Sunday, October 22, 2017

Pheaturing Teddy Thompson And Kelly Jones

Hey there, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Sunday, how are you? It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so just let me know if three's anything I can do this month to further the cause of healthy breasts.
Well, for most people, Friday night is a time to knock back some drinks with the friends and decompress from the work week. Unfortunately for everyone online, Friday night is an entirely different event for president's oldest son. Friday night, on the night most people would be out dancing, Donald Trump Jr. posted the weirdest photo of his dad, and it makes matters creepier when you consider he kicked off the weekend sharing photoshopped photos of his dad. What is life?! Behold: whatever comic-themed portion of hell is being exposed here.

Unsurprisingly, once the traumatizing piece of daddy-themed fan fare was shared, it immediately sent shivers down the collective spines of Twitter, Instagram, and any human who beheld it. There's actually entirely TOO MUCH to unpack here. Why does Superman suddenly have a beard?! That's not cannon. Also, WHY is Trump Jr making his dad sswole?! Please, no. It's hard to decipher if it's more or less creepy if Trump Jr. summoned a friend or assistant to photoshop this visual blasphemy. Can you imagine asking someone to photoshop spandex pecs onto your father?! Please say no. If you haven't suffered from nightmares in awhile, having this image etched into your brain should do the trick. People on Twitter are also understandably livid at the misrepresentation of Superman. There are millions of constituents who don't want to see a buff bearded Trump photoshopped as one of their comic book heroes. Hopefully you have wine, ice cream, or loved ones nearby so you can effectively cope with the aftermath of this image. It bears repeating, the psychology behind photoshopping a low-key sexy picture of your dad is beyond disturbing. Sweet dreams, if you can ever get yourself to sleep again!
The formerly disgraced Bill O'Reilly finally settled a $32 million sexual harassment case just a month before Fox News rehired him for a four-year $100 million dollar contract, reports "The New York Times." The 68-year-old television host was fired back in April after former colleague Lis Wiehl alleged that O'Reilly had sent her gay porn and other sexually explicit material during his ongoing sexual harassment of her. According to the "New York Times" report, O'Reilly was involved in five sexual harassment before Wiehl's allegations lost him his job. Despite, or perhaps, because of his unsavory track record with women, Fox News welcomed him back weeks after the hefty harassment suit was financially settled. This business move looks extra hypocritical given how fervently Fox News has been following and covering Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault allegations. In a statement, 21st Century Fox claimed it was not privy to the amount of O'Reilly's January settlement with the Fox News analyst Lis Wiehl, and regarded it as a personal issue between the two of them. "It’s politically and financially motivated and we can prove it with shocking information, but I’m not going to sit here in a courtroom for a year and a half and let my kids get beaten up every single day of their lives by a tabloid press that would sit there, and you know it," O'Reilly told the "New York Times."
On Thursday members of the right-wing student group Turning Point U.S.A. dressed in diapers to protest safe spaces at Kent University. Fully committed to their cause, the crew of conservatives even set up play pens, and came armed with pacifiers, rubber duckies, bubbles, and posters expressing their discontent for "safe spaces." While it's unclear exactly how they wanted the public to respond to these antics, the public certainly had a lot of questions about the use of diapers and baby attire. More specifically, people wondered, could this be a chance for right-wing students to express their deeply repressed fetishes?! The group itself was founded in 2012 by then 18-year-old Charlie Kirk and has sadly grown the past few years. They are perhaps the most known for their Professor Watchlist that lists college professors who "advance leftist propaganda." While they claim no official connection to the alt-right and the connected white supremacists, Kirk is a contributor to Breitbart. So, they probably keep the diapers on hand to contain all their inconsistent bullshit. Meanwhile, despite ideological differences, other people expressed support for the students inadvertently expressing their love of diaper play. The meta levels of satire in this thread prove that TPUSA's critique of liberal spaces backfired. Unless the students are truly ready to out their fetish, in which case, good on them?! I'm so conflicted. Hopefully, all of the energy and stimulation of the outside world exhausted TPUSA enough so they can go down for a long, long, nap.
In today's episode of racist bullshit that could and should have been avoided: a page from a nursing textbook published by Pearson is making the rounds on Twitter. And sadly not because everyone suddenly wants to get in to nursing. The heading reads "Diversity and Culture" (already off to an awkward start) and it lays out, in detail, how various religious, racial and ethnic groups respond to pain. It's... painful.

If you're curious, the book is called "Nursing: A Concept-Based Approach to Learning, Volume I" and it's on Amazon if you'd like to leave a review. It includes extremely dubious "facts" about different groups of people, including that black people lie about their pain intensity, Hispanic people are either "stoic" or "expressive" (umm, like all people?) and Jewish people are "vocal and demanding of assistance." It's dangerous in a medical setting to treat people based on assumptions and stereotypes. As this point you might be thinking, "okay, slow your roll, Peverett, this book was probably created in the 1950s when people didn't have the education and awareness they have today." NOPE. IT WAS CREATED IN 2015. TWO YEARS AGO. The page was first brought to public attention by wellness advocate Onyx Moore, who shared it on Facebook on Monday, explaining that it's the perfect example of "how not to be even remotely culturally sensitive." The clip from the handbook was shared by Massachusetts resident Kelly Hills on Twitter, where it went viral. "HOLY SHIT!" she wrote, and tagged the publishing company. "Pearson actually published this racist bullshit in a nursing textbook." She followed up with this thread to clarify why the book is not only wrong but potentially dangerous. Kelly's tweet has been shared over 2,000 times in a day. And other people are calling out the handbook on Twitter, drawing more viral attention. Apparently this got Pearson's attention, and they responded with this tepid apology...

Pearson's beleaguered social media person (or perhaps Mr. or Mrs. Pearson him or herself), is apparently trying to fix the problem. Uhhh, okay. Good luck with that!
Children have a sweetness and innocence that can be terrifying when it's masking a well of pure evil. Kids in horror movies haunted our waking nightmares for years. But off-screen, the actors who played them have grown up to be seemingly normal adults who are not a threat to our well-being... as far as I can tell. That being said, if I ever run into them in the real world, I'm proceeding with caution.  Anyway, for the next few entries I will be showing you some terrifying children from horror movies who are now normal adults. I'll start off with the Grady twins from The Shining.

Lisa and Louise Burns, 46, played the horror genre's most iconic scary children in 1980's The Shining. The Grady twins return from the dead to torment little protagonist Danny Torrence with their spooky refrain of "come play with us, Danny, forever, and ever." It's hard to go to a motel without imagining these two popping up in a hallway. But luckily, the Burns sisters are very much alive today and not haunting motel rooms, as far as I can tell. They both live in London, and though they have been mostly out of the public eye since The Shining, they share a Twitter feed and Facebook page, where they post pics like this...

Creepiness rating: I'd play with them forever, and ever. So, speaking of scary shit... look at this.

That's gonna give me nightmares tonight. Hey, it's Sunday, instead of doing this blog thing I should be listening to this record...

Maybe I'll just wait til Halloween. Nahhh... So, do you like your neighbors? I like mine, I don't even know them really though. Some people don't really have luck with their neighbors...

Hahaha. One thing you might know not about me is that I like to follow the rules... some people just take to a little too far like this woman...

Hey, do you remember Hillary Duff from Lizzie McGuire? Here she is today...

Do you feel old yet? Hahahahaha. I'm so stupid. So, if I had a TARDIS I think I'd like to go to 1970, but with my lick I'll hit 1870 instead and end up materializing next to this mound of bison skulls ready to be used for fertilizer...

The Walking Dead comes back on tonight and the new poster for it looks very familiar...

Earlier I mentioned the TPUSA right wing student group wearing diapers to protest safe spaces... well, their new poster explains it all...

Ha! Alright, one of my favorite things is pics of a side boob with tattoo so I am showing you oils of just that this month...

You're welcome. Alright, it's one week and two days til Halloween and you might be trying to figure out what to wear... well, I can help. How about dressing up as a sexy Donald Trump?

Nothing says "I know who the president is" like dressing up as Donald Trump! There's some costumes I am sick of seeing already I have to say. Like Jon Snow and Daenerys who will probably be the go-to couple costume of 2017... but remember: incest. Ew. Yeah, not so cute now, is it? Okay, it is still kinda cute. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Reasons Why Trump Gave His Puerto Rico Response A "10"
5. It was indisputably 2017's best Presidential response to a Puerto Rico hurricane.
4. He perfectly hid his surprise upon learning that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens.
3. He thinks it's good when minorities suffer.
2. He offered to build a beautiful golf course where some hospital, nursing home or grade school used to be.
And the number one reason why Trump gave his Puerto Rico response a "10" is...
1. Despite all that paper towel tossing, he wasn't sore at all the next day.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Haha. Okay, so, my son and I were talking about how we used to watch "Sesame Street" together and how that show has changed since he was a kid. So, once again, here's the pheature called...

A victim of his own frugality, the Count screams in pain as his Chinese made replacement hip snaps when he attempts to life his bag of Jew Gold.

Are you a lazy person? I bet you're not as lazy as this girl...

I wonder of she's reading the Phile. I doubt it. Okay, so, you know I live in Florida, right? Well, there's stuff that happens here in Florida that happens no where else in the universe. Well, maybe this story will...

Nazi Richard Spencer took his attention-seeking advocacy for a white ethno-state down to Gainesville on Thursday, where he addressed a near-empty crowd at the University of Florida. It wasn't a UF event. Rather, Nazi Richard Spencer simply invited himself and rented the space, and the governor of Florida declared a state of emergency as the university spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in security to prevent another Charlottesville. Also in preparation for the event, Nazis were asked to hide their swastikas. Protestors stood outside the venue, letting Nazi Richard Spencer know that Nazism is not welcome in the 21st century. There was literally a war some 70 years ago, and the bad guys lost.

Yesterday morning Trump revealed plans to release the JFK assassination files to the public. The government files have been concealed since 1992, following a Congress ruling stating that assassination documents could be released within 25 years, barring obstruction by the president. This means The National Archives has until October 26th to disclose the papers, unless Trump steps in. And it would appear, according to his tweet, that he'll allow at least some of the documents to see the light of day. "Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened," Trump tweeted. The assassination documents include a combination of FBI and CIA files detailing the investigation into JFK's death and Lee Harvey Oswald's possible motives. Of course, by merit of their content, the de-classification of the papers would also address the myriad of conspiracy theories surrounding the 35th president's assassination. One of which the current president championed during the 2016 election, when Trump accused Ted Cruz's father Rafael Cruz of colluding with Oswald. During the time of the rumors, Cruz declined to deny or admit to Trump's accusations. As of now, there is no proof connecting Cruz with the assassination. Still, others have theories about Trump's motives for releasing the papers. Is he doing this as a publicity stunt to distract from some shady legislation? Yes, of course, always. Is it hypocritical for him to potentially release these FBI and CIA documents while still hoarding his own tax returns?! Yes. Well, as it stands, it looks like we'll find out more details on JFK's death by October 26th, although Trump's statement could still technically be rescinded. The release of these papers could truly provide a holiday of sorts for conspiracy theorists of all stripes.

The 68th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Robbie Robertson will be the guest on the Phile next Thursday.

Alright, today's guests are two singer-songwriters who have teamed up for the first time with the fantastic album "Little Windows." Please welcome to the Phile... Teddy Thompson and Kelly Jones.

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

Kelly: Yay! I'm good.

Teddy: Thank you.

Me: Teddy, we have a lot in common... you were from London, I was from London, you live in New York now, I lived in New York, your dad was a famous musician, my dad was a famous musician and your mom is named Linda. My mom was named Linda. And we kinda look the same. Hahaha. Crazy, right?

Teddy: That is crazy. Who was your dad?

Me: Lonesome Dave from Foghat. For those that don't know, your dad is the great Richard Thompson. Kelly and Teddy, you have a lot of great music individually out, but it's cool you got together and recorded the album "Little Windows." So, who did the main songwriting for this album?

Teddy: I take credit just for the first song on the album because there's lots where I definitely didn't come up with the beginning but I had the melody and the chorus and then I remember saying to our third co-writer Bill DeMain, "You know, I want it to be like 'I want you to love me too'." and he said, "How about 'never knew you loved me too'?" I said it but never thought it sounded good and he said that's great. So, I obviously helped to write the actual song.

Me: I love the sound of the late 50s and 60s you have on the album. How did you both come to working together and coming up wit that style for this record?

Kelly: I was familiar with Teddy's music and Teddy became familiar with mine and I think we quickly began to understand we both had some similar points of reference. I had seen Teddy do this Poundcake gig of his which was all celebrating country and pop songs from the 50s and I knew in my mind I was thinking it could be something like that but with a girl and a boy. I thought it would be fun and we would do it together.

Teddy: As opposed to man on man stuff I was doing. LOL.

Kelly: Hahahaha. There's a story in there.

Me: Where did the album title come from? You're not talking about Microsoft, right? Haha.

Kelly: It came from the line "life is full of little windows" from "Never Knew You Loved Me Too." 

Me: So, which one of you wrote that line?

Kelly: Bill came up with it. Bill was such a pitch hitter for this project because in my opinion I think when you're co-writing with someone, especially if you are co-writing with three people, it could be very challenging to agree on a lyric. It's quicker to agree on a great melody but a lyric that really resonates with three people that's more challenging. So, I think that's one area of songwriting where he shines... just writing a classic lyric. So, yay to B.D.

Me: How was it with having a third person who is not part of the act so to speak? I have two sisters and it's not always easy having us all agree on something so I can't imagine how it is writing with three people.

Teddy: Well, I had three of something before so I knew how to do it. It's very important to make all three feel important and wanted, otherwise one of them is going to go "you're spending all the time with her." and she'll storm out wanting her money back and I'm not going through that again. Haha. Ahem. So, yes, but actually it can be challenging. Actually in this group, with the three of us our personalities worked very well and Bill DeMain was a very good figure between us. Not like he wasn't doing tins of the work because Kelly and I are the singers, it was nice to have an almost impartial third party who is not going to be performing the songs... he just really wanted them to be good songs.

Kelly: He could hear more objectively maybe.

Me: Did you three spend a lot of time together? I have to admit, you and Bill were very lucky if you know what I mean.

Kelly: Awe. We didn't have too much time together because Teddy lives in New York, I live in Los Angeles and Bill lives in Nashville. We hit all the major music cities in the U.S. We had to be very deliberate with the time that we had together so it was very structured. We like to say we were in the vein of the tin pan alley era or Brill Building era maybe. I remember he goal of lets try to write two songs a day. So, we came with ammunition and did our best and we were pretty successful I think. 

Teddy: Yeah, we didn't have much time in actual days together. It was just nine or ten days total that we wrote all the songs.

Me: Is that Brill Building approach something you did before, Teddy?

Teddy: Yeah, but the difference back then is I went to the office on my own to write and that was just to get things done because when you are home you have the TV and the couch, and all that stuff. I did try that and it worked for me to try and finish up ideas. It works even better when there's other people around because you can't slack off because there's other people around. You can't keep taking breaks and stopping 'cause other people want to move things along.

Me: Are you both really good at finishing songs or do you leave songs not finished?

Teddy: I'm terrible about finishing songs. I don't know about you, Kelly. I don't finish anything unless I absolutely have to. Instead of writing 50 songs I've only written 10 and I definitely have 40 that I didn't finish because I can't be asked.

Kelly: Haha. That's hard. That's where the work comes in, right, because it's easy to get inspired to get an idea and maybe write a chorus or a first verse but the professional part of things comes into play when you actually have to finish it. That's the work.

Me: I'm a huge fan of Mike Viola, who was supposed to be on the Phile soooo many times. One day. I was excited to see he produced your record. Did he help write or come up with ideas or was he just involved in the recording process?

Kelly: He didn't write any of the songs with us though that would've been fun. We just never worked it out. We had some pre-production time with him, discussing introductions, what might be the best in regards to the keys for our voices. I have to say since I worked with Mike in the past Mike was much more micro-managing in the arrangement on previous projects I worked with him so it was interesting to see his evolution. In the studio he was a great leader but wouldn't you agree, Teddy, it was a great collaborative thing where the musicians had great ideas and deciding on the fly what was working.

Teddy: Yeah, first of all I think the songs were quote tight before be brought them to Mike. We were quite good at performance structure and editing things down like cutting the intro if it was too long. By the time we got the songs to Mike they were quite a tight bunch. He made a few suggestions... I just remember more editing... taking out a few bars, making it even tighter in a real pop way which was great. In the studio he was really good at taking people's ideas, picking the best ones and moving along and saying "try that now let's try this." He was a good leader, which is a real skill.

Me: Teddy, your mom, Linda Thompson worked on the album as well, am I right?

Teddy: Yeah, she likes to be involved in everything I do... even though I'm a grown man. Which I guess never ends, but that's great though. It's a nice problem to have, right?

Me: I guess. Do you play stuff to her when you are working on an album?

Teddy: Yeah, sometimes. She tends to help. She's not really the best person to play things to of mine because she's not an objective listener for the most part. It's better to play things when their finished. She loves this record and she did come visit us in the studio while we were recording and that was fun. I wouldn't really send her rough mixes because she'd just say, "I can't hear the vocal." or "it's amazing." She's 68, people hear things differently when they get to that age. It's a good view pint but it's not always the most useful because she hears everything very differently. She's old. Hahaha! Don't tell her I said that.

Me: Hahaha. I should interview her and your dad as well. Was this record recorded in a live setting? It sounds like it was.

Teddy: Yeah. It's the greatest. I could go on and on about it but there's lot of advantages... it sounds really good. We recorded live to tape so there was no pro-tools going on, it was just the tape machine running around and everyone playing at the same time in the same room. It just makes everybody play better... even the very best musicians because of digital recording and the way it's been going for 20 years, the best musicians seem to be in recording mode a lot of time when you're in the studio as opposed to live mode because they know in the back of their mind they could fix it if they made a mistake. But of that's not an option people play differently... they play like their lives depend on it. It's great. Also there's lot of other advantages, I'm a big fan of it. I think it's the way forward... abandon digital.

Kelly: You have to be willing to let go of the perfectionism to the benefit of the music. I sometimes struggle with, "oh, that wasn't quite right, that note was a little sharp, it was a little flat." But as time has revealed it is those little imperfections that make the while thing sound human.

Me: The album is very short, which is shame. Is that something that was planned, like the records from the 50s, or did it just happen?

Kelly: I don't know, it just happened. The songs just begged to be short. We just like the ten that we chose, right, Teddy?

Teddy: Yeah, we weren't trying. The only moment where we put all the songs together and were mastering maybe and you get that back and see the running time was a little bit of a shock. Twenty-five minutes and sixty-eight seconds? Shit, that's really short. But it was the right things for the songs.

Me: I love the song "Wondering." What are you wondering?

Kelly: In 2009 I left New York City, I was living there for seven years, to Nashville and I had a good fortune of Bill DeMain finding me on the radio. He sent me an email saying "I really like the record you did 'SheBang!,' would you like to ever want to get together and co-write?" I thought what?! No, who is this guy? I'm scared. So I said, "I'll meet you for a coffee instead." We met for a coffee and I quickly learned he was a total gentleman and a great guy. And then we set up a co-writing session and I think in thew second songwriting date we had, we would start writing and we thought what is the song that might inspire us today? What's the groove that might get us going? We were just writing songs, it wasn't for a particular project, it wasn't for anything. I was really into this record by Dolly Parton called "Bubbling Over" and freaking out over that title track. So we thought let's try to write something to that sort of grove... write our own little "Bubbling Over" and Bill had the start of that lyric and I liked it. Anyway, we wrote that song and it lived dormant in my computer and his computer for years. Then this project came along when Teddy and I started dabbling, singing together I thought, hmmm, maybe it could be a guy and a girl singing. We tried it, and it worked. That's one of my favorite songs, too.

Me: When did you both discover vocally you are both so compatible?

Teddy: I don't know. I mean when we were writing the songs we weren't really singing full force. We just sort of were writing. We didn't really know until we went into the studio because we hand't really sung much together. So we just kind of assumed it would work. If two people can sing, they're professionals, and they're talented in the very least it will be okay. I never really thought about it, I just assumed it was going to work. It was a bit of trial and error in the studio... how close were we standing, were we looking at each other, whose singing louder, whose singing quieter. There was some technical things to consider but we got there pretty quickly.

Me: There's a song on the album that wasn't written by any of you two... where did that song come from?

Kelly: I think I heard that song, "You Can't Call Me Baby," first. In actuality Teddy and I tried to record "Wondering" and "You Can't Call Me Baby" before we ever had those "Little Window" sessions. Those are the two songs where we thought let's just try and record a couple of songs. Bill had shared that demo with me, he had made a demo with Georgia Middleman. He might've had his Swan Dive singing partner Molly Felder singing it. I can't remember now. I just loved "You Can't Call Me Baby," it's so lovable. It reminded me a lot of Buck Owens so "Wondering" being very country and "You Can't Call Me Baby" having this almost county thing I thought these two songs might be a nice way to start. They were our gateway songs. I'm a big fan of that song. Teddy hates to acknowledge that he didn't write it though.

Teddy: I probably did write it in someway.

Me: Kelly, you mentioned "Shebang!" which you made with Mike. I love that album! I love the song "There Goes My Baby." What was it like writing with Mike?

Kelly: Awe, thank you. Writing with Mike was exceptional. He as you know is a really brilliant musician. We wrote that song further into the process for "Shebang!" I already had "Same Songs" and "Over Thinking," then we wrote "Subway Song" and a couple of others. He had already relocated to L.A., I was living in New York... I remember I was in L.A. on a trip and we were sitting on his back patio of his home. He has a real gift of accessing a stream of thought, consciousness, ideas, of other people. I think sometimes I experienced that alone but I find that very difficult when other people are in the room because you have to be very vulnerable I think, to something bigger than yourself or to go into yourself maybe. We were tossing around lyrics there but it was not the Brill Building style we did with Bill and Teddy... it was much more here's an idea and finding time when we could. There was no one better to make the album with than Mike because he just has this pop kind of framework. He knows if it's going too far way out of the box, so we kept it very tight. He's a genius really.

Me: It's so different from your other album "Alta Loma," isn't it?

Kelly: Oh, yeah. I did that part by necessity because I didn't have a lot of money to spend making a record and part because I had people over the years at my shows say, "I wish you had a record which is just your voice and your guitar." So I just decided this is the time to do it. I have a little recording set up at my house and recorded some strings and some pedal steel elsewhere at a studio in L.A. I deliberately wanted to do something by myself and have it feel a little more intimate.

Me: Teddy, I have to ask you about your earlier work. Is your writing style the same now as it was when you started out making your solo records?

Teddy: Ummm, it was just easier at the beginning. When you're young, just before you make a record, you write songs that just seem to happen all the time. At least that was my experience. And then after a couple of records it becomes I'm just writing for a record... I better write and better make sure I have enough songs and are they good enough. It changes your relationship to writing a bit. Now I don't really write that much at all unless somebody holds a tape recorder to my head. I think it a little bit like the bigger picture of growing up and how important it is to not forget how to play as you become an adult but we all do lose that a little bit and you have to remind yourself, especially if you're in a creative profession to play and to have fun. Not be too grown up and be a kid.

Me: Did you take anything about songwriting from your parents at all?

Teddy: I don't know. It's hard to say. Not directly but later on. I didn't listen to their music when I was first getting into music but later on I certainly did and it's ingrained. I think it's more subconscious than anything else. I think it's definite Thompson gene, folly gene, that I have in there somewhere there within me. But I don't remember ever listening to anything of there's and thinking yeah, that's good. I'm gonna try and write like that. It's a little osmosis.

Me: You have a country connection, and you're English... does anybody ever comment on that? 

Teddy: Yeah, I've been told many times isn't it strange that you're English and you like country music and you sound a bit country but the sensibility made a lot of sense to me. The country music I listened to early on was that style of clever songwriting where they'll be a witty phrase, maybe something that was funny and sad at the same time, or clever titles. Things that make you cry and smile simultaneously, and could be a bit sarcastic too. The English sense of humour to me is very compatible to that. I was listening to country music and it spoke to me. I have the same sense of hour, the same sensibility. Fuck you, I love you, whatever it is. It makes perfect sense to me.

Me: Back to "Little Windows," there's some songs on that CD that are more country than others... like "Better at Lying." Am I right?

Kelly: Yeah, I love that song. Sometimes between our sessions Bill and I... because Bill and I are good buddy's, now we are all good buddy's because we've all gone through this process. At the time we were still putting it together Bill and I would chat on the phone about our lives and be like, hmmm, what songs are we missing, or whatever. Could it be a certain theme or a certain groove. The waltz came up and remember he sent over few little lyrics snippets. That was one that I started... we finished it all together but that was one that I thought this could be like a sweet waltz. You know what's funny? We almost didn't include it. I almost thought it's too much like you took my future. It's an emotional space even though the music is different... it has a different meter, but... now I'm so glad it ended up on the record because I do like it. It has its own identity and it is sad. And I love a sad song.

Me: The band is great on the record, right?

Teddy: The band was fantastic. I mean credit there goes to Mike being the producer, he basically put the band together. Amazing. It was a real pleasure to do that, being in the trenches together, recording it live. You feel really in out, nobody was fixing things, or I'll do that again later and figure it out. It had to be RIGHT now, we are going to mix it tonight. It was great, it was really exciting.

Me: I love the song "Make a Wish On Me." That song seems to have a Bo Diddley like riff going on. Do you have any memories of writing that one?

Teddy: I feel like every record I've ever made I've had the same experience where at some point I go we need a different beat. Do we have a waltz? Better do a waltz. The other one to do, especially with this genre of music is to do a Bo Diddley beat. So, we intentionally try to write a song with a Bo Diddley beat. So, we started with a beat.

Kelly: Remember we had an outtake, Teddy, with a song called "Better from a Distance"? We had one song thinking we were going to do the Bo Diddley beat then we would write. Then we would be away from each other and listen and we'd reconvene... we're like no, it's not good enough. Remember that?

Teddy: No. I remember the song, but I don't remember that. I like to edit my history into something slick. There were no mistakes like that, we were brilliant.

Kelly: There were no bad songs ever.

Teddy: There were no bad songs, it all was perfect.

Kelly: I know. We did do it with "Make a Wish..." That was our second attempt at the Bo Diddley beat.

Me: The theme of relationships on that album... was that planned or did it full into place when you wrote the album?

Teddy: We weren't trying to hard, it just seemed obvious. That's what good songs are about and we are a girl and a boy singing them. It don't think we ever stopped and thought, hey, we should have a song about coal mining or the political landscape.

Me: So, what's happening for you two next? Teddy, you have a new solo album coming out?

Teddy: Yeah, I haven't actually started on it yet but I almost have. I almost started it a few times but now I think I'm really about to start it.

Me: Kelly, what about you?

Kelly: Same here. I don't know when, I don't know how but I'll do it. I'm also working on a masters degree... I'm doing a juggle. I'm doing the musicians juggle right now so I'm hoping to get a lot of things done by next summer.

Me: Do you think you can both handle working together again on another record?

Teddy: Yeah, I'm just hoping to live through the rest of the year. Yeah, we'll do it again. Like anything there's a certain level of success where in order to do this again we have to sell enough records. Even in this day and age we have to make the money back that we spent. So we'll see how it pans out.

Kelly: I have ideas. Hahaha.

Me: Well, I look forward to that. I have a copy of the album so you got my money. Hahaha.

Kelly: Thank you.

Me: Congrats on the album, kids. Go ahead and mention your websites. Thanks for both being on the Phile, and Teddy, tell your parents I want to interview them, and I hope to have you both back soon.

Kelly: Nice to meet you, Jason.

Teddy: Okay, bye, take care.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Teddy Thompson and Kelly Jones. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Jason Isbell. What a great name... Jason. Haha. 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

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Pheaturing Beto Hale

Hey there, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Thursday. How are you? It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month... I hope your Halloween costume will make me more aware of your breasts than a pink ribbon did. Ha. Sorry, that was a dick thing to say. I apologize.
His palms sweaty, knees week, arms heavy, Eminem pumped up the crowd at last night's Detroit Pistons opener, which was also the team's first game at their new arena. Fans were psyched to see their hometown hero Slim Shady, fresh off of a viral anti-Trump rap that was more fire than any old boring, written op-ed. Also present at the game was Trump fan and potential senate candidate Kid Rock, who got a less loving reception than Eminem. Detroit is not a Trumpy town. Wayne County, where the city lies, voted overwhelmingly for Hillary. Kid Rock will have to work hard to win them over in his senate campaign, especially if Eminem jumps in, because this is the world we're living in now.
We've all had a few terrible, no good, very bad days. It's pretty much impossible to stay alive and avoid the days where you spill hot coffee all over your freshly washed pants, or accidentally send a sext to a family member because you opened wrong typing window. However, despite the barrage of universally horrible days, most of us can take solace in the fact that we've never set our house on fire while killing a spider. According to a report from the local news station KVOA, a man in Tucson, Arizona set his mobile home on fire when he used a blowtorch to scorch a fleet of spiders and spiderwebs. At the time of the fire, an elderly woman was carried out of the home to safety. Luckily, no one sustained injuries. While The Tucson Fire Department didn't officially pin the blame of the fire on the man's deep hatred of spiders, they did claim it was "under investigation" and that his use of a blowtorch on a series of webs was likely the cause of the flames. Most of our terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days couldn't hold a candle (or blowtorch) to this man's story. Honestly, the only thing worse than setting his house on fire, is having people roast you for setting it on fire while trying to kill a spider. While most of us can't say we've flamed our home in this specific way, who among us hasn't dreamed of taking a torch to a spider that startled us?! All I can say is, damn, I hope this man has 800 better days than this in his near future.
During last night's tax debate, Ted Cruz, who likes to think he's funny, made a cringingly awkward "Curb Your Enthusiasm" joke to Bernie Sanders (who, as it turns out, is a distant cousin of Larry David). It seems pretty obvious that Cruz had prepared this joke before the debate and was eager to shoe-horn it into the conversation at the first chance he got, as evidenced by the shit-eating grin on his face as he said it. This wasn't a joke that struck him at the moment, this was a prepared bit, because Cruz, despite his best attempts, is nowhere near funny enough to come up with even something as predictable as a tired Larry David/Bernie Sanders comparison joke. It got a laugh from the audience and even a polite one from Sanders. Cruz, of course, always laughs at his own jokes (ugh). Cruz continued, remarking on how great an impression Larry David does of Bernie Sanders on "SNL," prompting Sanders to comment that one day maybe someone will want to do an impression of Ted Cruz. They might have to, but I guarantee no one will ever want to.
In the last 24 plus hours, Donald Trump said 1. That every president disrespected gold star families, especially Obama. 2. Used his Chief of Staff's deceased son as a political prop. 3. Made a fallen soldier's widow cry by telling her that her husband "knew what he was signing up for... but when it happens, it hurts anyway." Ever the tactful, comforting gentleman, the president proceeded to say that he had proof he didn't say that horrible thing... but the mother of the late Sgt. La David Johnson told the "Washington Post" that yes, he did say that terrible thing, and it hurt more than Sgt. Johnson's widow. Mrs. Cowanda Jones-Johnson that she was riding in the limousine when the president called, and heard the conversation over speakerphone. The "Post" reports, "Johnson's mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, told "The Washington Post" on Wednesday that she was in the car during the call from the White House and that "President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband." Jones-Johnson, speaking to "The Post" via Facebook Messenger, declined to elaborate. But asked whether Wilson's account of the conversation between Trump and the family was accurate, she replied, "Yes." The White House did not yet confirm or deny the report. My thoughts go out to the late Sgt. Johnson's family. You can donate to the official GoFundMe to provide scholarships to his children here...
Brace yourself, because the following content might cause your eyes to bleed. At least, it will cause you to squint and question your abilities of perception for a hot minute. On Sunday, the McDonalds U.K. Facebook page posted an optical illusion and the Internet is still reeling. Here it is...

Can you see the meaning?! CAN YOU READ BETWEEN THE LINES?! What is reality?! Is the earth real?! Are you craving the delicious horror of chicken McNuggets yet?! They captioned the image: "Tag a friend who can read between the lines." Understandably, Facebook users and McDonalds lovers across the globe are currently rubbing their eyes in pain. McDonalds has no regrets about the ordeal. Meanwhile, the rest of us are straight up dizzy from the wear and tear of the optical illusion. These can't be good for our long term eye health. Have you been able to decode the hidden message, or are you left weeping in the dark, wondering where all your loved ones have disappeared to?! I can't stop staring at this beautiful piece of torture. PS: It says "Bring McNuggets"... try looking at it sideways.
So, one thing about me is I like to follow the rules... but some people take it just a little bit too far...

That's disgusting. If I had a TARDIS I would like to go back in time and see a president, but knowing my luck I'll probably end up seeing this...

Bill Clinton at 3-years-old. Have you seen the poster for the new Star Wars movie? I didn't know it was a Pixar film...

Speaking of movies, there's a new version of It out.

Haha. So, ever call in sick from work and get busted for lying? This guy did...

Rookie mistake, Kevin. Stay off social media if you're going to fake being sick. Trust me. So, parents, did you ever get a note from your kids' teacher like this?

Haha. So, all this month I am showing you pics of one of my favorite things... side boobs with tattoos. Enjoy, kids...

Halloween is in 12 days and you might still be looking for something to wear. Let me help you... how about a sexy bot?

Be one of the bots that spewed propaganda during the 2016 election and continues to sow division in the country over social media! For extra points, combine it with the Russian costume I showed you on Monday. Man, Halloween is about two weeks away and there's already some costumes I am tired of seeing... like a fidget spinner... Seriously, there already is one.

Haha. Hey, it's Thursday. You know what that means...

John Robert Lind had a real hard-on for his co-worker, Pat Maas. One day, when she was returning to her cubicle, she caught him standing in front of her desk with his hands in front of his genitals. When Lind turned around, Maas said he had the look of a “deer in headlights” and quickly ran away. She then noticed a strange odor coming from fluid on her desk, and looked at her nearby coffee mug, and it all, ahem, came together. Maas had been complaining of funny-tasting coffee, and it turns out that Lind had been jerking off into her mug for six months. Because there was no sexual contact, Lind could not be prosecuted for a felony, so police charged him with indecent exposure and lewd behavior, a misdemeanor to which he pleaded guilty. Sick bastard. He was the cream in her coffee. Haha.

Ha. This is stupid. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. I would be surprised if you don't spot it. Okay, my son and I were talking about how we used to watch "Sesame Street" together when he was little. That show sure has changed over the years...

Bert and Ernie throw up gang signs and shout racial slurs. hoping to trick a group of black teenagers into throwing their life away fighting two crazy motherfuckers.

Okay, it's Thursday and the reason I post this blog on Thursday's is so my good friend Jeff and I can talk football. Yay!

Me: Hey, Jeff, welcome back to the Phile. How are you doing?

Jeff: Always great to be back on the Phile. I'm doing all right. How about yourself?

Me: I'm not too bad. So, did you see the Jaguars WR Marqise Lee was caught on camera yelling a homophobic slur at a referee? He's gonna get fined if he hasn't already I bet.

Jeff: Yeah, I saw what Lee did. I hope he gets fined big time for that. There's no excuse for a grown man to say that because of a game. But hey what do I know?

Me: I thought this was funny... every NFL player to grace the cover of "Sports Illustrated" in 2017 is now injured... with only fucking Brady left. I hope he gets hurt soon. Hahaha.

Jeff: I'm not one to encourage anyone to get hurt. Regardless of how I feel about the player, or the team. It's been a tough year as far as stars getting injured, and we're only in week 7. We have a lot more to go.

Me: This is sickening as well... With his win on Sunday, Tom Brady now has the most regular season wins in NFL history. Ugh! I think Peyton Manning had the prior record. I'm thinking this is is his last year playing, do you?

Jeff: Sadly no, Brady has plans to play well beyond this year and judging by the numbers he's putting up he's far from being done. Think of how many more wins Brady could have had if he didn't miss an entire year due to injury as well missing games last year due to his suspension. Yes, Peyton did have the record prior to this week. Brady can thank the refs in that game for the record.

Me: So, Brock Osweiler has an interesting resume... Super Bowl ring, $72 Million contract, traded to Browns, then cut, star of Twilight, back as starter for the Broncos. What's next for him, Jeff?

Jeff: Considering the number of teams Osweiler has been on in just the past 3 years, I'm surprised he had time to make Twilight. But then again, it looks like those movies were made within a weekend. 

Me: Haha. So, any other NFL news this week, Jeff?

Jeff: Like we talked about earlier, injuries are a big thing this year. Now Aaron Rodgers is injured with a broken collarbone and it could be for the year. That would be a big loss for the Packers and the NFL. Earlier in the year, the Saints traded Adrian Peterson to the Cardinals. Peterson got more yards in one game with Arizona then he had in 5 games with New Orleans. Ezekial Elliot's suspension has been overturned again so he can play this week!

Me: Hey, did you see Disney has yet once again taken over another team?

Me: What do you think?

Jeff: Now that would make an excellent logo. The Detroit Scars!

Me: Hey, have you seen the new Miami Dolphins inspirational poster they have out?

Me: Hahaha. That made me laugh.

Jeff: That is an accurate poster! Another caption could be "Now the Dolphins offense makes more sense."

Me: Ha! Okay, so, the Giants finally won a game! I am so excited. But the Steelers also won... So, how did we do last week? You're still winning I know.

Jeff: Yup, the Giants finally won. The Steelers won. We both went 1-1 in our picks. So I maintain my 9 point lead. The score is 16-7.

Me: Okay, let's pick this weeks picks... I say Jets by 1 and unfortunately I have to say the Patriots will beat the Falcons by 4. I never "betted" against the Falcons before.

Jeff: My picks are Chiefs by 4 and Eagles by 7.

Me: Okay, Jeff, I will see you here next Thursday. Have a good week.

Jeff: See you next Thursday!

Are you a lazy person? I bet you're not as lazy as this guy...

It's 12:39 p.m., 83° and Kelly does it all and then some. Since winning the inaugural season of "American Idol" 15 years ago, she has been awarded multiple Grammys, released 7 albums, became a mother, and, to top it all off, will be a coach on "The Voice" in 2018. But despite all that, there are still people who insist on focusing on Clarkson's weight. WHY!?!? While performing at the historic Rainbow Room in New York City this weekend, Clarkson addressed the obsession with her weight and "all the fat jokes" people have made over the years. Before launching into a new song called "Whole Lotta Woman," Clarkson made this speech, "Too skinny, too fat, too blonde... so much blah. This is who I am and I’m happy. Happy looks different on everyone. The media has always been obsessed with it. And I have felt conflicted over the years. Do you address it? Do you talk about it? Because then you just add to the noise. But people like me to talk about it, so I don’t really mind carrying that flag. I love that people come up to me and say, “Because you are comfortable in your skin, you have made me more comfortable in mine.' That’s the best compliment ever. Hell yeah.

Last night, "the firm behind an explosive dossier," AKA the pee-tape that sent the Internet into hysterics back in January, appeared before the House Intelligence Committee. Once there, they refused to testify about who funded the report's production, arguing that that testifying would "breach their clients' confidentiality," according to "Newsweek." "No American should have to experience today's indignity," stated their lawyer. Indignity? Meet Donald Trump: This morning, Trump weighed in on the pee-tape. "Workers of firm involved with the discredited and Fake Dossier take the 5th," wrote Trump. "Who paid for it, Russia, the FBI or the Dems (or all)?" Twitter was again delighted, as they are with any new mention of the dossier. Mainly, they wanted to know if Trump's tweet meant that, indeed, the pee-pee tape was real. The dossier, published in its entirety by BuzzFeed, alleged that Russian authorities could exploit a video they may have taken of Trump watching prostitutes "perform a 'golden showers' (urination) show in front of him" in a room "he knew President and Mrs. OBAMA (whom he hated) had stayed [in] on one of their official trips to Russia." According to "Newsweek," the report "was initially financed by anti-Trump Republicans before being continued by Democrats during the 2016 general election." While most of Trump's detractors on Twitter couldn't help screaming IS THE PEE TAPE REAL, Trump's morning tweet had other implications. The more serious side of the conversation weighed in to put Trump's latest conspiracy theory into context. That's a bit more depressing than screaming pee-pee tape into the ether with a thousand exclamation points, so please allow me this moment of joy so I don't have to question what Donald Trump's wild accusations will do to the country: Ahem, pee tape.

The 68th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Robbie Robertson will be the guest on the Phile next Thursday.

Snapchat is an image messaging application, one of the principal aspects of which is that profits disappear shortly after they are created.

Okay, today's pheatured guest is a singer-songwriter from Mexico City whose new album "Orbs of Light" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Beto Hale.

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

Beto: Doing great! Thank you for the interview!

Me: I have to mention your name... it sounds like a character from Star Wars. Haha. Has anybody said that to you before? Are you a Star Wars fan?

Beto: Funny you should ask. My parents actually wanted to name me Chewbacca, but the nurse talked them out of it. I do like Star Wars, but I am more of a Mars Attacks! fan. I especially like the part where the aliens blow up Congress.

Me: You are from Mexico City, am I right? As you probably know there was a devastating earthquake there recently. Do you still have family and friends there? Are they okay?

Beto: Thank you for asking. Every family member and friend I have contacted is okay, but very traumatized. It was a terrible experience. Many people died, many left without a home. If I may, I’d like to share a site that is taking donations to help the victims. It was started by actors Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal: Any donation helps.

Me: Do you still live there or go back often?

Beto: Very often. It’s an incredible place; full of culture, incredible food, amazing people.

Me: I was watching your video for the title track of the album... "Orbs of Light" and it looks like the video was partly filmed there, am I right?

Beto: It was. In fact, the tall building you see the main character in at the beginning had to be evacuated and thoroughly checked to make sure it was still habitable. I believe people were able to go back to live there, though.

Me: Was the video filmed after the earthquake?

Beto: No, way before.

Me: When you wrote that song and it was way before the earthquake, so how did you chose that song to be that video, Beto?

Beto: I played different songs from the album for the video’s director and producer, Gregory Allen and Andrew Donaldson of Plural Films, and they chose “Orbs of Light."

Me: Did you come up with the concept of the video? What is the concept and what was the original story line of the song?

Beto: The concept was completely from the mind of the director. The video reflects a lot of the main message of the song, which is hope in the face of hardship. The video and the song lyrics are somewhat related, but the video is in no way a literal interpretation of every lyric line I wrote.

Me: You have been making music for a long time, sir. Your first album "American Mythology" which came out eleven years ago is half Spanish and half English, am I right? Is it harder to sing in English or Spanish?

Beto: Actually, that was my second album. My first album is called "Sube" (which means “rise”). Yes; "American Mythology" has songs in both languages. I think Spanish is harder to write in, because you have so many more syllables, and I think it’s harder to not sound corny. Singing in Spanish or English is similarly challenging.

Me: How old were you when you first started to play guitar?

Beto: About 10. I took classical guitar lessons for around a year, then decided to learn on my own because I was mostly interested in learning to play and sing Beatles songs.

Me: On the new album, you play pretty much all the instruments. Which instrument did you learn first and what is your favorite instrument to play? Do you play kazoo?

Beto: My first instrument was the drum set. I taught myself, then took lessons many years later. And yes, I am a mean kazooist.

Me: When you write do you use guitar? I am guessing you do.

Beto: Yes, the songs on this album in particular were mostly written on guitar. I also write on piano, and sometimes on kazoo.

Me: Haha. How long did it take you to write and record the album, Beto?

Beto: All in all, around two years.

Me: You have your own studio in Los Angeles. I am sure it has a cool name, does it?

Beto: Yes, it’s called Los Olivos Recording Studios. The studio is lined by some gorgeous olive trees, hence the name.

Me: Do you just use it or do you rent it out?

Beto: It is available for outside projects, but I am very selective as to who comes in.

Me: Is that something you wanted to do for a long time? Have your own studio?

Beto: Yes, my whole life. It's a dream come true.

Me: In your music I hear the Police, Beatles, and some new wave. A bunch of different influences actually, and your songs are all very catchy. Growing up in Mexico what bands did you listen to? 

Beto: Those bands for sure, as well as Rush, Genesis, Yes, and of course a lot of different Mexican music.

Me: You went to Berklee in Boston... what was that experience like? What did you study there?

Beto: It was a great experience in a very competitive environment. I majored in performance (drum set) and songwriting.

Me: Boston is so different than Mexico City... what was the biggest "culture shock" for you living there?

Beto: On the one hand, the coldness of the local population. Not the friendliest bunch around (not everyone, of course, I had some incredible teachers who are still friend of mine today). On the other, the coldness of the weather.

Me: I love the song "Share Your Joy." It's such an uplifting tune that makes me smile. Were you in a really good mood when you wrote and recorded that song, Beto?

Beto: Yes, I was! A very special aspect of that recording is the participation of L.A.’s Musyca Children’s Choir, which includes my 12-year old son.

Me: Cool. I have to mention the video for "Closer to You," which was filmed 360 degrees. Was that your idea? Where was it filmed?

Beto: It was also the idea of the director, Gregory Allen. It was filmed in Playas de Tijuana, Mexico, a beachside neighborhood of Tijuana.

Me: I think your video was the first to be filmed that way. Unfortunately, on my computer for some reason it's not in 360 but still looks very cool.

Beto: One of the first, for sure! On the computer, you need to watch it on Facebook or on YouTube, using the YouTube app on a mobile device.

Me: You were in a few bands back when you lived in Mexico City, and one of those bands was El Gru-Po... first off, what does that mean?

Beto: Yes, I played in several bands. El Gru-Po is a silly pun, a play on words. In Spanish, “pope” means “poop” so, if you say “El Gru-po pó” it means “The Poop Band”… Very silly middle school humor!

Me: Haha. Second, did you do covers or originals? If you did covers what are some of the covers you did?

Beto: Mostly covers. We did “Hotel California," Stairway to Heaven," “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and others.

Me: Beto, thanks so much for being on the Phile. My heart goes out to everyone in Mexico City, sir. Go ahead and mention your website and anything else you want. Take care, and continued success. Please come back on the Phile again soon.

Beto: That is very kind of you. Thank you for having me! I appreciate it very much. Here are my sites:,, Twitter: @betohale, Instagram: @betohale.

Me: Great job. Take care, Beto, and I will make a donation to that charity.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz and of course Beto Hale. The Phile will be back on Sunday with singer-songwriters Teddy Thompson and Kelly Jones. 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