Sunday, November 26, 2017

Pheaturing Ian Anderson From Jethro Tull

Hey there, welcome to the Phile for a Sunday. How are you? Do you have a box of tissues nearby, or a handkerchief, or the sleeve of a t-shirt you don't care about?! If not, I'd suggest you procure one of these items, because you'll likely need them after reading this story. When she was just 16-years-old, the Twitter user Bailey Seller tragically lost her father to cancer. Before his passing, her loving dad prepaid for flowers and wrote a series of letters to be given to Bailey on her birthday. The message for her 21st birthday was officially the last letter she'll receive from her father, and she shared the beautiful and bittersweet moment with her Twitter followers.

He wrote, "Dear Bailey, This is my last love letter to you until we meet again. I do not want you to shed another tear for me my baby girl for I am in a better place. You are and will always be my most precious jewel I was given. It is your 21st birthday and I want you to always respect your momma and stay true to yourself. Be happy and live life to the fullest. I will still be with you through every milestone, just look around and there I will be. I love you Boo Boo and Happy Birthday!!! Daddy." It's obvious how much he loved her, and also, how much thought he put into these letters. He wanted to give her the emotional green light to move on, which must have been a really difficult message to write. I'll be right back, I'm refilling my tissues. If you have a dad who is alive and a good man, don't forget to tell him you love him.
The embattled Senate candidate Roy Moore has been accused of sexual misconduct by at least 9 women, with allegations including pedophilia and assault. In his latest PR move, accused pedophile and GOP candidate-from-hell Moore released an ad featuring six unnamed women vouching for his character. The ad, which was released on Thanksgiving, starts with a shot of a woman claiming "Roy Moore is a man of character. He knows what it means to serve." Another unnamed woman (of six) later on claims he'll bring a "flashlight of accountability to Washington D.C." The horrifying and completely not desperate attempt at making Moore seem more palpable towards women (and humans of basic conscience) ends with a shot of a gun-toting mother who says she supports Moore because he'll protect the second amendment. The vague and safe content of Moore's new campaign video presents a stark contrast to his competition... Democrat Doug Jones' recent ad. While Moore's ad reads like a video of actors selling scraps of their soul to prove the embattled politician isn't a sexist threat, Jones' ad goes straight for the allegations. Fittingly titled "Immoral,' Jones' ad features images of Moore's accusers and simply ends with the question, "Will we make their abuser a U.S. Senator?!" The ad also takes care to mention that Moore was an adult man actively pursuing multiple teenagers. In a perfect world, or hell, a world that is less full of people who willfully blind themselves to abusers ... the winner of this race would be a given. But at this point, both Jones and Moore have a shot at the Senate seat. Voting takes place on December 12th, hopefully Moore doesn't successfully convince more women to vouch for him before then.
According to "People," Jennifer Lawrence and Darren Aronofsky are dunzo. Lawrence, 27, and Aronofsky, 48, first coupled up in September after they finished filming mother! together. Lawrence had recently been talking about their relationship in a podcast with The Hollywood Reporter published Monday. Lawrence said, "[I] had a crush on him when he pitched to me and that was like a year before we started rehearsing. But he was a professional, which only made it worse for me." To the public, this coupling always felt a bit rogue given the age difference and the fact that Lawrence could walk outside and have five men propose to her, where as Aronofksy is, well, he directed Black Swan so that's cool. Despite being a blabbermouth in interviews, Lawrence has done a good job of keeping her private life to herself. It's likely that Lawrence, who has previously dated Nicholas Hoult, isn't going to be toting around a new guy anytime soon. In case she feels like doing so, here are a few guys she should consider for the sake of the public's enjoyment... or rather, a list of guys gossip websites will likely suggest Lawrence is dating in the next few months. Chris Pratt, Michael B. Jordan, Brad Pitt, Bradley Cooper, Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Pine, Idris Elba. Jennifer Lawrence has options. Including the option of living that single life. Yeah, she'll be okay.
Former Backstreet Boy Nick Carter has been accused of rape by a member of the aughts girl band Dream, Melissa Schuman. Schuman, 33, wrote a post on her blog, Melissa Explains It All, titled "Don't worry, I won't tell anybody," that details the alleged incident with Carter, 37. According to Schuman, when she was 18 and Carter was 22, he invited her and a friend to his apartment on a day off from the movie Schuman and Carter were shooting together, The Hollow. At one point, Carter allegedly took Schuman into the bathroom and started kissing her. Schuman claims that it was a well-known fact that she was a virgin with "religious conservative christian values." Carter reportedly removed Schuman's pants, performed oral sex on her, and then forced her to do the same to him. Schuman wrote that Carter told her, "Don't worry, I won't tell anybody," as if that was what Schuman was worried about. Then he took her to the bedroom and physically forced her to have sex with him. In her post, Schuman wrote of the alleged rape, "He threw me on the bed and climbed on top of me. Again, I told him that I was a virgin and I didn’t want to have sex. I told him that I was saving myself for my future husband. I said it over and over again. He whispered in my ear as to entice me, 'I could be your husband.'" No. No, no, no. In her post, Schuman wrote that she wanted to press charges, but was told Carter had "most powerful litigator in the country." She also described her fear of coming forward, because she felt she “would likely be buried in humiliation, accused of being fame hungry, and it would ultimately hurt me professionally as well as publicly.” On Twitter, Schuman wrote, "I just want to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support. Thank you for bearing witness to my story. Thank you for providing me a safe place to be open and vulnerable. I love you all. Thank you for aiding me in the healing that I so desperately needed. I am free now."
I call Donald Trump an idiot just about every day and it never makes national news. But when a member of Trump's administration calls Trump an idiot, well, that's another story. According to a report by BuzzFeed News, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster recently attended a private dinner with Safra Catz, the CEO of tech company Oracle. Five anonymous sources (four of which say they heard about it from Catz firsthand) told BuzzFeed News that McMaster called Trump an "idiot," a "dope," and "someone with the intelligence of kindergartener" during the dinner. Look, we all vent about our bosses sometimes. Imagine if your boss was Donald Trump... it would be extremely hard to stop yourself from complaining about him, don't you think? TBH, I don't blame McMaster for calling Trump an idiot... although I do blame him for supporting the Trump administration, especially since he clearly isn't a huge fan. QUIT. YOUR. JOB. BRO. Anyway, both the Trump administration and Oracle have already denied the claims. Something I imagine they'd both do whether or not the remarks were true. "Actual participants in the dinner deny that General McMaster made any of the comments attributed to him by anonymous sources," Michael Anton, a spokesman for the National Security Council, told BuzzFeed News. "Those false comments represent the diametric opposite of General McMaster's actual views." Ken Glueck, the Oracle senior VP for government affairs, also said the story was untrue. "None of the statements attributed to General McMaster were said," he told the outlet, adding that Catz agrees with him. Catz probably has her own opinions of Trump, considering she served on his transition team following the election. She was also considered for several posts in the Trump administration, though she was never given one. It's safe to say that when Trump inevitably fires H.R. McMaster, Catz will not be considered as his replacement.
Hey! It's Sunday, instead of writing this blog I should be listening to this...

Naaaaa. Maybe not. So, I've never been arrested, but if I was I hope I'm not wearing this t-shirt...

Ha. If I had a TARDIS I would like to go to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and see the Gettysburg Address. But know my luck I wouldn't see Lincoln and would end up in a crowd...

By the way, I would also take my son who is into the Civil War and shit. So, remember those Fidget Spinners were so popular last summer? Are they still popular? Anyway, there's one that is out that I think church's are selling...

Hahahahaha. Okay, so, one of the best things about the Internet is you can look at porn easily... and free. One of the hardest thing about having a blog is people might find it boring and switch over to a porn site. So, I thought what if I showed a porn pic here and then you didn't have to switch over. The problem with that is that you might be at work and I wouldn't wanna get you in trouble. So, I have a solution...

Ta-da! So, the other day I was supposed to Google "Chris Pratt" and instead I Googled "Christ Pratt" and this is what I got...

Some people are just the worse...

Hahahahaha. I like to follow the rules but some people just take it a little bit too far...

Hahaha. I actually did that before. Ever go to a restaurant or bar and see a tip jar? Some places get really funny with them...

Ever go to a place and look up wifi and see some funny names?

Okay, let's take a quick break and talk about net neutrality. What is net neutrality, you ask? It's a term that's been going around the 'net a lot these days because it is under threat. Next month, the Federal Communications Commission is voting on whether to repeal rules instated under the Obama administration that protect Internet users from surcharges. Without these rules, Internet providers (ISPs) won't have to remain neutral: they can introduce additional costs to access certain websites and platforms. For example, an Internet provider that has a streaming service could easily decide to incur special charges or slow down internet speed for users who want to visit Netflix, in an effort to push customers to use their proprietary streaming service. Those against net neutrality are purportedly in favor of free market practices. I have a brand new pheature to help you understand more what it means...

Go to and sign up to stop it.

Haha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so a "friend" of the Phile posted a Thanksgiving pie that looks like a stock photo. I invited her back to get to the bottom of it. So, I hate to say this, but please welcome back to the Phile...

Sarah: Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling Clementine... hello, Jason.

Me: Hello, Sarah. We all know that stock photos don't represent real life. Most office settings aren't pristine spaces where coworkers openly laugh in perfectly coiffed button downs. Most children don't live in clean, color-coordinated rooms with huge wafts of sunlight, and most pies don't stock photo levels of pristine from the outside. After all, some of the most delicious pies overflow with juices. So, when you posted a photo of a handmade chocolate pecan Thanksgiving pie on Twitter, the likeness to a stock photo brought out some doubters. I have to say though it DOES look like delicious fake news.

Sarah: Jason,  it has been confirmed that this pie existed, and was a real dessert consumed by my family.

Me: Yeah, well, myself and the public are still spectacle.

Sarah: Well, one Twitter user did some deep journalistic research to confirm that my pie was in fact real, Jason. See for yourself...

Me: Well, Kris, you deserve a pie for that I guess. And chocolate pecan sounds pretty good. I buy this debunking of piegate, but it doesn't explain why an alleged chocolate-pecan pie looks so unchocolately.

Sarah: Well, you can ask daughter about the pie. She'll tell you it was “made by mom” and was “yummy."

Me: In an ideal world, 2018 will be full of a whole lot more scandals on the par of #PieGate, and whole lot less of everything else happening in the White House. Sarah Huckleberry Sanders, boys and girls.

I don't get it. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Things Overheard At This Year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
5. There's something you don't see every day... a clown running into a Starbucks to take a leak!
4. That tumbling group was great! I had no idea Mayor de Blasio was so agile!
3. Hey... I think that pilgrim just stole my wallet!
2. Look, Timmy! The balloon handlers are making it look like Snoopy is doin' it with Garfield!
And the number one thing heard at this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is...
1. Amazing that they replaced the Kevin Spacey float with the Christopher Plummer float on such short notice!

In keeping with his relentless brand of pure narcissism and delusion, a few night's ago Donald Trump tweeted about his lingering suspicion that he just might be named "Time" magazine's Person of the Year for 2017. This unwarranted suspicion would of course mean "Time" is bestowing the title on Trump for two years in a row, which even in 2017 (the year of Satan) would be unheard of for the publication. Despite the unlikely odds, Trump still decided to share his self-glorifying prediction on Twitter, even going so far as to suggest he preemptively turned the title down. I would laugh but Trump's Twitter presence has already hollowed out my soul. Unsurprisingly, people on Twitter were quick to mock the possibility of Trump's claim to the title. Still, others hedged their hopes and bets on who they'd genuinely like to grace the cover. Of course, there were plentiful GIFs from the first (only) time Trump was named Person of the Year. While others on Twitter claimed they were also in the running for the iconic spot. Even the tennis star Andy Murray chimed in with the ultimate troll comment.


I guess we'll just have to sit tight and wait until December 6th for "Time"'s real Person of the Year, like always.

Phact 1. After Nietzsche’s death, his sister Elisabeth curated and edited his manuscripts, reworking Nietzsche’s unpublished writings to fit her own German nationalist ideology while often contradicting or distorting his stated opinions, which were explicitly opposed to antisemitism and nationalism.

Phact 2. When humans domesticated wolves, we basically bred Williams syndrome into dogs, which is characterized by cognitive difficulties and a tendency to love everyone.

Phact 3. Metallica’s "Master of Puppets" was deemed culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant enough for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the United States Library of Congress in 2016, the first metal recording to do so.

Phact 4. The Cocaine Bear was found dead in the woods after eating 76 pounds ($15 million worth) of cocaine.

Phact 5. There was a German architect who devoted his whole life to promote his grand scheme of damming and draining the Mediterranean to create vast amounts of land and to unite Europe and Africa into one supercontinent.

The 70th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

I'm so excited... Kevin will be the guest on the Phile tomorrow.

Net Neutrality
Net neutrality is the principle that Internet speeds should be limited only by the viruses you downloaded while watching porn.

Today's guest is a Scottish-born musician, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist best known for his work as the lead vocalist, flautist and acoustic guitarist of British rock band Jethro Tull. His latest album "Jethro Tull – The String Quartets" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Ian Anderson.

Me: Ian, sir, welcome to the Phile. It's good to have you here. How are you?

Ian: I'm doing good, Jason.

Me: So, this year is the 40th anniversary of Jethro Tull's album "Songs From the Wood." And you just released a deluxe version of that album for the anniversary which is cool. You must have good memories and thoughts about that album, am I right?

Ian: It definitely fits into the top 10 generally feeling good about the compositions about the time and recording of making the record and playing it live on stage. It's there definitely in the top ten and depends on my mood it maybe in the top 5.

Me: What made you decide to release an anniversary version of this album, Ian?

Ian: I think for me it's important because it's where the band had kind of matured at that point into being some pretty good musicians and we were recording in the U.K. in a studio that we worked many times before. There was a security of knowing the technically side which turned out to be an okay record. There's a musical expertise in what is a technical recording. The songs were based on a fairly common threads of a book was given to me. So, with this book which I began to read I found a whole area of musical and lyrical music ideas that I supposed I could have done further research and came up with some real life historical songs based on those ideas. Of course, a part of our traditional folk music there's a lot of stuff about those very topics. But I decided it's probably better for me to not go that route, to be a traditional English folky but to try and do things in my own away with more of a rock sensilbity. Stylistically push jot a little bit to the elements of tradition without making it traditional folk music just you can say "Songs From the Wood" move a little bit to contemporary folk rock what is or was at the time.

Me: I have to show this pic of you back in the day, Ian...

Me: Haha. So, I know what a lot of music is about, but can't figure what Jethro Tull is about. So, sir, tell me what am I missing? And why I flute? Hahaha.

Ian: Well, I think Frank Zappa had it right when he decided to call his band The Mother's Of Invention. It's boredom that drives creativity. You have to find the need to keep moving on and discover new futile creative pathways and that's where I headed. I got bored easily, doing the same thing over time and time doing the same kind of style for me would not be hugely awarding. But on the other hand when you describe the music of say your dad's old band, Foghat, it's relatively easy. It hasn't changed much over the years. It's a certain kind of stuff, it's rock and roll riffs and a kind of limited melodic range of expression. It's quite easy to define Foghat, and easy to define bands like The Ramones, or in the U.K. to define Status Quo or Iron Maiden. The tendency when you have a very fine style if it works then enjoy keep doing it, that's fine. I just needed to keep switching the focus to try something a little different from what I diid before. But that doesn't mean you depart and leave behind things forever, it just means that you move somewhere else and from time to time you come back and reinvent the musical wheel. I think sometimes how can I use that idea again but push it in slightly different direction. That happens with songs and lyrics too... I'm thinking in verbal terms when I'm talking generally about a subject but sometimes I think I wonder of there's another way I can express this or another way I can touch upon this general idea but use different words to express it. That's a part I suppose being a lyric writer as well as a music writer. I could keep the lyrics the same and change the music or vice versa and that's what I try to do is to keep moving around a little bit. From an audience perspective or a musicologist perspective it makes it a lot more complicated to say who or what is Jethro Tull. Frankly it's a mess. It's all over the show, it's all over the place. But on the other side it's the playfulness of the music, I get to do all different stuff, it's not that serious. Sometimes it's lighthearted, sometimes it's very serious subjects, things that are topical, things that are to do with some very fundamental emotions: rage, anger, jealousy, whatever it might be. It's all out there... if Shakespeare didn't do it it's not worth doing.

Me: Okay, so, I have to ask... Jethro Tull started out as a blues band, right? But didn't stay as a blues band... what happened?

Ian: Hmmmm. Well, by July 1968 when Jethro Tull has been playing as a little old blues band in the clubs and pubs in England that began at the end of January '68, shortly to be fifty years ago, and by six months later I was thinking it's not really what I want to be doing for the rest of my life because I'm not black, I'm not American, I can't lay claim to the cultural roots for me being a blues musician. Maybe I should look closer to home and find other influences as I liked other kinds of music. Perhaps folk music, more of the world music I love like Indian, Chinese, European, other forms of music that I've heard have all slightly different ring to them. I had a conscious decision to embrace other musical influences around the summer of 1968 when I started writing the music which would be the "Stand Up" album. At that point it became my guitarist, Mick Abrahams, wasn't really into that kind of approach. He just liked blues and rock and roll, and that was it. So, where I was headed wasn't going to work really with Mick. The other two guys were a little more flexible so that's where we headed. On the day I often thought wouldn't it be nice to write a three minute pop song. I did it a few times just to see if I could get a top ten. I did try and do it but certainly there are not my best songs. They are just simple and direct. Take for example, "Living in the Past" was my first... actually technically "Love Story" was the first one, "Living in the Past" was the second one.

Me: So, let's talk about this new classical album, Ian. This is the not the first time you made a classical album with Jethro Tull music, right?

Ian: Actually, "Classic Case" is a piece of absolute shit. I agreed to perform on it to honor the spirit of the cooperative arrangement with our arranger David Palmer. After he left Jethro Tull he got this deal with BMG, or whoever it was, to do this deal for a cheesy, orchestral version of Jethro Tull music. David is far better at writing but he was under very strict guidelines for it.

Me: You must like doing orchestral stuff though, right?

Ian: Well, some years later I did do some orchestral concerts and set about what I thought some more creative ways about bringing a rock sensibility to the symphony orchestra and so I think they became a lot more involved. I wanted the orchestra to have more to say, I wanted to give them more details with parts to play. So, from 2004 I started doing concerts with symphony orchestras here ands there through most years. To this day I still occasionally do some shows like that. I played with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra at Red Rocks a few months ago. It was a horrible show though. It was foul weather, it was icy cold, very windy and the symphony orchestra spent most of the time in the second half on their hands and knees trying to catch the music papers that had blown all over the stage. It was a little farcical. Anyway, that's rock band with the orchestra. Been there done that. I've also done rock band with string quartet going back to the early days of Jethro Tull, notably on tour in 1974. But the idea of doing a dedicated more informed classical tradition in terms of part writing for a string quartet, that was something I hadn't really visited, but had a desire to that where it wasn't rock band with string quartet, it was just string quartet and me as an acoustic musician and some of the time I wasn't really there. I wasn't involved, I wasn't really performing.

Me: Yeah, you are not on the whole CD, Ian. Why is that?

Ian: I wanted to demonstrate how a string quartet could play the elements of my music being rhythm, harmony and melody... the key elements that make up music in an abstract idea. When lyrics are tossed it in it gets a little more concrete. Music as music is harmony and melody and you can embark on some stylistic adventures and still show the music, be it in a different context. but you can still show the prime elements of that music. I think when someone dresses their songs up in a new set of clothes it doesn't make them unrecognizable, and song to song how you go about doing it, you trod out into the street wearing a shiny new suit and a silly hat, people will go, "Hey, I think I recognize you. But you look different today."

Me: Your music is kinda made for this kind of thing, right?

Ian: Yeah, I would find it hard doing a record like this to Foghat's music. My music sometimes lends itself a bit more readily to those nuances that make it workable within the traditions of classical part writing for a quartet. Not to suggest I did all this... the writing was mainly done by John O'Hara, our keyboardist, who was a classical trained musician through the Royal College of Music, so he knows about that stuff. We would get together on the project and chose the Carducci Quartet, a bunch of young musicians who had a high standard of technological understanding but had a busy schedule. So, we managed to get three days of their time and recorded this in Worcester Cathedral and an historical church so all of that went to plan.

Me: I have a pic of you and the Carducci Quartet here...

Me: So, how did you work on this album with the quartet, Ian?

Ian: We just sat down and worked it out together in varying degrees. Sometimes John alone came up with a piece but sometimes we would work out who was gonna play what line what would work here and what would work there and then I didn't want to make it to obvious all the time by leaving the flute to play the melody but sometimes I would let the first violin play the melody and I would counter the melody or hammy. I just wanted it to vary from song to song. Having said all that I think I'm not going to confirm my American Airlines flight to go to Nashville and record Jethro Tull's country hit. I think that would be a step too far.

Me: Hahaha. I'd actually like that better. Okay, so, why "Aqualung"? Why do you think that song is the most popular Jethro Tull song? It doesn't even have flute on it. Maybe that's why...

Ian: I think I know exactly why it is. I think it's possibly for two reasons... which I'm very happy to be responsible for. First of all, in the same way of a rather Beethoven fashion it has that musical motif that makes a statement straight away like Beethoven did in his fifth symphony. You'e not going to forget that... four notes, three of which are the same. "Aqualung" is a little more complicated, but it takes the same time. It's the par as being iconic simply because the first thing you hear is the heavy hitting punch line and I think with "Aqualung" it goes to employ dynamic variations which suddenly switches from acoustic guitar to lyrics which I supposed are audible and understandable. When you analyze what it's about it's a pretty serious subject. It's about our reaction to embarrassment, confusion, the face of the social plight of the homeless. It's a pretty hard serious topic and it's not the music that goes with "Whole Lotta Love." It's not the pure music of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. It's not a rather odd, quirky story of a casino burning down in Montreux, Switzerland, like in "Smoke on the Water." It's kind of something that I think that moment where it switches from that big riff to the acoustic elements is a summation of what Jethro Tull is about. Other than one thing, it has no flute in it.

Me: Okay, I know you have to go, so I have one more question, if you had to stop playing music after fifty years, what would you miss most?

Ian: Well, for me, it's getting naked in a hotel room with a very cold beer. That for me is the great moment of my day when the job is done the first thing I do is take off all my clothes, get on the bed, crack open a cold beer and switch on maybe CNN, maybe Fox News, it could be Alazzeerah. I'm a kind of rolling news guy, I like to see at the end of the day before I go to sleep what's been happening. World wide what's been happening, not just the local news. Trouble is I know some of the people who have been news presenters and I get sometimes slightly embarrassed and cover my manhood up... in case they can see me.

Me: Wow. Okay, that's different. Thanks for being here on the Phile, sir. Mention your website and take care.

Ian: You're welcome. There you have it. Bye bye.

Me: Bye, good job.

There, that about does it for this entry of the Phile. I have no idea what to think. Thanks to Ian Anderson for a good interview. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Kevin Godley. 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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