Monday, June 12, 2017

Pheaturing Phile Alum Martin Belmont

Come on baby ride on the milk train, come on baby ride on the milk train. Come on baby ride on the milk train, come on baby ride on the milk train Yeah ride ride ride.  - Graham Parker

Hey, good afternoon, welcome to the Phile on a Monday once again from an Amtrak train, going from Hollywood, Florida to Orlando. This time I'm on the Silver Star. Fancy, right? I was greeted with this card on this train...

I didn't get a card like that on the other train. Alright, let's take a quick look out the window, shall we?

We are going through Fort Lauderdale I believe. So, plans with a railroad conductor NEVER get canceled. Said no one ever! This train was right on time though. Did you know masturbating on airplanes is illegal? Thank God for Amtrak. Ha! Just pulled into Deerfield Beach... I haven't seen one deer yet. Is it a cheap beach? No, it's dear. Okay, let's get on with the news...
A happy day at Disneyland turned crappy on Friday night when seventeen park-goers were hit with flying fecal matter.According to NBC4, it was initially reported that someone had thrown human feces on the guests, so a haz-mat team responded to the scene. A spokesperson for the Anaheim, California police told Buzzfeed News that Disneyland officials called the fire department in order "to determine what the material was." To everyone's great relief, officials came to the conclusion that some mischievous geese flying overhead were responsible for the poop-storm. Still gross, but not nearly as gross as it would've been if the poop was of the human variety. A police spokesperson told Buzzfeed News that everything there was to know about the story had been posted to their Twitter. "Geese flew over and pooped on some people," the spokesperson said. NBC4 reports that the guests were taken to an area to clean up, and Disneyland provided them with fresh clothes. Mickey Mouse has yet to comment on the incident.
Back in November, Melania Trump announced that she and her son, Barron, would stay in their Manhattan penthouse until the 10-year-old finished the school year. Well, school's out! But Melania and Barron weren't the only ones from Trumpland traveling to Washington this weekend. The First Lady was apparently joined by her parents, too, and the Internet spent the rest of the day feasting on this photo of Melania's father, Viktor Knavs. They say he looks like Donald. You can be the judge of that.

Or you can let the Internet judge for you and keep your hands clean. Knavs, who's reportedly around the same age as the 70-year-old Donald, is a former registered member of the Communist party in Yugoslavia, according to Heavy. He was also a used car salesman, and apparently Melania's childhood friends say he "reminds [them] of Mr. Trump." That's according to the "New York Times." Melania could probably use the familial support, after her D.C. announcement sparked a bunch of "vicious" mocking, as per usual. "Looking forward to the memories we'll make in our new home! #Movingday," wrote the first lady with plenty of cheer, as if she didn't know the Internet was about to explode with mocking retorts. The "don't get too comfortable" answer was the standard, but there were also those who heckled Melania for not living in the White House to begin with. According to the Independent, "some days the cost rose to $146,000 to protect Melania and Barron" in New York City. (The Independent calculates the total cost was $17.6 million.) Now all we need is a photo of Donald Trump and Viktor Knavs comparing hand size while Melania watches, and we can finally retire the Internet forever.
Ramon Perez, a Rhode Island Democrat, showed up at a committee meeting last Wednesday to speak on an "automobile crash protection bill," according to the "Providence Journal." For some reason, he handed out a print out of a Wikipedia page for the "Puerto Rico Automobile Accident Compensation Administration." Check it out...

Now the state representative in Rhode Island has found himself in the awkward position of admitting that he came to work with a screenshot of porn tabs, while simultaneously stressing that they weren't his porn tabs, while also denying to say whose porn tabs they really were. Kids, never use Wikipedia as a source. Especially when the printout includes several open Internet tabs for, well, this is what we can read from the screenshot in the above tweet, cited by the Huffington Post: Teen... Teen... MILF Blon... Young Cut... Brunette J... Those are some tantalizing ellipses. On Friday, Perez apparently apologized on Facebook, although the page linked to by the "Providence Journal" is now unavailable. According to the paper, Perez said "It was a mistake, and I recognize that. My fault." He also denied printing the webpage himself, but refused to out the sloppy, browsing underling. "I won't mention anything, because it's my fault." Pro move, Rep. Perez. This guy's going places. And all his colleagues are going to wash their hands.
It's happened to the best of us: you have a little too much to drink at a party and decide now would be the perfect time to break out the unflattering impression of your boss. But if you're an extremely well-known and prominent member of the White House staff, you should probably know better than to openly air your professional dirty laundry to strangers at a party. And if you still truly can't resist trashing your bosses and colleagues in public, maybe don't do it openly in front of an eavesdropper who's enterprising enough to not only take copious notes and photos but to start a new Twitter account dedicated to documenting your comments. But alas, Kellyanne Conway has never been known for her rational decision making. The counselor to President Trump was caught discussing sensitive information and insulting prominent members of the Trump administration at a D.C. party this week. It didn't take long for her indiscretions to end up quoted on a Twitter account aptly called Kellyanne Leaks. Among the juicy tidbits was that Kellyanne apparently does a mean impression of White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus pleading to stop leaks to the press. And she dished out some details about what President Trump instructed her to say about the Comey tape. Kellyanne apparently also showed a glimpse of her true feelings about the state of the White House, putting her head in her hands in exasperation. You can read all the quotes from the party at Just goes to show you even if there's not a microwave in sight, people are still listening. Just goes to show you even if there's not a microwave in sight, people are still listening.
People who have clearly never read "Julius Caesar" are angry about The Public Theatre's new Trump-inspired production of the Shakespearean classic after discovering that the show depicts a gruesome assassination of the titular character. This is why you should have paid attention in 10th grade English, folks. This production opens today at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, and instead of featuring togas and laurel wreaths, depicts a Trump-esq Caesar with a particularly long neck tie and distinctively bad hair. Caesar's wife, Calpurnia, also strikes a resemblance to first lady Melania Trump, and according to CNN, speaks with a Slavic accent in this production. In the play, audiences watch as Caesar is betrayed and murdered by his right-hand man and other congressmen, uttering the famous line "Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar!" before succumbing to his injuries. However, the violence in Julius Caesar is not celebrated, although Caesar is a bit of a power-hungry prick. The play is much more about the repercussions of Caesar's murder, and how Rome suffers in the aftermath of the stabbing. If anything, it clearly shows that assassinating a leader, even one who really, really sucks, is a very bad idea. The play examines the power of free will, the fragility of democracy and the influence that one person can have over a large group of people. It does not condone violence against figure heads. Come on people, you had 418 years to read the play before you started complaining about it on Twitter. The President's eldest sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump feigned rage and slammed the play over Twitter, which ironically seems to directly negate their pro-free speech and anti-PC agenda. Sorry, boys, but Shakespeare in the Park is not a "safe space." Come on, people. This is Shakespeare! Either someone cross-dresses or someone gets stabbed... that's just how these things go. After getting pressure from Trump supporters, two of Shakespeare in the Park's 12 sponsors decided to pull funding from the production. Bank of America tweeted a statement to confirm that they are ending their 11-year partnership with the annual free theatre event. Delta also announced that they are withdrawing funding through a series of tweets. "No matter what your political stance may be, the graphic staging of 'Julius Caesar' at this summer's Free Shakespeare in the Park does not reflect Delta Air Lines' values. Their artistic and creative direction crossed the line on the standards of good taste. We have notified them of our decision to end our sponsorship as the official airline of The Public Theater effective immediately." Et tu, Delta? Of course, Twitter had some feelings about the whole debacle. It is also worth noting that a similar production of "Julius Caesar" was put on in 2012 by The Acting Company in New York, but this show centered around an Obama-inspired Caesar. It was hailed by right-wingers like blogger Noah Millman, who wrote a glowing review for "The American Conservative." Either way, all the controversy will probably bring in audiences to The Delacorte this summer, making those impossibly long lines to snag a seat even longer.
Alright, let's take a look out the window again, shall we?

I think we are now in West Palm Beach. So, most of you might know I normally just wear shorts and a t-shirt... well, if this was the 70s I might be wearing this...

Ah, men stepping out into terrible fashion choices. Ahhh, we just uilled into the West Palm Beach station... it's very nice. Let's take a look...

See? I told you. Okay, do you know what I love? Well, I'll tell you... geeks that protest, and I think this is my favorite one so far...

And if you strike the orange Hutt down, he will most certainly not come back stronger than ever.  So, I didn't know there was a quiet car in the train until I saw this sign...

I got my own sleeper room so I can make as much noise as I want. So, every time the train stops I hope these two are stopping it...

Did you know mooning a train was a thing? I didn't, but apparently it is... I hope I see something like this...

Or not... Did you see Comey's hearing a few days ago? If not, I have a screenshot for you...

So, I hope the next stop is this station...

That's the Shoreham train station on Long Island. I think that pic was taken a few days ago... so, now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Reasons Why Amtrak Is A Billion Dollars In Debt
5. Not nearly enough travelers opted to buy the "Conductor Lap Dance" Package.
4. It was months before anyone realized that the full-body pat-downs at Penn Station were not being performed by an authorized TSA member.
3. Apparently people aren't into a service combining the expense of air travel with the discomfort of bus travel.
2. That one smartass kid keeps putting pennies on the track.
And the number one reason Amtrak is a billion dollars in debt is...
1. "Quiet Cars" make it nearly impossible to fart inconspicuously.

Hahaha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so, when you thinking of trains you thinking of tooting, right? Well, when I think of tooting, I think of farts. And you know what they say...

A potty-mouthed Dunnville teacher, who slipped into foul territory before, is facing new charges. Dunnville Secondary School English teacher Jennifer Elizabeth Green-Johnson allegedly told a student, “Why don't you lick me where I fart.” Green-Johnson has been a frequent flier at the Ontario College of Teachers and the Grand Erie District School Board's disciplinary committees. Most recently, she was suspended for 30 days in January 2016 for professional misconduct. Among the most recent allegations: She slapped a student on head, called him an idiot and told him to “grow some balls.” She allegedly called one student a “bloody pedophile.” Reportedly told a female student she "looked like a frumpy old lady today." In the earlier disciplinary action, she slammed her students as stupid, idiots, gay, and called one a “bitch.” But she looks nice...

Okay, so, as you know I'm in Florida, and in Florida stuff happens here that will not happen anywhere  else in the Universe, So, once again, here is...

You know those friends who stream everything on Facebook Live, even the things that definitely should not be streamed? This drug dealer is one of those people. (Don't you just love a good dumb crime story?) A house in Jacksonville, Florida was raided by police recently while the guy that lived there was in the middle of a Facebook Live, showing off all the sweet cash he'd gotten from selling drugs. The video starts with the man thumbing through bills of money and telling the people watching to "catch up" with him. He proudly proclaims that the "shit don't stop, man." The man's gloating continues for about a minute until we hear another person's voice off-camera. That person is a police officer. "Open the front door. Give yourself up," he says. "This is the sheriff's office." The man runs out of the view of the camera before officers and dogs swarm into the house. After a few minutes, one of the officers finally realizes that the camera is recording. Don't you just HATE it when your livestream gets interrupted by police officers busting you for the illicit behavior you're bragging to all your Facebook friends about? If I had a nickel for every time that's happened to me... I'd have zero nickels. Hey, let's see where we are as we stopped...

Tbe signs says it all.

Bono is the lead vocalist of your new iPhone.

The 61st book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Phile Alum and author will be the guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

Today's guest is a Phile Alum and fantastic guitarist whose CD "Big Guitar" was just rereleased and is available on iTunes. And it has a train song! Please welcome back to the Phile... Martin Belmont.

Me: Hey, Martin, welcome back to the Phile. How're you?
Martin: Thanks Jason. I’m pretty good.

Me: So, I have to ask... do you like to travel by train?

Martin: Yes, I do.

Me: Ever been on an Amtrak train before?

Martin: Unfortunately no I have not.

Me: Last time you were where is when your book "The Songs of Three Chords Good and Mystery Glue" were pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. How is that book doing, Martin?

Martin: The book is selling slow and steady which is kind of what we expected. Graham is selling them at the duo gigs he’s doing with Brinsley at the moment on their east coast tour and later in the mid-west in the summer.

Me: Have you started writing another book yet?

Martin: No. But I have started compiling pieces for a songbook I’m going to put together and publish later this year. Right now my concentration is on my CD reissue.

Me: I am currently reading Chas Hodges' autobiography... I interviewed him a few times and will have him back here on the Phile again soon. Have you ever met Chas or did shows with Chas & Dave?

Martin: No, I have never met him or played at a gig with him.

Me: Chas worked with Joe Meeks and I mentioned to Chas that Graham Parker had a song once called "Just Like Joe Meek's Blues" and asked if Chas heard of that song... he didn't and said he didn't know who Graham was. I find that hard to believe... what do you think?

Martin: I have no opinion on that.

Me: So, is there a question I should ask Chas the next time I interview him?

Martin: I really have no opinion on that either. I don’t see what that has to do with me.

Me: Alrighty then. Martin, I don't know if I ever asked you this before, but when did you first come over to America? Do you remember what the first state was you arrived at? What did you think of America?

Martin: In 1976. The first GP and The Rumour tour was a two week trip around the east coast and we arrived in Washington D.C. and the first U.S. gig we played was The Cellar Door. America was a blast for us Brits who had grown up with American movies, TV and especially rock and roll... all those songs about Memphis, Kansas City, California and the rest.

Me: Alright, so, Graham is currently on tour with Brinsley Schwartz which is kinda cool. I am hoping I would get both of them back on the Phile again soon. Anyway, when was the last time you saw Graham?

Martin: About a month ago. We had an Indian meal together.

Me: Do you think you'll be working with him again in the future? I hope so.

Martin: We have already done some recording together last year and this year we recorded four new songs of his.

Me: The Rumour had a quite a cool comeback... I wish I would of seen the band live... ugh. Never mind. Did you have a good time in those years playing with the Rumour again?

Martin: Yes, indeed. We had a wonderful time both recording the two albums and playing on six tours.

Me: The Rumour was a band before Graham joined them... and not a band that Graham put together. Do you remember when you first met Graham?

Martin: Yes. It was at a demo studio in The Hope and Anchor pub which Dave Robinson ran and he bought us all together.

Me: Dave Robinson was the bands manager and he co-founded Stiffs Records... that was a great record label... is Dave still around, Martin?

Martin: Yes, he is. I’m still in touch and we are good friends.

Me: So, are you currently playing with anybody now?

Martin: Yes, of course. It’s what I do! I’m touring next month with a band called My Darling Clementine who I have been working with on and off for several years and we recorded a new album that is being released next month.

Me: Cool. Martin, before the Rumour got back together in 2011 Graham sat in with some Rumour members at a pub... I remember seeing videos from this "gig" on YouTube but now can't find it. Were you there during this? If so, where did it take place and how did this happen?

Martin: It was in NYC in 2010 at a place called The Lakeside Lounge. Myself, Steve Goulding and Bob Andrews were there to attend an early screening of The documentary "Don’t Ask Me Questions" and Steve organised the gig just for a bit of fun. We played a lot of covers and Graham also played. I have never seen it on YouTube but I have some video clips. Just a real enjoyable jam session really. Jeremy Chatsky who is a mate of Steve’s played bass.

Me: Well, I have a screen shot from that gig of you and Graham...

Me: Alright, in 1995 you came out with your first solo album "Big Guitar." There's a few covers but mostly originals... do you do a lot of songwriting? Is that something you enjoy?

Martin: No, I don’t write many songs at all because I’m hopeless with words but I have some good tunes which is why it is mostly instrumentals.

Me: Like I said, there's a few covers... I love the version of "Ring of Fire." How did you chose which covers to do?

Martin: "Ring of Fire" was already recorded with The Bhundu Boys from Zimbabwe so we just took the vocals off and I had played the melody on the Fender baritone guitar. I just chose covers that I wanted to play or in the case of the two songs one was a Johnny Cash number and the other a Howling Wolf number and they are two of my favourite artists.

Me: I thought you were Johnny Cash fan, Martin. The first track is called "The Man in Black" and the second track is "Beans for Breakfast." That's a pretty obscure Cash song. Do you have a favorite Johnny Cash tune?

Martin: There are so many. It would be impossible to single one out.

Me: I know you met Carl Perkins and played with him, but did you ever get to meet Johnny? I am guessing yes as you are pretty close to Nick Lowe and he was married to Carlene Carter. But that might not mean anything. Hahahaha.

Martin: Yes, I met him on several occasions and played on a couple of tracks with him one of which was on an album he released around 1980 called "Rockabilly Blues." It was a song of Nick’s called "Without Love."

Me: Speaking of Nick... Yep Roc is releasing a bunch of Nick Lowe's albums (with a lunch box!) and a lot of those albums you play on, Martin. Did you know the CDs are being rereleased?

Martin: Yes, I did know some of the Nick Lowe 80s albums were being reissued by Yep Roc.

Me: Out of those albums you played on, which one is your favorite?

Martin: Probably "The Rose of England." I like them all!

Me: Do you hear from Nick at all?

Martin: Yes, we talk every now and then. I saw him last Xmas. We have just lost Neil Brockbank who has been Nick's producer since the 90s and produced my "Big Guitar" CD and last year he produced My Darling Clementine's new album which I am out promoting with them right now. Big shock for Neil to have passed. I'll miss him.

Me: Awe, I'm sorry. So, how did you get to be a member of Nick Lowe's Cowboy Outfit?

Martin: After The Rumour ended in 1980/81 I became a member of Carlene Carter's band. We later became Nick's band and later were called The Cowboy Outfit. Of course Nick had produced Graham Parker and The Rumour and I'd played on his first solo album in the 70s.

Me: Anyway, being in so many different bands, were you hesitant on releasing your own solo album?

Martin: Not really. I just had these tunes and when I started recording them I liked the way they sounded which drove me on to write more!

Me: This was your first solo album, right?

Martin: Yes. There has only been two.

Me: You sing on it, which I like. Did you like being the front man so to speak?

Martin: I’m not a big fan of my voice and my vocal range is limited to say the least but I think that the songs I sung were within my capabilities and I did as good a job singing them as I could. They are great tracks as well. Everybody played live in the studio on those.

Me: On it you play acoustic guitar and electric... what do you prefer, Martin?

Martin: I don’t prefer either. It’s horses for courses. The tunes on which the lead instrument is the acoustic were written with that in mind and the same applies to the electric lead tunes.

Me: Hey, real quick, we just stopped in Sebring. Let's look out the window real quick...

Me: Wow. Not very exciting. Okay, Martin, back then how how long did the album take to record? 

Martin: Actual recording time was probably about 10 days but it was wasn’t all recorded at the same time. Across a couple of months I guess.

Me: You have a lot of great musicians on the album... a who's who of people on my Phile bucket list... Pete Thomas, Bobby Irwin, and Geraint Watkins... you even have Brinsley Schwarz who I have interviewed. Was it easy to get these guys on the album?

Martin: Yes. They are all friends.

Me: Is there anybody you wanted on the album but couldn't get?

Martin: No.

Me: By the way, Brinsley is on tour with Graham Parker currently... is that something you'd be interested in doing if Graham asked?

Martin: Yes, but I am not expecting that to happen.

Me: Do you like to be in the studio or playing live?

Martin: Both.

Me: So, how did the rerelease happen, Martin? Was it your idea?

Martin: Yes, it was my idea to rerelease it with the bonus tracks and I did it with John Howells who runs GP’s website and who published the book with me last year. Quake Records is his label. The album was never released in the U.S. when it came out the first time so it made sense to have an American based label this time.

Me: Do you have a favorite track on the album? Mine is "Beans for Breakfast" and "Howlin' with My Baby."

Martin: "The West Texas Fender Bender" and "Battersea Bears" but I like them all.

Me: I have to ask you about two songs on the album... the first is "An Atkins Diet." I love puns, and take it you don't mean the real Atkins diet plan but Chet Atkins... is he a big influence of yours?

Martin: Yes you are right about that. He is an indirect influence on me via Scotty Moore and George Harrison but the style of pickin on "Atkins Diet" just sounded a little Chet to me. He was one of the great country/jazz guitarists.

Me: I think you shared the stage with him, am I right? What was that like?

Martin: Nope. I never shared a stage with Chet Atkins. You are maybe thinking of Carl Perkins who I backed one time in London.

Me: Probably. I have to ask you about some other songs, as I always like to ask how instrumentals get their name... first is "Jurassic Jive." That sounds like a cool band name or album name. Where did that title come from?

Martin: The thing about instrumentals is you can call them anything you want. None of the tunes on the album had titles until after I’d recorded them and I would just think of something that suited the mood/feel of the track.

Me: "Bonton Roulez" sounds French... is it? Is it a place?

Martin: It’s Cajun French and loosely means "Let The Good Times Roll."

Me: Of course, being on a train I have to ask about "The Cumberland Valley Railroad"... where is that, Martin?

Martin: I believe it was something to do with the Cumberland River... Tennessee or that part of the country. I got that name from a book about the history of American railroads because I thought the tune sounded like a train journey.

Me: I know there's a Cumberland Valley in Pennsylvania, but I doubt that is it.

Martin: It might be... maybe. I honestly don’t remember.

Me: I have to ask you about the album title "Big Guitar." Where did that title come from? Did you come up with it?

Martin: Yes, I came up with it. Just sounded right for the album. You may have noticed that a lot of the instrumentals have a big deep twangy sound. That is the Fender Bass V1 which is a baritone guitar which sounds "big." So "Big Guitar."

Me: So, do you think you'll release your own solo album again?

Martin: Unlikely.

Me: Who are you currently playing with?

Martin: Hank Wangford and The Lost Cowboys. Phil Rambow and Cheyne Pride. My Darling Clementine. Some recording with Graham.

Me: Thanks so much for being back on the Phile. I love it when you are here. Go ahead and mention and plug anything else you want and I hope to have you back on the Phile again soon. Rock on.

Martin: Buy this CD from or Also download from Amazon or CDbaby. In Europe it is available from And if you haven’t already bought it, "The Songs of Three Chords Good and Mystery Glue by Graham Parker and The Rumour "... reunion momento edition, is still available from Amazon and usual outlets. Thanks. Jason.

Me: Thanks, Martin. Take care.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Martin Belmont and Leo from Amtrak. I had a really good time on the train and will post from here again soon. The Phile will be back next Sunday, on Father's Day, with actor and musician Jeff Daniels. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bit 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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