where I live.

Me: I love your last studio album "Shake It Up!" Is it mostly covers or originals?

Mick: All originals. I was trying out a few feels that I hadn't really done before, like some funky stuff (or at least my idea of it). And some straight ahead slow blues which I hadn't done much of on record.

Me: I bet you can do a fucking killer version of Foghat's "Night Shift," "Stone Blue," or "Drivin' Wheel." What do you think? Next album maybe?

Mick: Yeah, these tracks take me back to the 70s... I was probably listening to them on the radio in L.A. in 1979, and it's the kind of style I was recording in the 80s and 90s. When I find the energy to do another full tilt blues rock album I'll bear them in mind!

Me: When you write what comes first, the lyrics or the music?

Mick: Usually the music... a good riff is a good start. Then if that suggests a title I go from there.

Me: Is there a favorite song you have ever recorded, Mick?

Mick: Always the next one... it's gonna be great!

Me: So, how did you choose "Shake It Up!" to be the title track?

Mick: Will the title attract sales? But I also knew that "Shake It Up!" would be an easy track for radio stations to play... short and lively. I sound very cold and calculating don't I? But it's no use making records if they never get heard or bought by anyone.

Me: I love the song "Blues Start Walkin'." There's so many songs with "walkin" and "blues" in the title. That's an original? Vaguely I think John Mayall did a version. I could be so wrong though. 

Mick: That's great... thank you. Yes, it's an original, based around the "Key to the Highway" sequence. No, I don't think Mr. Mayall has recorded it though he's most welcome if he fancies it. I like the lyric though... when the blues starts walking it's gonna walk all over you. Well, very true, when the blues does hit you you're gonna know all about it.

Me: So, did you know Don Nix? He wrote "Goin Down." I know he worked with Freddie King.

Mick: No, we worked with Freddie well before he recorded that song.

Me: The music business was so different back then, wasn't it?

Mick: Yes, I think agents and record companies were the establishment in those days. There were set ways of writing contracts and the naive young artists were not supposed to understand the business... just sign here and be grateful for whatever you get. Certainly agents and record companies that I worked with later were much more artist friendly, much simpler contracts and fairer all round. And of course, now the artist has taken a lot more control with the internet.

Me: Do you prefer recording or playing live the best, Mick?

Mick: I really enjoy recording. Of course playing live has a certain buzz which can't be replicated in any other way. But it can be hard, and most of the time when I'm on stage I'm worrying about whether I'm getting it right... am I playing well, too loud, not loud enough, what's coming next, what the hell are the lyrics to this verse that I've just started singing, is the audience still there? That kind of thing. I usually don't really enjoy the gig until the next day, when I can sit back and think well we all got home safely, nothing got lost or stolen, and we got paid. And hopefully we played okay. So yes, I really enjoy recording. I love to go into a real studio with an experienced engineer and do it properly. But I also love recording here in my home studio, because I can go in and do a bit whenever I feel inspired, and I can muck about with things for as long as I need to. I've done the last few studio albums all by myself, so I've taught myself a bit of keyboarding and drumming. It's a lot of fun to do and with a few studio tricks it doesn't sound too bad. I've just done a version of the old Patsy Cline song "Sweet Dreams" in a similar style to the great Roy Buchanan. I love Buchanan's version and initially I didn't think I would have the nerve to approach such a classic, but I also wanted to hear the song played in a more straight ahead way, sticking more to the melody. So the great thing now is that if I want to hear something I can go and make it myself. The same day that I finished mixing it I took a photo of the sunset for the artwork and the next morning put the track out as a download single. I love that immediacy that we have now. I think it's a bit like the real old days when Elvis would have recorded a new single in an evening and a week later it was in the shops all over Tennessee. Full circle.

Me: I looked at your bio and one thing surprised the shit out of me... you recorded with Cliff Richard?! What was that experience like?

Mick: Read it again.. Cliff Bennett! Mind you I did meet Hank Marvin once... very nice chap. Cliff Bennett is a great blues and soul singer, one of the best. Probably best remembered for 60s hits with "The Rebel Rousers" but we had a really good blues rock band together... Toefat (Mark 3).

Me: Oh, well, my mum used to date Cliff before he was Cliff... when they were teenagers. He was Harry Webb back then. She also dated Brian Jones and Noel Edmonds. Half my American readers won't know who those people are. Hahahaha.

Mick: Brian Jones and Noel Edmonds? She moved in very varied circles.

Me: Ever wonder why Cliff Richards never made it big here in the states?

Mick: Cliff I think would love to be more real rock'n'roll, but he just ain't! He is what he is, a great pop singer and all rounder... he did have a big hit over there at one time, "We Don't Talk Any More" so I don't really know why he couldn't capitalise more on it. Ask an American.

Me: I will, and that was his big hit over here. Alright, so, this is an easy question for you but I am asking my Alum this year as this is the Phile's tenth anniversary year what they were doing 10 years ago... what were you doing in 2006? Playing the blues I am sure. Haha.

Mick: Running around all over Southern England looking at houses, because we wanted to move out of London. Also, I think, recording the "Solid Ground" album which came out the following year, and we would have done a few festivals... maybe Switzerland, France, Sweden.

Me: Mick, thanks so much for being back on the Phile. I hope this was fun again and you'll come back when your next CD comes out. Are you currently working on anything?

Mick: An album of instrumentals... two down about ten more to go.

Me: Plug your website and please come back soon. I am a HUGE fan, sir. All the best.

Mick: Thanks a lot, Jason... or come and like the Facebook page at Thanks again, and keep rockin'.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Mick Clarke for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Sunday with young singer-songwriter Alicia Rae. 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