Good evening, and welcome to the Phile for a Wednesday. How are you? Happy Hanukkah. On this first day of Hanukkah, I wanted you to know that I know it's the first day of Hanukkah.
Well, well, well, the results of Alabama's U.S. Senate special election are certainly special indeed. Last night, Doug Jones narrowly defeated alleged pedophile Roy Moore, becoming the first Democrat to hold that Senatorial seat in 25 years. Yep, despite an endorsement from President Trump himself, Moore still couldn't secure a victory in the deeply red state. If this is any indication of how midterm elections are going to play out, 2018 is going to be an interesting year.
After Republicans lost a Senate seat in one of the reddest state in the Union, people in the party immediately started blaming Steve Bannon. The investment banker-turned-blogger-turned-White House chief strategist-turned-blogger again backed Roy Moore in what he considered to be a populist insurgency. But alas, Alabama voters (thank you, black women!!!!) were dubious about being represented by an alleged pedophile. Republican consultants and commentators proceeded to dunk on him right away. The Bannon-bashing continued on TV this morning when Republican congressman Peter King called on him to leave politics, and said he looks like "some disheveled drunk that wondered onto the political stage." People from both sides of the aisle came together to celebrate that stellar burn. Other people also chimed in to say it's too late for the Republicans to try and distance themselves from the disheveled drunk. It's a month early, but 2018 has officially begun.
Ohhh boy. It turns out that Keaton Jones, the little boy who went viral when his mom recorded him talking about being bullied at school, is the son of a jailed white supremacist. See, this is why we can't have nice things. After Keaton's mother posted the video in which he talks about being bullied at school, he received support from tens of thousands of people on social media, some of whom were big name celebrities like "Stranger Things"' Millie Bobby Brown, Chris Evans, and Snoop Dogg. Now the attention is turning to his father, Shawn White, who, according to TMZ, is a white supremacist who's in a Tennessee jail. He's posted lots of racist stuff on his Facebook page, including memes saying "Keep Calm and be White Pride," and "Aryan Pride." White (apt last name) also has the words "pure breed" and "white pride" tattooed on him. Yesterday, Keaton's mother, Kimberly Jones, tried to explain away pictures of Confederate flags on her own Facebook page, saying they were meant to be funny. Maybe they're not quite as ironic as she's making them out to be?
Grab your blast shields and tell your family you love them because there's a war going on just outside your door. There's a war... on Christmas, and Ivanka Trump is leading the charge. Still silent on Donald's disgusting tweet insinuating that Senator Kirsten Gillibrand prostituted herself for campaign donations, Complicit Ivanka has chosen this moment (of all things) to defy the president's dogma. As everyone knows, it is President Trump who single-handedly revived the celebration of Jesus's birthday here in America, a day that otherwise went unnoticed with Obama in office. WE DON'T SAY "HAPPY HOLIDAYS" IN TRUMP'S AMERICA. American values are under attack. Ivanka converted to Judaism in 2009, and while that didn't motivate her to condemn her father for defending Nazis, it did inform her holiday greeting.
If you have not experienced Man Flu yourself, you may have encountered it through a man in your life sniffling slightly then collapsing nearby and bemoaning all the pain he is in, while you nearly pull an eye muscle from eye-rolling so hard. Man Flu may incite the sufferer to fail to partake in simple household chores and remind you of that time you took care of the whole house while dealing with a stomach bug or headsplitting period cramps. Now, a scientist... who is a man... has completed a study asserting that Man Flu is a real thing. According to CBC, Dr. Kyle Sue published an article in "British Medical Journal" detailing his study of Man Flu. "I've been criticized for exaggerating my symptoms when I had the flu," he said. "I thought. You know what? This would be an interesting topic to look into." Sue explained, "Since about half of the world's population is male, deeming male viral respiratory symptoms as 'exaggerated' without rigorous scientific evidence could have important implications for men." Sort of like men dismissing women's period symptoms for all of eternity? Let's throw in some more biology and consider pregnancy sickness, which, like period symptoms, can affect a woman's ability to function and negatively impact her status in the work environment. In his study of male and female mice, Sue discovered the the male mice had weaker immune systems. Sue believes this is because of men's higher lever of testosterone. "Testosterone is a hormone that actually acts as an immunosuppressant," he said, "whereas estrogen works in the opposite direction. They stimulate the immune system. So men with higher testosterone actually end up being more susceptible to viral respiratory and tend to get them worse." Sue said that men "are suffering from something we have no control over" in regards to Man Flu and "should be given the benefit of the doubt rather than being criticized for not functioning well during the flu or the common cold." Again: women, menstruation, pregnancy. As for the Man Flu "cure," Sue suggested, "Perhaps now is the time for male-friendly spaces, equipped with enormous televisions and reclining chairs, to be set up where men can recover from the debilitating effects of man flu in safety and comfort." Rejoice, men, I sure will!
Do you kids like Altoids? Well, have you seen their new ad?
True. Haha. So, one thing you might not know about me is I like to follow the rules. Some people take it just a little too far though...
Well played. If I had a TARDIS I would go back in time to see them film the first Star Wars movie. But knowing my luck I'd see them just film this and wouldn't meet anybody...
I'd just wanna meet Carrie Fisher again and maybe have sex with her. Wait. She was only 19 or so then. Never mind. Moving on... So, I was supposed to Google "Dumbledore" the other day but instead I Googled "Bumbledore" and this is what I found...
Hahahahaha. Man, Donald Trump Jr. sure tweeted some weird shit in his time...
Wow! My fucking brain just melted. Doug Jones sure is not wasting time in Alabama, people...
Ha! So, do you know who the world's biggest asshole is? I'll show you.
Yup. Okay, so, I saw this pic the other day...
And it reminded me of something. And then it hit me...
Hahahahaha. That cracks me up! Hey, do you know what net neutrality is? I'll help you understand...
See? So, a "friend" of the Phile wanted to come on here and talk about Trump's sexist Gillibrand tweet. So, here once again is...
Sarah: Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling, Clementine. Hello, Jason.
Me: Hello, Sarah. So, two days ago New York Senator (and future President?) Kirsten Gillibrand called on Trump to resign amid the growing number of sexual assault allegations against him. He didn't take it well.
Sarah: Which is why, early that morning while some of us were blissfully sleeping, the President of the United States went after Gillibrand on Twitter, Jason.
Me: Yeah, I know. He called her a "lightweight," a "total flunky for Chuck Schumer," and creepily implying she once tried to bribe him with sexual favors. Sarah, I think Senator Gillibrand is owed an apology from President Trump...
Sarah: Why? Because many, including the Senator, think that it's about sexual innuendo? Only if your mind is in the gutter would you have read it that way. So, no.
Me: I know fifth graders' with better comebacks than that, Sarah. You said the same thing to April Ryan at a press conference, Sarah. I love Ryan's facial expression after your "gutter" comment. It's just too relatable.
Me: SAME, APRIL RYAN. Same. Meanwhile, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand had her own response to Trump's Twitter attack...
Me: Thanks, I guess, for coming back on the Phile, Sarah.
Sarah: You're welcome, perv.
Me: Sarah Huckleberry Sanders, everybody.
If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, I have to mention something in case I forget. On Monday I was supposed to have lead singer of the Smithereens, Pat DiNizio here on the Phile. Sad to say Pat died yesterday, only 62-years-old. The group announced his passing on their website but with no cause of death was given. The Smithereens were one of my favorite bands in the 90s and Pat will be missed. I'm hoping to have another member of the band here on the Phile in a few weeks. Okay, it's time to talk football with my good friend Jeff.
Me: Hey there, Jeff, welcome to the Phile. How are you?
Jeff: Always good to be back on the Phile. I've been sick for a few weeks now, plus having eye issues. But hey, other than that I'm just dandy!
Me: Jeff, I'm sorry to hear that. So, the reason the Phile is on Wednesday this week is because tomorrow night I am gonna see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. When are you seeing it? Are you excited for the film?
Jeff: All local theaters are sold out so I'm not sure when I will get to see it unfortunately. Plus work is really busy lately and OT and all, so hopefully soon! Of course I'm excited. I have a feeling it will be spoiled for me before I see it.
Me: I hope not. Okay, let's talk about NFL news... this is nice... The Steelers Facetimed Ryan Shazier from his hospital bed so he could celebrate the win with them. Do you think Ryan will be back playing with them next year, Jeff?
Jeff: I'm not a doctor so I don't know. I have a bad feeling about it though. Some of the things I read said he might not ever walk again let alone play football. They wore t-shirts and cleats in honor of Ryan for the game as well.
Me: This is a crazy story... There’s no love lost between the Dallas Cowboys fans and Philadelphia Eagles fans. Shortly after the conclusion of the Eagles-Rams game in Los Angeles, it was reported that Philadelphia Eagles star QB Carson Wentz, suffered a season-ending ACL injury. Did you see several Cowboys fans took to Twitter to taunt the Eagles and their fanbase? Why do you think they were so mean? When does this date back to? This is one of the tweets...
Me: So, what's the story?
Jeff: Yeah, I saw that. You know me, I don''t like cheering for injury no matter who it is. I'm not sure the year the fan was referring to but I remember watching it happen. The Eagles fans did cheer when WR Michael Irvin was injured. But Eagles fans booed Santa so what do you expect from them?
Me: So, any other NFL news?
Jeff: The biggest story of the week involves Texans QB Tom Savage. He took a nasty hit and was on the ground shaking. He was taken off the field but minutes later was back on the field. He only played one more series before coming out again. Many fear he was playing with a concussion, despite the concussion protocol that's in place to prevent that from happening. Plus New England lost on Monday! So that's always a good week!
Me: Disney has taken over another team tis week by the way...
Me: What do you think?
Jeff: That one is cool. Even if it is the Ravens.
Me: Okay, so, the fucking Cowboys beat the Giants, the Steelers won... ugh... how else did we do this week, Jeff?
Jeff: Must have been like a Freaky Friday week, because I went 0-2 this week while you went 2-0. So you gained on me. Steelers won, Giants lost. The only reason I'm winning as much as I am is because of the Steelers record over the Giants record. If it wasn't for that I would only have a 4 point lead, but I have a 13 point lead because of the Steelers.
Me: Ha! Alright, let's pick this week's picks... I say Raiders by 1 and Seahawks by 3. What do you say?
Jeff: My picks for the week are Jags by 4 and Vikings by 7.
Me: Great job. I'll see you back here next Thursday on A Peverett Phile Christmas 9. Have a good week, Jeff. Stay warm.
Jeff: See you for Christmas!
Hey, do you like trivia? Well, I have some you can use at the holiday party. It's time for just the...
Phact 1. In 2013, a Pizza Hut GM stood up and refused to force his employees to work on Thanksgiving, believing they should get to spend time with family instead.
Phact 2. Years before she was famous, Keira Knightley played Natalie Portman’s double in The Phantom Menace, and when the girls were in full makeup, even their mothers had trouble telling them apart.
Phact 3. Humans are the only mammals that develop breasts that are permanently enlarged.
Phact 4. Twenty-eight fossils of the largest extinct species of snake were discovered in a coal mine of Columbia. The Titanoboa lived about 65 million years ago. The species clocked out at about 48 feet long and weighed roughly 2,500 lb.
Phact 5. As a child, martial arts actor Jet Li was asked by Richard Nixon to be his personal bodyguard. Li replied, “I don’t want to protect any individual. When I grow up, I want to defend my one billion Chinese countrymen!”
This is really cool. Today's pheatured guest is an American musician, singer and songwriter best known for his song "Someday, Someway," a Top 40 hit in 1982. His great album "Field Day" was just remastered and reissued on vinyl, and his latest EP "Thank You, Rock Fans!!" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile, the great... Marshall Crenshaw.
Me: Hello, Marshall, welcome to the Phile. I have been trying to get you here on the Phile for years. How are you?
Marshall: I'm good. Thanks for having me. I'm in show business... I'm supposed to go around and talk about myself.
Me: Okay, you have been in the music business since the 80s, sir. I remember my dad playing your music in his home studio. Anyway, do you think your music and the way you are is a lot different from back then?
Marshall: Oh, god, I don't know. I guess I have to say I'm a more mature person who sort of understands how the world works. I don't know, it was fun doing all that stuff back in the day but there was a lot of pressure... self afflicted pressure and a lot of pressure from outside. I wouldn't change anything, I really wouldn't, but I still get up on stage and play with a rock and roll band. I'm so glad I have the strength still to do it. I mean I don't think there's a sell by date or an expiration date on that. I don't think there is an end in sight right now.
Me: You live in New York City, am I right?
Marshall: No, I live about two hours north of there.
Me: Ahhhh... Did you make a lot of videos back in the day, Marshall? Somehow I don't think you did... but then again we didn't have MTV where we lived on Long Island to my dad's chagrin.
Marshall: Well, there was one for "Whenever You're On My Mind" and one for "Little Wild One." We went over to England to make the one for "Whenever You're On My Mind" and dressed up as pirates. MTV was pretty good to us the beginning but none of that lasted and we just had our little flirtation with mass culture. I guess you could say it lasted from about 1982 to 1987... it was over by then. After La Bamba it just kinda wore down.
Me: Your second album "Field Day" was just reissued on vinyl which was pretty cool. It's cool Steve Lilywhite produced it... anyway, what was it like recording your second album compared to the first album? And how did you get to work with Steve?
Marshall: A) It was nobody's idea but mine. It was simply that I wanted to work with him, there's no more to it than that. I did my first album and there was a lot of layering and overdubbing. I worked with a producer named Richard Gottehrer. Last time I saw him we were really glad to see each other and that was a few years ago. I actually was really happy to see him so I guess we are still pals. The first thing we would do is track the bass and drums. They were recorded together simultaneously. I would do just a scratch guitar and after that he would say, "I want you to put down six acoustic guitars for some thickening." That was his term... thickening. So, I'd do it but after it was all said I done I said I didn't really hear my guitars on the record. It wasn't me, it's just sound. I am the guy that played it all. Anyway, the next album I wanted to use a different approach. I didn't want a bunch of layering of instruments, I wanted to hear a band. I just heard a lot of Steve's records and I knew there weren't a lot of instruments on them but they still sounded magnificent, larger than life. So we got together and immediately hit it off personally because Steve is really a warm person and very charming. That was it. He as the only producer I talked to. I knew he was brilliant and exactly the guy I wanted to work with and that was it. The thing was though my A&R person in New York knew who Steve was and knew what I was on about but he was kinda an enigma in Burbank, they didn't know who he was and didn't understand why I wanted to make a record that sounded like that. They sort of just had a different set of ideas in their minds about what it would be. Then after the fact people said he must've got led down the garden path by somebody. Now there's a new vinyl reissue is out it's like all the old wounds have been reopened. I haven't been thinking about this for 35 years but it's now all fresh in my mind, the controversy about this album... I thought it was really crazy and stupid at the time. I didn't get it then, and I still don't get it. It is a great rock and roll record for me to make and it came from me and no one else.
Me: I'm sure you heard it recently on vinyl, Marshall, what do you think of it?
Marshall: Hearing it again I remember how proud of it I was and how much I loved it. After all that thing I felt like Phil Spector after "River Deep Mountain High." I tried to give you something great... fuck you, world.
Me: Hahaha. That's brilliant. So, after "Field Day" came out was it a lot easier for you making the other records or was it always a battle?
Marshall: I was pretty dispirited. I was kinda in a box I couldn't get out of in certain ways. But when it came to do the work I always gave it everything I had. I just kept going back doing that, doing that and doing that. After awhile I came to realize that show business is rough like a mine field. The fact I got anything out of it is a miracle. That's really true, you just gotta get out there. There's no law book or rule book or road map. Some people go through it and don't come out the other side. There's a lot of things that can go wrong, but... Also I can look back and think this thing I did was a mistake or maybe I did that to this person or the choice I made was a bad choice. Let's see, I came up with a little formula at one point... I said sometimes I was clueless, sometimes I was careless, and sometimes I was unlucky. It was either one of those three things. Anyway, I know the work I did was good. Some of it I like better than some others.
Me: So, you have a son, right? Is he into your music or your career? My dad was Lonesome Dave from Foghat and I was always into his career, music... even now than more.
Marshall: Yeah, I caught my son who was 9-years-old at the time sitting in front of our families laptop watching my MTV concert, and I started myself watching and listening and he said, "This really isn't bad. It's quite good." So, I Iistened and watched. But I noticed that when I turned my back to the camera you could see a bald spot on the back of my head. I thought I ran out of youth. Another thing, I started out kinda late. I was 28 when my first album came out and it was stressful and everything like that. Before I knew it there was a bald spot. He's now in high school. I don't know what he's gonna do in his life... he's got a black belt in karate. When he was 13 he took three years of classical guitar and he worked hard with that. He took piano lessons with a teacher and he worked really hard on that. He keeps a lot of things to himself, I don't really know other than he's going to community college in the fall. He's really a great kid and music is really this thing for sure. I have a daughter who also a brilliant kid. She's not into music, but in her own right she's pretty powerful.
Me: Alright, so, when you wrote your songs and recorded did you kinda do it for yourself or were you thinking of the public and what they would like?
Marshall: I wanted to get on the radio and have hit records and hit singles. I started out thinking at the ultimate rock manifest was having hit singles. That's really how I felt, I thought hit singles was it.
Me: How would you describe your music, Marshall? I would say power pop rock.
Marshall: I think it way to simplistic to say it's power pop, which it isn't. That's not anything I wanted to do. To me power pop is like anglophile kinda stuff, and I was never an anglophile really. I mean, I might've been that, but I was other things too. Especially with the first album, and with "Field Day," I was really in tune with what was going around me in New York. I was really interested in forward looking stuff that was happening, and I did incorporate influences in what I was doing. It was just real immediate and of the moment... I was always paying attention to rhythm and blues. I'm not trying to be negative or anything, but to me power pop is a thing that exists in a little bubble. I was the opposite of that. Especially when I started out, it was a forward looking and back looking agenda... that was the real crucial thing with me. With "Field Day" I really wanted the club DJs to play my stuff. It was really important to me. That's my process, forward looking, backwards, or any other way.
Me: So, you were on Warner Brothers and Geffen, and now on smaller labels like a lot of people back then. Was it a big change for you? Did it really change how you made records?
Marshall: Around the turn of the century friends of mine and people that I knew that were working for major record labels saw suddenly there was a mass of mergers and stuff. Companies were being observed by bigger companies within a three or four year period around the turn of the century. All of a sudden instead of a dozen major labels there were two or three. Back in the Soviet Union there was only one record label called Melodiya Records and it's getting to be like that now. People at major record labels had to think about quarterly earnings. Their had to be growth at every quarter, others they'd be layoffs job cuts and stuff. It was just murder on people's psyche. All of the sudden the business was transformed. Corporatists came in and swallowed the whole thing. Of course they fucked it up like they fuck up everything. Anyway, when I was on Warner Bros. it was a company, they had to make a profit, and there was art and commerce. Commerce just as much as their was art for sure. My A&R person who I mentioned before just insisted I kept on the roster. A couple times I asked them to let me out after "Field Day," I begged to be let out of my contract but the higher ups at the label said they couldn't let me go, they believed in me. I think that was a lie but I signed a five album deal and they wouldn't let me out when I asked them too. Finally when the fifth album was done and the contract was expired, Karen, my A&R person, asked me to stay. She wanted to work on an extension and I said I didn't want to see that place again. So, I split. My contract was over, so I left. A little time went by and I ended up on the label I did "Life's Too Short" with. That was just a one time thing. After that I didn't want anything with a major label, so I got out the major label game. I could've gotten a deal with another major, I had one offer, but I didn't want it anymore. To me there was to many things absurd with it. I just thought I didn't want to do it anymore and wanted to do something else.
Me: When I first saw the first album cover, and pictures of you I thought of Elvis Costello or Buddy Holly. Did you have that look on purpose?
Marshall: I just had to work with what I was given. Like I said I started to lose my hair a little to soon and that put me a little disadvantage. I wasn't trying to look like Buddy Holly, or Elvis if that's what you're asking me. I just looked the way I looked. I found these glasses in San Francisco in 1979. They had British National Health frames, they just had them in this optometrist that I went to and I thought they were cool. I just happened to play a Fender Stratocaster, which is what Buddy Holly played. A lot of it was just happenstance, but on the other hand I was a nut about Buddy Holly by the time I was five-years-old. That's a fact. I was a fan of his when he was still walking the Earth. I was just a child, so any comparison that anybody made there was certainly some truth to it. I was definitely drawing influence from him directly.
Me: That's cool. You started late in the game, like you said, Marshall. What was that like with you when you were almost 30 and you had a big "career" change?
Marshall: I was kinda terrified most of the time. One minute I was just hanging out with my wife and brother, and a few other people and the next minute my life blew up. It was jarring, but I just look back and realize I was sort of terrified a lot. It was fun too.
Me: I'm glad. Back in the day I was a big Letterman fan and remember you being on his show many of times. I have a screen shot of you on the show...
Me: That's a terrible pic. Anyway, I am guessing he was a big fan, but I read you guys were close friends. Is that true?
Marshall: No, he just liked me. The only time I ever saw him was when I was on the show. That was the entirety of my experience with him. There was one time when I was on the show and he wanted me to do "Mary Anne" from my first record but I had to do something whatever my brand new album was. Someone came backstage and said would I consider doing "Mary Anne" instead of the song that's on my new album and I was like "are you crazy?" I wouldn't do it. Maybe I should have, I don't know.
Me: What other shows did you do? Do you remember?
Marshall: Merv Griffin... but I was on Letterman a few times. They would call me when someone else had cancelled, or they read about something about me in the paper, they would call me and ask if I was around. That was the "Late Nite" one. I was only on the CBS show once... I wasn't on a major label anymore so that didn't really happen. I was on a lot of TV shows... I had this conversation with someone else recently. I don't know, there was a dozen plus. MTV, they ran our concerts... you know, all that stuff. Maybe if I lived on the west coast I would of gotten on Carson or something. I don't know, I have no idea.
Me: Okay. I didn't realize you worked with the Gin Blossoms, which is cool, but I did know you worked on the great Judd Apatow film Walk Hard. I bet that was a great and fun experience for you. And you got to play Buddy Holly in the movie La Bamba which is cool.
Marshall: Yeah, all these things seemed to pop up on an almost cyclical bases. The Gin Blossoms thing came when things had sort of been dire for a little while. Then all of a sudden... boom. It was a miracle. Everything just sort of flipped upside down with that. It's sort of a typical show business career. Just a lot of different ups and downs and funny turns and stuff like that. I don't know.
Me: So, how did the Gin Blossoms thing happen?
Marshall: Well, it was really nice. There was a guy in the band named Jesse Valenzuela and he just kinda looked me up. He found me, which wasn't that difficult, and called me up and we talked and he said all these nice things. I heard of them before. There was one night I went to this joint in Nashville to see and hear a band called Will & the Bushmen and the leader of that band who I'm still friends with is Will Kimbrough. He's really a rock artiste and muso. I was watching Will & the Bushmen and there was this woman standing next to me screaming in my ear as the music was playing. Do you remember back in rock clubs when you saw people screaming in people's ears while the band was playing? This woman was screaming in my ear, and she was the wife of someone I know and like. She's telling me all about this band she supposedly manages out in Tempe, Arizona called the Gin Blossoms. She was saying those guys idolized me and I really wanted her to stop talking and leave me alone. She said she'd send me their album, so she sent me this album that they made themselves and sold at their gigs. It was a real vinyl album, I still have it. Anyway, that happened and two or three years later they had a hit record. I went to see them at Irving Plaza in New York when they were opening for somebody, just to check them out. But I didn't go introduce myself to them at that gig, I just watched the set and left. The next thing that happened I heard from Jesse and he said let's write a song together. We talked a little bit more and discovered we were both gonna be at SXSW in a couple of months. So, we were there and we just spent time working on this tune. The only thing was that it was understood that whatever song we wrote was gonna end up on this movie soundtrack. It was pretty great, I just slid into this amazing situation. It was already in place. They were gonna get a song on the soundtrack anyway. Anyway, we wrote this hit song is what we did which really blew up when it came out so that was nice. I did say on a panel at SXSW I wish I had twenty more of those... then I'd be fine.
Me: I interviewed Will on the Phile back in 2009. He's great. Anyway, for those that don't know the hit song was "Til I Hear It From You" from the Empire Records soundtrack. Growing up were you in different bands, Marshall? Or was being a solo artist the first thing?
Marshall: The first thing I ever did to make a living was play in a rock and roll band. I could never make dime until I got into a band that was making money.
Me: I didn't know as well that you were on the Was (Not Was) album "What's Up, Dog?" How did you end up on that album?
Marshall: That's right, I am. I happened to be friendly with those guys. I mean they are Detroit area guys. The three of us grew up in the Detroit area during the same time frame. I didn't meet them til we were out in the world. Don Was was still living in Detroit when I met him. He was producing a lot of English acts, a lot of dance music and stuff. We had a couple of musical friends from the Detroit area and we just kinda wanted to know each other because I heard their first record which was a thing called "Wheel Me Out." I still love it, it's a great record. I sort of knew of him from people I knew in the Detroit area. I was like, oh, great, Don Fagenson... that's his actual name. I just got a kick out of meeting him and we really liked it each other. The same with David, it became a thing I have like that who are from the Detroit area that came out of it the same I did. There's sort of a bond there... a homeboy factor or whatever you want to call it. I got friendly with those guys right from the beginning of both of our careers, right from the start. I did something on "Born to Laugh at Tornadoes" before the "What's Up, Dog" album.
Me: I mentioned Pat DiNizio passing yesterday from the Smithereens, and you toured a lot with one them. You worked on something of there's as well, am I right?
Marshall: Yeah, the first record that they did that I took note of... I don't know if they'd done anything before that, but they made an EP with Alan Betrock. He's the guy that opened the door for everything. He put out my first record on his label... Shake Records. Everything just gets traced back to dad... to Alan. Anyway, the Smithereens with him and I just got invited to come in and play. I played keyboards actually on a song called "Strangers When We Meet." There's one that they did with Alan that is on the "Beauty and Sadness" EP, they then recut the tune for their first album and that was with Don Dixon. He;s another friend so I got invited to that session too. I played the same parts but on the version with Alan they didn't have an actual Hammond B-3, so I just did it on a synthesizer. Anyway, I plated on that. I played on another one called "White Castle Blues." I've just known those guys right from the start.
Me: Pat was supposed to be on the Phile Monday. When you perform live do you do all old stuff, or new stuff as well?
Marshall: It's always 50% with newer stuff. I never do an oldies set.
Me: That's cool. So, what is next for you? Are you gonna make a new album? I know you released a bunch of EP's on iTunes. What are you working on?
Marshall: What am I working on? Let me see... I'm still out touring. I really could if I really wanted to, I could stop. I don't really need any new songs. I did some tour dates with the Smithereens a couple of years ago and that was supposed to be like a nostalgia type of show. I remember showing up at the first got and I looked at the calendar of events at the venue and more than half of the events had to do with baby boom or nostalgia. There's a lot of that going around, that really is what show biz is right now. When I did those EP's it was a really satisfying and artistic experience. The way the whole thing was designed there was also gonna be something new and there was always something I was working on to get the next thing ready. I have this real nice collaboration going on with singer songwriter Dan Bern. We got on a really good roll and wrote some songs of mine which are my favorites. Anyway, right now I don't feel compelled to make any new records but I won't say I'll never will do it. There's just this other thing I've been working on this documentary that I want to make. About three years ago a friend of mine put up a website about record producer Tom Wilson. My friend Irwin Chusid is a music columnist and DJ, author and stuff and a cool guy. I just had lunch with him the other day. Anyway, he put up this website about Tom Wilson and I was reading it and I just got pulled down the rabbit hole. At the top of the home page Irwin said, "I'm really hoping a film make or an author will see this website and just take the ball and run with it." After a couple of weeks I was just seeing the movie in my head. I couldn't get the idea out of my head and decided I was going to be the one to do it because nobody was going to and I didn't know if anyone was thinking about doing it. I just felt like this was an utterly vital American story as far as stories of popular music goes. This was a profound one. Anyway, I've been working on that for the first year or so I didn't know how I was going to do it, or the slightest idea how to start so I sort of pounded away for awhile. This way or that way, but all this time I was thinking about it. Then finally someone said why don't I just get a Kickstarter campaign, get some money and shoot some stuff myself. I did that, with some help. I crossed paths with some brilliant people. Now I have about sixty hours of material... things are looking really good. I don't want to go into a lot of detail as no one put pen to paper yet but right now things are looking very promising. I am working on that. I'm like seriously obsessed with it honestly.
Me: Okay. That's so cool. I mentioned in your intro the live EP "Thank You, Rock Fans!!" Is this from a recent live show, Marshall? It's so good.
Marshall: Oh, I didn't know about that. There's a live album coming out with that title that is coming out. I'm excited for the reissue of "Field Day." That's the main thing I'm promoting right now.
Me: Okay, I like that. So, I have to ask you what is your biggest regret in your career? And what is your best memory of your career is?
Marshall: There are lots. Some of them I can't talk about. There is one in particular... way back in the day I helped this guy named Allan Slutsky get this book project off the ground. He wanted to do a book about James Jamerson and he called me on the phone out of left field. I don't know how he got my phone number because I didn't know him. Anyway, he asked me to help him and I did. I got him in touch with somebody who sort of opened the door for the whole thing to happen. So then the Jamerson book came out and was a pretty big success then eight years after that I heard from him again and he's telling me he wants to make a film about the Funk Brothers. I thought that's a really dumb idea, how will that work I said to myself. Anyway, it took him a long time, over a decade to really make it happen. My wife and I went to the Woodstock Film Festival to see a screening of it and Allan did a Q&A afterwards. When it was over and we were leaving my wife said, "where are you going?" I said, "It's over. We're leaving." She said, "Go over and say hello to him and tell him who you are." I did and he just threw his arms around me and he said, "The New York premier of the film is happening in two months at the Apollo Theatre. You've got to be at the show and do a song." I really nearly flipped when he asked me but it happened... I got up on stage at the Apollo Theatre. At that moment I looked around and thought I don't care what anybody says, from then on, this is is, my ticket is punched. I really felt that way, like I win. It was amazing that I was standing on that stage.
Me: Well, Marshall, that's very cool, and well deserved. I am so glad I got to interview you.
Marshall: Thank you. I really appreciate it. Maybe I should of said a few more funny things. I know this was a little heavy but thank you very much.
Me: It was great! Go ahead and mention your website, sir, and good luck with the documentary.
Marshall: Marshallcrenshaw.com/. Thanks.
Me: Great job. Please come back again soon.
That about does it for this entry of the Phile, kids. Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz and of course Marshall Crenshaw. The Phile will be back on Saturday with Kiki Dee. I wonder how many of my younger readers know who she is. Anyway, 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