Monday, October 30, 2017

Phile Alum Ian Margolycz from The Velvet Ants

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? Okay, so, first I have to correct something that I received a LOT of email about... last entry on Thursday I posted this pic...

And I said, "If I had a TARDIS I would like to go to Kennedy Space Center and watch a space shuttle go up as I never got to see that. But knowing my luck, I'll end up in this crowd in 1996..." Well, as most of you told me it was 1986 when the Challenger blew up. I know that. I was doing my homework in England and listening to the radio when it happened. It was an honest mistake when I said 1996, so I apologize. Okay, moving on... it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, people.  We need you around as long as possible to tell us vetting we're doing wrong, ladies. We love you, ladies. Get checked.
On the heels of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the #MeToo campaign, more and more women are coming forward with their stories of sexual harassment. Some are devastating, others are disturbing, all are infuriating. But this one, from a woman on Twitter who goes by @JodiesJumpsuit, also has a thrill of victory. Jodie shared the story of her high school teacher, who, shudder, liked to press his genitals to the desks of his female students. Rather than report him or confront him, Jodie took matters into her own hands. She tells the whole story best herself, "I am not the hero of this story, I am merely the one who decided to play a trick," she wrote. "The real heroes are the ones who pointed out what was happening to the rest of the class." Although not everyone in the class (aka the boys) believed that the harassment was planned and occurring, Jodie took it upon herself to resolve the situation or at least get a bit of payback. "The evidence was as plain asa line of white chalk rubbed against the crotch of khaki pants," she wrote. It's like a scarlet letter for perverts. The harassment, to Jodie's knowledge, never happened again, and all the female students lived happily ever after. Just kidding: Most of them probably went on to be subjected to similar behavior, because that's the world we lived in. But at least they got one small, chalk-flavored dose of revenge.
One universally understood truth is that everyone tries to get out of jury duty, that is, unless you're Obama. While the concept of fulfilling your civic duty is certainly a noble one, sitting for hours on end in a room full of (somehow always annoying) strangers to deliberate over a small case doesn't appeal to many Americans. Especially since it forces people to miss work in order to get paid an offensive $17 per day wage, which is honestly a VERY AMERICAN move. ANYWAYS, back to Obama! According to a report from "USA Today" the former president got called into jury duty in Cook County Illinois, and rather than make excuses like the rest of us, a spokesperson has confirmed that Obama's going to fulfill his civic duty. WE GET IT OBAMA, YOU'RE MORE RESPONSIBLE THAN US! Due to his high-profile ex-president status, the Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans said officials will take extra precautions to make sure Obama is safe. Legitimate threats aside, he'll probably also need the security to help block all the Chicago area Obama fans from bum-rushing him in the courtroom. While the details and dates of Obama's jury duties are still being determined, people are already loving the idea of the ex-president hitting the courtroom. Regardless of the scale or nature, I have a feeling the public will be closely following this case. And for good reason, how ELSE will we get more sweet Obama GIFs?! BTW, I'm not an American citizen, so cannot ever do jury duty. Makes me sad...
Emily Nash, a junior who plays golf at Lunenburg High School in Massachusetts, won a Division 3 tournament by four strokes on Tuesday. However, she will not be taking home the first place trophy. The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association allowed Nash, a teenage girl, to compete with the boy's team for the tournament, but said that she would not be judged as an individual due to her gender, and only boys can win the championship. There is all-girls tournament in the spring. Nash told local TV station WPBF that she was not made aware of the rules before competing, "I wasn't aware that if I won I wouldn't get the title or the trophy. I feel like it's a bit unfair." Still, Nash played the same game, all the same tees, out-golfed her male competition. Additionally, this means she will not qualify for the State Championship, but the boy who came in second place (and was awarded the first place trophy) will. The MIAA released a statement amidst the controversy, People were not happy with the statement, especially because it failed to mention Nash by name. In the wake of all this, "Rolling Stone" released an article speculating that MIAA may be violating Title IX, a federal law that stops educational programs that receive federal funding from discriminating based on sex. But at least there is one nice thing... the boy who ended up taking home the first place trophy did offer his prize to Emily, citing that she deserved it over him. "He came over and said he didn't win the tournament, that I did," she told WPBF. "It was really nice of him and respectful." She declined but said she appreciated the gesture.
Halloween is the time of year for pumpkins, candy, horror movies, costumes, and the inevitable bad costume choice. In 2005, pictures of Prince Harry dressed as Adolf Hitler surfaced... turns out that was not actually a good idea, no matter how scary the dictator may have been. Every year, retailers come up with ideas for costumes that are just in bad taste (remember last year's recently robbed Kim Kardashian?)... like this one that was just recalled of famous young diarist and tragic Holocaust victim Anne Frank.

Several people noticed the costume, which was being sold by by online retailers. It included a beret, a bag, and a dress with a "destination tag," which (I think?) is the concentration camp to which Anne Frank would have been sent. At least one person said that this was actually a British evacuee costume, which could also explain this "destination tag." But either way, the costume is definitely being marketed as Anne Frank, no question about it. The description for the costume reads, "We can always learn from the struggles of history. Unfortunately, World War II shook the world in a way that no one could have foreseen. It showed us what true and mettle were. It also created some unexpected heroes, where even a young girl like Anne Frank with nothing but a diary and hope could become an inspiration to us all. We can all learn from someone like that!" I can't imagine what the photo shoot for this one must have been like. The young girl looks "sassy," which is probably a slightly more palatable for marketing than "existential horror." As you can imagine, people were not particularly happy about this costume. After receiving complaints, at least one retailer removed the costume from their site. I'm sure others will follow suit, if they haven't already. True, Halloween is time for things that are scary and maybe even shocking, but costume designers should maybe throw on their ol' thinking caps before manufacturing costumes that are indecorous and more sad than scary. Anne Frank was a real victim of the Holocaust, and should be honored, not made into a dress-up costume. Speaking of Halloween...
So, I have been showing you some terrifying children from horror movies who are now normal adults, as far as I can tell. Linda Blair played Regan MacNeil, the little girl who becomes possessed by a demon in both versions of The Exorcist. There's nothing cute about demon possession. But now, 57-year-old Blair lives in Hollywood where she acts and, according to Twitter, really loves dogs. She even started her own foundation to protect rescue animals. She also loves taking pictures with her fans, and she is a Foghat fan and knew my dad. When my sister Leila was born in the 70s, Linda sent flowers to my mum. And apparently she loved Rick James...

This is the opposite of what a demon would do. Creepiness rating: Probably not possessed anymore. So, ever run into a celebrity out somewhere and what you're wearing is almost like it was planned? It happened to this kid...

I have no idea what super model that is though. So, I went to the book store the other day and there was a children's book that I thought was kinda odd...

I bet it's actually a good book. Man, I don't like scary things, and when I saw this pic I was scared...

Creepy looking Santa. One thing about me is I like to follow the rules, but some people take it his a little bit too far...

It makes sense though, right? So... my son loves to learn about the Civil War, World War I and World War II, so, if I had a TARDIS I would go back to WWII and bring him back this children's gas mask as a souvenir...

That's fucking scary.  Okay, parents, I hope your kid doesn't come home from school with a note from the teacher like this...

So, I was looking up something and instead of Googling "Ryan Gosling" I typed in "Ryan Goosling" and this is what I got.

So I thought I'd share. Haha. Okay, one thing I love is pics of side boobs with tattoos and all this month that's what I have been showing you. So, here's another one...

Alright, Halloween is tomorrow and there's some costumes I am tired of seeing already... like Colin Kaepernick. If you are one of the several thinking of dressing up as Colin Kaepernick this Halloween, don't just take a knee... take several seats. Ha! And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Startling Revelations In The JFK Assassination Papers
5. Lee Harvey Oswald indeed acted alone, as Lyndon Johnson stupidly forgot to set his alarm clock the night before.
4. John-John has been definitively ruled out as a suspect.
3. Afterwards, Ford recalled all Lincoln Continental limousines, on the slim chance the death resulted from a problematic timing belt.
2. The "shadowy figure on the grassy knoll" was a guy pushing a lawnmower.
And the number one startling revelation in the JFK assassination papers was...
1. The whole thing was cooked up by the FBI, Cuba and, of course, Obama.

Hahaha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. It's really easy, and not much of a Mindphuck. Okay, so, my son and I were talking how we used to watch "Sesame Street" when he was little. That show has changed since then, and I don't think for the better.

Big Bird freezes in place as he slowly comes to the horrifying conclusion that one of his escorts as a Downie.

Alright, so, recently I had a guy on the Phile who was fired from his job and wanted to come on and see if anybody would fire him. Well, he asked to come back, and I thought why not. So, please welcome back to the Phile...

Me: Hey, Dindo, so, were you hired for another job after you were on the Phile last month?

Dindo: Yes, I was hired by fence building contractor after Hurricane Irma.

Me: That's great. So, how did it go?

Dindo: Well... after Hurricane Irma, I was paid several thousand dollars to have a back yard fenced in. One month after the job was complete and paid for, a neighbor complained that the fencing was about 2 inches onto his property and that it had to be removed, even though I said it had been done strictly according to a survey he had procured.

Me: Hmmm... so, what happened?

Dindo: Well, Jason, Turned out the neighbor was correct. By the time it was determined, the fencing contractor had gone out of business. So, now I am out of work again. I shrug. It wasn't my fault.

Me: Ugh. Poor Dindo. Well, keep it up, I am sure something will come your way. Dindo Nuffin, everybody.

Phact 1: In 1986, 12 members of a Florida jury got stuck in the courthouse elevator for 20 minutes. The jurors were hearing a case against the Otis elevator company.

Phact 2: People leave pennies on John Wilkes Booth’s grave to give Lincoln the last word.

Phact 3: The recipe for Tootsie Rolls calls for the previous day’s batch to be mixed in with the new batch each day. Theoretically, this means there’s a bit of the very first Tootsie Rolls in every new roll made today. They were created in 1907.

Phact 4: The last words of serial killer Peter K├╝rten were “Tell me… after my head is chopped off, will I still be able to hear, at least for a moment, the sound of my own blood gushing from the stump of my neck? That would be the pleasure to end all pleasures.”

Phact 5: Source Larry Fine of the Three Stooges burned his arm with acid as a child. His parents gave him violin lessons to strengthen the damaged nerves. He became so proficient on the violin that his parents planned to send him to a European music conservatory but the plan was thwarted by World War I.

Donald Trump woke up on Sunday, as Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller prepared to announce indictments in his investigation, and decided to defuse some tension with a simple joke inspired no doubt by Wayne's World. "All of this 'Russia' talk right when the Republicans are making their big push for historic Tax Cuts & Reform," wrote Trump, before launching the joke, "Is this coincidental? NOT." If that doesn't sound quite right, it's because it makes zero sense. Trump wrote it like a question and answer, and no one answers a question by screaming "NOT." It's entirely possible Trump even mean to write "NO" instead of "NOT" and made a typo. It's happened before. But find someone in a Wayne and Garth couple's costume on Halloween tomorrow and they'll be happy to tell you how it should have gone: "All of this Russia talk right now when the Republicans are making their big push for historic Tax Cuts & Reform. What a coincidence... NOT." Jokes aside, Trump continued his Russia rant this morning... by encouraging people not to watch the real news. And yelling about Obama's alleged involvement in producing the pee-tape. I'm sure Donald Trump is being entirely truthful about everything to do with Russia... NOT. See how easy that is? It's the easiest. Back to this joke thing for a second, it's not actually the first time Trump has Trumped himself all over this exact bit from Wayne's World. Last time, Mike Myers commented, "How fantastic... in the true meaning of the word, a fantasy... and weird." Let's hop in a time machine. Here we are in 2016: Please, Donald, hire some joke writers and let them run your Twitter. I'm sure he'll do that... NOT. Okay it's getting annoying. See you at the next indictment.

A mammogram is the only picture of your breasts you should take last the age of 45.

Today's guest is the lead singer of one of my favorite bands I discovered in the last few years... The Velvet Ants. Their latest album, Blacklight Press, is available on iTunes right now. Please welcome to the Phile... Ian Margolycz.

Me: Hey, Ian, welcome back to the Phile, sir. How have you been?

Ian: I'm good, Jason, thanks for asking. Made a move up to Boston since we spoke last. Things are going well up here. 

Me: Cool, so, what’s this you went into the woods and found a bunch of records?

Ian: Yeah. I was walking along a path and saw what looked like stacks of records off to the side sorta covered in leaves and mud. I started checking them out and realized they were all from the 70s and 80s so I took them home.

Me: What were you doing in the woods in the first place?

Ian: I'm an instrument operator for a civil engineering company. So we were out in the woods working on a land survey.

Me: So, what records did you find? Any Foghat?

Ian: Here's a shortlist of the ones that were still legible. There were at least 96 of them. I lost track after that. Album list: The Beach Boys, Joan Jett, ZZ Top, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Van Halen, War, The Kinks, Black Sabbath, The Police, The Stray Cats, The Doors, J. Geils Band, The Cars, Pink Floyd, The Pretenders, AC/DC, Bad Company, Huey Lewis & The News, ELO, War, REO Speedwagon, Cheap Trick, Asia, Aerosmith, The Outlaws, Alice Cooper, Loverboy, The B-52s, Madonna, U2, Foreigner, Guess Who, Three Dog Night, The Clash, Kansas, Genesis, Jimi Hendrix,  And yes, "Foghat's "Live" was in there!

Me: That's fucking crazy. Look at that. How do you think they ended up there?

Ian: No idea really. Kinda strange. The turntable cabinet was nearby but there wasn't a player inside. I don't know why anyone would toss these but hey, one man's trash...

Me: What did you do with them?

Ian: Before I cleaned them up I took photos of anything with a label or cover art still present. The photos turned out pretty cool. Some of them have tiny roots embedded in the sleevework. Others were just a mess but they looked interesting to me so I took some shots anyway. The cleaning process took a while so they ended up in the shower with me for a few weeks. Got to bathe with all these legendary records at my feet. It was like a strange spiritual baptism in a way. Some of them played some didn't, and we're using some for band merch now. Sprayed our logo on one side. So the reverse can still be played if desired. I'm gonna try to salvage whatever's left and see if they'll clean up better. 

Me: All the photographs should be put into a book and you can get your friends to comment about the albums. "Roots Rock" the book should be called. Anyway, I am so glad you came out with a new album last December. "Blacklight Press" is a great album. Did it take you long to write and record it? 

Ian: Well, just between you and I (and anyone online) most of those songs were written already but I wanted to revisit some of them since they hadn't been properly recorded before now.

Me: In the past you released a "Covers" album with nothing but covers... is that something you see yourself doing again or do you prefer to record your own stuff?

Ian: Oh, I'd love to record some more covers! Have a few in mind already. That album kinda happened by accident. We'd just be goofing around or bored at home and eventually it made sense to release some of them. That one’s free to download. Some are better quality than others but I think we've always been a little quirky like that.

Me: "Blacklight Press" has a cover on it, right?

Ian: I almost covered one of Bing's songs called “A Thousand Yards." He’s been on bass for a couple years now. It sounded better with him on lead vocals so I ended up singing back up instead. It’s track 7 on "Blacklight Press."

Me: I think you should do a Foghat cover for the next project... what do you think? Haha.

Ian: Maybe not Foghat but definitely .38 Special!

Me: No, Foghat! I'll pick out a song for you.  So, you're based in Boston you said now, am I right? 

Ian: We are. I actually grew up here. I moved down to Virginia in 1997 and moved up and down the east coast since then but the latest installment of the Ants has been based here in Massachusetts.

Me: I take it you're a Red Sox fan as on the new album there's a song called "Two Sox." What is that song about?

Ian: I actually wrote that one down in Virginia cause I was missing New England. It's also a nod to one of my favorite movies Dances with Wolves. Basically a break up song lyrically though.

Me: I love the opening track "Prop Me Up." Is there a story behind that song, Ian?

Ian: That’s one I had written and recorded for an album called "The Water Street Demos." I'd always liked it and knew I wanted to bring it back to life somehow. I think there are a lot of good songs that don't get the attention they deserve when you're moving from band to band or demoing things. A lot of the time they're just forgotten.

Me: I think you're a really good songwriter... when you write I take it you write on guitar?

Ian: Almost always. Bass is fun too.

Me: What comes first, the lyrics or the music?

Ian: Most of the time it's the music, a riff or chords and then a melody will fly around my head. Lyrics can be a real pain to be honest. I used to love writing but it can be a real task sometimes. That's why I appreciate bands that don't put a lot of words in their music. Unless we're talking about a pop song where they drive a lyric into your skull with unnecessary repetition.

Me: Do you plan when you are gonna write or does it just come naturally?

Ian: I try not to plan it out cause it never works for me that way. Never wanna jinx yourself into writer’s block.

Me: The Velvet Ants is just you pretty much, but with a band...? Does that make sense? Are you playing with the same guys you played with on "Solt Olio" your last release?

Ian: We've had about three major line up changes over the last… wow, 10 years. Started off as a duo. Had a friend join on guitar for the second album. "Solt Olio" had all new players but we stayed a trio. "Blacklight Press" was Bing Quiogue, Jordon Zadorozny and myself. Seems like each album until now had one line up change or another.

Me: I watched the video of you playing at WMEF in Boston and you have a cute female bass player in the band... that's hip. Squeeze has a female bass player in the band as well. Anyway, how do you pick who is gonna be in The Velvet Ants? Do they have to audition?

Ian: Well, she's no longer with us. She was a pretty big fan of the band and that might not have been the best decision on our part. I spent about a month teaching her all the songs and vocal parts and poof! She was gone.

Me: Awe. Last time you were here I asked you if "Solt Olio" meant anything and you said it didn't... but I take it "Blacklight Press" has a meaning, am I right?

Ian: "Solt Olio" had some meaning to it but it was basically misheard Italian. The correct word is actually sott’olio and means: under oil. "Blacklight Press" was gonna be the name of a book of poetry but that never happened so it became the name of the 4th album.

Me: You are currently working on a new album for next year? How far into the writing process are you in?

Ian: We had a list of about 20 songs and 3 covers and now I think we've whittled it down to 13 or 14 songs. We’re gonna demo some stuff here and then head up to Canada next year to record at Jordon's studio Skylark Park.

Me: So, what do you prefer, Ian, writing, recording, or playing live?

Ian: I like whatever I'm not doing at the time! That's a horrible way to be… I gotta work on that. “Be here now”... Okay, I'm back. Writing is my favorite.

Me: You play a lot of shows around the New England area... any chance you'll be playing down here in Florida?

Ian: Would love to do a full east coast tour! And I'll make a note about Florida.

Me: So, when the next CD comes out will you come back on the Phile?

Ian: Of course!

Me: Go ahead and mention your websites and anything else. Looking forward to the new album. Take care, Ian.

Ian: Thanks, Jason, same to you.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Ian for a great interview. I love that album. The Phile will be back tomorrow with It's The Great Trumpkin, Peverett Phile 2 pheaturing John Piette from August. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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

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