Hey there, welcome to the Phile for a Monday, kids. How are you? So, Kellyanne Conway was determined to defend Donald Trump's tax plan with her friends at "Fox & Friends" today, but the friends weren't being super friendly. The hosts wanted to know if Kellyanne Conway would endorse Roy Moore, the Alabama candidate for Senate facing up to nine allegations of sexual assault, and she... pretty much did. "Doug Jones in Alabama, folks, don't be fooled," said Conway, with a smile on her face as she tried to keep the focus on Moore's Democratic opponent. "He will be a vote against tax cuts. He will be weak on crime. Weak on borders. He is strong on raising your taxes. He is terrible for property owners..." "So, vote Roy Moore?" asked Brian Kilmead. "Doug Jones is a doctrinaire liberal, which is why he is not saying anything and why the media are trying to boost him." "So, vote Roy Moore?" he asked again. "I'm telling you that we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through." With friends like these, who needs state owned television? (Conway does, probably.) By the way, Conway said this about Moore just last week, "Whatever the facts end up being, the premises, of course, the principle, the incontrovertible principle, is that there is no Senate seat worth more than a child. And we all want to put that forward." Oh, how the mighty have changed their minds for taxes.
Former model Keri Claussen Khalighi says she was just 17-years-old when the hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons sexually assaulted her while the film producer Brett Ratner watched, "The Los Angeles Times" reports. According to Khalighi, the casting couch scenario turned south when she accompanied the two men to Simmons' New York home to view a music video they'd been working on. Soon after their arrival, Simmons allegedly began removing Khalighi's clothes against her will, and when she turned to Ratner for help he declined and watched the assault play out. “I looked over at Brett and said ‘help me’ and I'll never forget the look on his face. In that moment, the realization fell on me that they were in it together," Khalighi told "The Los Angeles Times." Allegedly Simmons then tried to force her to have intercourse, and after she fought back, he coerced her into performing intercourse. Following the initial assault, Khalighi said she felt so violated she went up stairs to take a shower. At this point, Simmons allegedly followed her and raped her. Following the allegation, both Simmons and Ratner have vehemently denied the sexual assault. In a statement, 60-year-old Simmons (who would have been 34 at the time), claimed "everything that occurred between Keri and me occurred with her full consent and participation." Ratner, who himself has been accused by six women of sexual harassments and misconduct, also claimed to have no recollection of the incident in 1991. "They are publicly denying these allegations, which implies that the women who come forward are liars,” said Khalighi, following the denial from both men. “So I'm coming out because what I've experienced privately is not matching what they are saying publicly and hypocrisy to me is repugnant and it's time for the truth to come out.” This bombshell report is just one of the many reports of sexual assault in Hollywood reported following the Harvey Weinstein allegations.
A woman named Penny Knutson from Green Bay, Wisconsin, recently posted to Facebook a hilariously graphic photo taken by her daughter at Shopko, a Wisconsin retail chain. The photo, which shows a giant teddy bear orgy in broad daylight, seemingly unnoticed by department store staff, went viral. And that makes sense, because after you see it, you want to scream and then email it to everyone you know. The photo you are about to see is extremely NSFW. So underage humans and bears, please avert your eyes.
"My daughter took this pic at Shopko. Wow," Knutson wrote. "How does this go unnoticed by staff?" That IS a good question. Also: who did this?!?!?!? Because it looks like someone spent a significant amount of time organizing this situation. Almost as if they posed the bears with great precision, love and care. The photo was spotted on Facebook by Huffington Post editor Philip Lewis who shared it to Twitter. So we can expect memes to happen any day now. Speaking of memes, do these bears look familiar to you???? Because I'm 99% sure I recognize them from everywhere on the Internet over the past few weeks. I told the story about them yesterday. These horny Shopko bears sure look a lot like that 6'5" tall teddy bear with disproportionately long legs that went viral last week, after a number of horrified consumers left hilariously brutal Amazon reviews. These disgruntled shoppers who spent $129.99 on the toy would probably be especially horrified to learn that these giant bears not only have disproportionately long legs, but also disproportionately high libidos and a love of exhibitionism.
The U.S. Navy has apologized for the actions of one rogue pilot who on Thursday drew a giant penis in the sky with his plane over Washington.
Well, would you look at that! I knew that wasn't just a weird cloud (I saw one that looked like a dog, once). The pilot responsible for the big peen is from the Whidbey Island naval station, according to TMZ. They report that the pilot's superiors said, "We find this absolutely unacceptable, of zero training value and we are holding the crew accountable." There might have been some training value in it... those do look like some pretty sweet balls; that's gotta be a tricky maneuver. But it was still a dick move. Hahaha.
Cult leader and serial killer Charles Manson died yesterday, which makes this day a holiday if you ask some. It's almost as celebratory as the day after Harry Potter stopped Voldemort as a baby. What a joyous day that was. Manson and his cult the Manson Family are most famous for murdering the pregnant actress Sharon Tate, along with four other people, in 1969. Because the world works in funny (read: terrible) ways, Sharon Tate died at 26 and Charles Manson lived to the age of 83. Manson was convicted of nine murders and imprisoned in 1971. His cause of death was natural causes... and not Mephistopheles dragging him to hell... according to the "New York Times." It seems that a decent number of people wishing that Manson RIP are confusing him with the living musician Marilyn Manson. Guys. Guys. We don't like Charles Manson, okay? He's the murderer. No good. And very dead compared to Marilyn Manson.
So, once in a while I have been known to misread a situation. But at least I'm not as bad as this person...
I've never been arrested but if I ever do I hope I'm not wearing this t-shirt...
She looks so fucking miserable, right? There's a new Pokémon movie that's out. I think I wanna see this one...
Yep. Def wanna see it. So, parents, I hope your kid doesn't bring a note home from school like this one...
Hanzo Main? I don't know what that is either. So, this whole sexual allegations thing is getting outta hand. Apparently it's happening in the U.K. as well.
Points if you know who those two are. If I had a TARDIS I would go back to the 50s and try to meet Elvis Presley. But knowing my luck I'll end up meeting him like this...
I don't wanna go to Germany. By the way, my dad always said Elvis "died" in the army. So, at the con yesterday I saw a brand new Star Wars action figure I thought was kinda sad...
Poor Jyn. You know... some people are just the worst...
Who would do such a bloody thing?
Me: Hello, David, welcome back. So, what did you wanna talk about now?
David: I'm so upset. I was doing a show on Saturday and I asked for a volunteer...
David: Well, aside from the classic zero response to the ask for volunteers I didn't get any.
Me: Oh. So, what did you do?
David: I finally got an audience member on stage but she got scared and frustrated and threw the cloth I had had her hold at me and run away.
Me: Well, you made her disappear. Good job, David. Is that it?
David: Yes, that is it.
Me: Okay, that was a waste of time. David Coppafeel, the world's worst magician everybody.
Somethings on the Phile are just not funny. It's 11:44 am, 71° and Kelly's gown looks more suited for the Kennedy Center Honors than the AMA's last night...
But she still looked good. Now for a pheature simply called...
Phact 1: Nirvana played a concert in Beunos Aires where the crowd threw mud and trash at the all-girl opening act. Kurt Cobain was so upset that he sabotaged the show by playing mostly lesser known songs and teasing "Smells Like Teen Spirit" without ever playing it.
Phact 2: When Thomas Edison was confined to a wheelchair in the last years of his life, his friend Henry Ford bought one too, so that they could have wheelchair races.
Phact 3: Shavarsh Karapetyan, a retired Professional Swimmer, saved 20 people that got trapped in frigid, sewage infested waters. His career as a professional swimmer ended after this heroic act due to 2 sided pneumonia and blood contamination that put him in a coma. Now he sells shoes for a living.
Phact 4: During the California Gold Rush a Chinese laundry man named John-John washed enough gold dust out of pants cuffs and shirttails of miners to set himself up for life.
Phact 5: Paul McCartney dreamed the melody of “Yesterday” one night and immediately wrote the music the next morning. He then looked around for a month to find out whether he subconsciously plagiarized it from someone else.
The 70th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...
The great Kevin Godley will be the first on the Phile a week from today.
August 8th, 1932 — November 19th, 2017
November 12th, 1934 — November 19th, 2017
Stick a fork in him.
Today's pheatured guest is a talented musician and friend whose latest CD "Story of a Young Couple" is available on Bandcamp. Please welcome back to the Phile... Chris Nelson.
Me: Hey, Chris, welcome back to the Phile. How are you doing, sir?
Chris: Quite well, thanks! It's always great to be here.
Me: So, you were living in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania last time we chatted... are you still living there?
Chris: Actually, it's Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Approximately 30 miles east of Harrisburg.
Me: Ahh... You have lived in Pennsylvania all your life, am I right? What's your favorite thing about living there?
Chris: I grew up in northeast Pennsylvania near a town called Towanda. It was really remote. I lived there until I joined the U.S. Air Force, then I was all over the place. When I left the military, I settled down in this area with my family. My wife is from Pine Grove, which is only about 20 miles north of here. I would have to say that it's my home and I'm familiar with the area. It is the first place that I've been able to put down any roots for a very long time. We have all the seasons, and although it gets cold in winter, there's a certain comfort to the changing seasons. Where we live, we are close to several cities offering shopping and activities, but it still rural enough to be comfortable.
Me: I am glad you are making music still... I thought you quit at one time. Did you quit or just take a break?
Chris: Ha! No, I have been working on this last project during the last four years! I didn't know how big this project was until it was all finished. I'd never attempted anything like this before. In fact, there were a few times when I thought it would never get finished. I kept thinking about the Who's "Lifehouse" project and the Beach Boys' "Smile" album. I worked so hard on this that I think I burned myself out.
Me: Well, like I said I'm glad you are back. I love the new album "Story of a Young Couple." It's described as a novel with music, am I right?
Chris: Yes. It's a blend of literary fiction and music. It has two pieces to it; one of them being a full album of new music and a booklet giving you a deeper understanding of the story and the lyrics to the songs. It tells the story of a family who's kids are almost grown and everyone is getting ready to go their own way. I think of it as a series of emotional photographs. There are a lot of different emotions that everyone experiences such as the parents have difficulty relating to each other, since they always had the kids in the past; the kids all have their own ideas about how their life will turn out. The mother and father are forced to re-acquaint themselves with each other now that the kids are no longer constantly between them. There is a point where they start to think the other one is holding him or her back, but it's only their frustration with change that caused the argument in the first place. There is a recurring theme of disagreement with the choices the kids are making. The father disagrees, but mother believes that they're all good people and will make the right decisions in the end. The oldest child is convinced she's going to be an entertainer, but has no clue how to get to her goal. The middle daughter, who is doing well in school is praised for her achievements only to berate her father about putting too much pressure on her to succeed. The youngest child believes that work is for suckers and crime is the best career path. Obviously, the father has something to say about that. The kids are all convicted that the father doesn't know what he's talking about when he tries to give them advice about the way things are. At one point, all the kids gang up on him, telling him they no longer need him. This, in turn, sends him into an emotional nose dive where he begins to question everything about his life and where he's going. All during this time, the mother still insists that the kids are going to be all right, even if they make a few mistakes when they're starting out. It's only his love for his wife that keeps him together, as you find out in Chapter 13. There's a part at the climax in Chapter 17, where after the oldest kid leaves the house, she's declaring her independence, then after she gets it, she realizes that leaving home wasn't going to be as easy as she thought it would. She still needed to know that her parents would be there when she needed them.
Me: Was that your plan going into the album... writing an album that tells one story?
Chris: Sort of...I had written a song called "Story of A Young Couple" which was basically a musical autobiography of me and my wife. One day, the story idea came to me and I began writing some other "chapters" that filled out the story. Later on, I decided that this would be more than a concept album; I was actually interested in breaking some new ground. That's when I decided there should be a book that goes with the music.
Me: Who are the characters on the album, Chris? Are they based on real people?
Chris: As the introduction says, these people could be anybody. I chose to keep them faceless and nameless to let the listener/reader be able to more fully identify with the characters. While they do have individual characteristics, I thought that listeners would be able to fill out these shells with people from their own life, giving them a much more personal listening and reading experience. I did borrow a few things from my own experiences both as a parent and as a child. Other things were from listening to other people and their experience with their children and parents. There are also things in there I picked up from either television shows, movies, or books I read.
Me: The album has seventeen chapters, or songs as it were, was that the number you planned? Altogether there's 18 as there's a prologue.
Chris: The prologue introduces you to the story, sort of a "once upon a time" introduction catching you up to where the story actually begins. Ironically enough, this was the kernel that led to the rest of the project, so I thought it would be fitting to use that as an introduction. I approached the length of this the way I would approach writing a novel. The length is as long as it takes to tell the story. I didn't know how many songs it would take to fill the album, I just know one I had covered all the topics I wanted, that I would be finished with it.
Me: In the 90s Squeeze did something similar with the album "Play" which was a play. I can easily see this album put on an a musical... or play. Did you ever think of that?
Chris: Absolutely! I would love to see this as a musical, although I don't know a thing about how make that happen. If any of you reading this know how and would like to help me, please contact me through this blog, I'd be interested in your ideas. I will have to find that Squeeze album. They're a favorite of mine.
Me: How long did the album take to write altogether, Chris?
Chris: Well, it felt like forever. I want to say approximately two years... that's just writing the songs. I started writing this when I was still working on the "Once in a Blue Mood" album. I would take turns between writing the songs for this and finishing the recordings for the "Blue Mood" album. It was a little intense. I thought I had the thing finished about three years ago, but when I went back to it, I'd forgotten some of the songs and some of the melodies, so I had to start all over again, writing about four or five more songs. Then, when I was getting ready to record, I found that I had used the same melody for two different songs on the project, so I had to go back and fix that. There were also a few outtakes, that is, songs which didn't contribute as much to the story as I thought they would have. From start to finish, I worked on it for about four years, but that was just with the recording. The book portion took about two days from start to finish. I actually felt the momentum to continue working on it when everything was finally done.
Me: So, you have a family of your own... what do they think of it, or your music in general?
Chris: They like some of my songs, but I don't play a lot of my recordings at home unless I'm working on them. If they hear my music, it's probably when I'm playing live during a practice session. I know that they like "The Invisible Man" and "Circles" gets stuck in people's heads. My wife has asked me make CD versions of all my albums for a permanent record. I think of it as leaving a memento of me for when I am no longer in the world. That's still a long way away, however, but I'm thinking ahead a little there.
Me: I know you have a daughter... do you have any other kids? Are they into playing music, Chris?
Chris: I have two daughters and a son. Both of my daughters sang backup for me on a track from my last album. My son is a good drummer, but he lost interest as he got older. He tried playing guitar for a while, but I don't think that it spoke to him. He also is a very good freestyle rapper. My younger daughter has expressed an interest in piano, but until recently, she's been focusing on other things. She's a great singer and I think she has some ideas for songs she'd like to write.
Me: So, when you write do you write with an acoustic guitar? Did you make a bunch of demos first?
Chris: Mostly I write music with an acoustic guitar, however I have written songs using a bass guitar and one song I composed entirely in my head before I was able to play it on anything. If the songs has a heavier sound, I'll use an electric guitar so I can get the feel for the song. For this project, I wrote two songs on the piano. To me, that's an accomplishment, considering I can't play the piano very well. My usual method is to get a tune idea, play it on the guitar, then come up with words for it after I've played the tune a few times. In some cases, a phrase or a word will stick out and everything just wraps around it. That was the case with Chapters 2, 7 and 13. That also was the case with some of the songs on the "Blue Mood" album, too.
Me: You play all the instruments on the album which is great... what instrument was the hardest for you to play, Chris?
Chris: The piano. That is one tough instrument. I think of that as 44 unrelenting keys... scary! I won't say that I play the piano, rather, I elicit piano-like sounds from the instrument. It all sounds good in the recording, but I don't think it would go all that well in a live environment. However, when I was a kid, I had taken trumpet lessons at school and that didn't go really well either.
Me: What is your favorite instrument altogether?
Chris: It's a tie between drums and guitar. I started my musical life as a drummer, so I will always have a soft spot for that instrument. I also love playing guitar, especially in a band. There's a feeling I get that I can't really describe during a live performance. It brings me back to the guitar every time. I'd really like to play in another band, but I don't want to play covers of the same material I played in high school! There really aren't a lot of venues here that support original music and I don't want to have to drive to Philadelphia all the time just to find an receptive audience.
Me: Was this a fun album to record, Chris?
Chris: I think its fun to record, bringing something from the imaginary into the physical world. This project was different from others in that it is actually one large piece and everything has to fit together, so there was no margin for error. That put a lot more pressure on me to succeed. I also felt that I was way out of my comfort zone, so that also contributed to the pressure. A lot of the songs on my last album were well-received by a lot of folks, so although I wanted to do something new, I was afraid I'd drive away some of the newer fans. I was working in some styles that I had never worked with before, like Chapter 4, which has a gospel-like feel to it, or Chapter 16, which is traditional rhythm and blues. I went out on a limb and then climbed off the branch, altogether! There were also a lot of setbacks during these sessions. My 8 track recorder broke and I had to figure about a new way to record the live drums. I wound up getting some new equipment and re-learning how to multitrack record on the computer! That was rough. The last thing you want to do during a recording session is learn how to use new equipment and software! I began to feel better once I was in the mixdown and mastering phase. That's when I had time to listen to the whole project and what I'd intended to do. I made a point to listen to the album while I was reading the book to get the same experience that I would expect other listeners to have. I felt positive about was I was doing at that point. I'm reluctant to use the "A" word here, but I think this is a work of art more than it is a rock album.
Me: Being a novel or some sort, would you ever write a real novel? I bet it'll be good.
Chris: I have written several science fiction novels and a bunch of short stories, some of which had been published at one time or another throughout the 1990s. I also have another novel that I started three years ago and I hope to finish sometime this year. Here is another place where I stepped out of my comfort zone. I have never written any literary fiction and didn't really desire to do so until this project. I thought that music would be a great way to explore this story. Since it is an emotional story, music is a great way to convey those emotions within the confines of the story. I used different musical styles to illustrate who was saying what as well as how they were saying it. After I began working on this, that's when I thought a book would heighten the listener's experience. This is a story that isn't told very often and I thought this would be a unique way to do it.
Me: So, in the past we talked about working on a project together... can't remember if we talked about that on the Phile or off-line. Anyway, if you still wanna do that I have a "band" name... and no, it's not Strawberry Blondes Forever. It's... are you ready? This will be great. Moisture Rocket! It could either be Chris Nelson and the Moisture Rockets. What do you think? I love it myself. Hahahaha.
Chris: Ha ha! Moisture Rocket it is, then! I have the other two sets of lyrics and I'll begin working on them soon. I also have a few more musical ideas that I will record and send you. Since I put many things off to get this album completed, I have to catch up on everything that I had put off. I also think I have an idea for a graphic to use for the project.
Me: Cool. So, do you have any other projects you are working on? Have you been playing live?
Chris: I haven't played live for about five years, now. I got tired of playing to people who were only marginally aware that I was actually in the room and not on a radio somewhere. I am, however, working on putting together a live show with another local musician here named Jayme Jack, but scheduling is a little challenging. He's the former lead singer for Melancholics, an indie band out of Las Vegas. I'm also working on recording some of his songs, too. He's planning to record a solo album. I am also looking into the ability of performing a live show on the Internet for some of my fans that are not close by. I think they'd appreciate that. Right now, it's the availability and capability of my equipment that I have to check into first. I'll announce something on social media once I get all the details worked out. I'm also working with an Australian country music singer named J. Crew. I'm recording a backing track of one of his songs, so it will be countrified alternative when it's done. I heard his acoustic version and I asked him about doing a full studio version of the song. I am about ready to begin recording another one of Jack Trudel's songs, too. Jack is a songwriter out in southern California that writes songs and asks others to perform or record them. I have been recording his songs for about ten years now. I also have plans to release more of my own material. I am planning on doing a mostly-instrumental album in the style of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" album next. I'm going to take my time and relax a little, first.
Me: So, I have to ask who did the artwork for the album? It's cute.
Chris: I was looking for simple, childlike drawings to use for the cover. I searched the clip art section of MS Publisher to find what I needed and rearranged some of the items and combined others using Adobe Photoshop. I added the text and laid out the book in MS Publisher.
Me: Thanks, Chris, for being back on the Phile... it's been too long. Mention your website and anything else and I wish you continued success. Keep making music and come back on the Phile soon. Remember... Moisture Rocket. Hahaha.
Chris: I have no plans to retire anytime soon. I think I have at least two more albums in me and I'd like to do some more collaborative work with other musicians. I'd also like to produce some other local artists' projects, too. There are a few people I have been pestering to make solo albums and I would love to be a part of their projects. I have learned a lot since I've been recording my own material and I am ready to share that knowledge and experience with others. Here are the links: My web site: chrisnelsonband.com, Facebook: facebook.com/chrisnelsonband.
Me: Fantastic! I'll have you back on the Phile again soon. Take care, and have a good Thanksgiving.
That about does to for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Chris Nelson for a great interview. The Phile will be back on Wednesday with "Weird Al" Yankovic! I'm so fucking excited! 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