Thursday, January 18, 2018

Pheaturing Phile Alum Kevin Hearn From Barenaked Ladies

Hey there, welcome to the Phile for a Thursday. let's throwback to a happier time before Throwback Thursdays existed. So, we've all been there... you wake up to a yard full of snow, glance up from over the edge of your morning cup of coffee you think, "Fuck. How many inches in that?" After all, a few inches of snow can mean the difference between school being open and a snow day. Or working from the office or working from home! Or, you know, just being a generally productive member of society versus a lazy slob who hangs out in their pajamas all day. Well, one genius woman from North Carolina figured out the best way to measure the depth of the snow without ever having to find a ruler.

Dana Willis determined how much snowfall there was balls-to-tip by pushing pink dildo into the snow. At time of publication, Willis' post has been shared over 3,000 times. Hey, you have to admit...  that is pretty innovative. Plus, it is probably more accurate than whatever the meteorologist is telling you.
Cardiologists not affiliated with the White House are chiming in on the results of President Donald Trump's physical and they are concerned. At the White House press briefing on Tuesday, resident doctor Ronny Jackson announced that despite literally being an inch away from obesity, Trump and his heart are in excellent health because of "incredible genes." The "New York Times" reached out to heart specialists to react to the State of the President's Organs. "Cardiologists not associated with the White House said Wednesday that President Trump’s physical exam revealed serious heart concerns," the "Times" reports, "Including very high levels of so-called bad cholesterol, which raises the risk that Mr. Trump could have a heart attack while in office." Dr. David Maron, the director of preventive cardiology at Stanford Medical School, said that it is "alarming that the president’s LDL levels remain above 140 even though he is taking 10 milligrams of Crestor, a powerful drug that is used to lower cholesterol levels to well below 100." As Dr. Jackson announced, Trump has a cholesterol level of 143. The Stanford doc got real... Dr. Maron said he would “definitely” be worried about Mr. Trump’s risk for having a heart attack if the president were one of his patients. Asked if Mr. Trump is in perfect health, Dr. Maron offered a blunt reply, “God, no.” Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist at the Scripps Research Institute, is worried about Trump's belly. "Here the issue is, does he have abdominal obesity?" Dr. Topol told the "Times." "I don’t care what his height is. All you have to do is look at his abdomen. Abdominal obesity, that’s the machinery for inflammation for the heart."
Meghan Markle, the princess the world needs but does not yet deserve, officially joins the Royal Family on May 19th (order the tea and crumpets now for the ultimate watch party), but is getting some nice engagement gifts from the United Kingdom's allies. And by nice, I mean lame. Markle's brother-in-law-to-be, His Royal Highness Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, went on a royal visit to Finland last November, and a recently published PDF cataloged the gifts he received from the Finns. Prince William scored a lot of cool stuff, including a wristwatch from the president, a bottle of gin, and TWO FABRIC GNOMES!!! Members of the Finnish public also gave Prince William some tchotchkes to pass on to Kate and the kids, including two hobby horses and a necklace. Way down at the bottom of the list, is the gift a Finn gave to Wills to give to Meghan, and it's a goddamn apron. Her first gift as a member of the Royal family and it's something she'll probably never use? "You're getting married... now get in the kitchen and make your man a sandwich!" Come on, Finland. Meghan deserves better. Where are her FABRIC GNOMES? The Welsh, on the other hand, are better gift-givers. Prince Harry and Meghan are visiting Cardiff Castle today, and they scored a traditional Celtic love spoon from cute kids with their names. Wales: 1. Finland: 0.
A sorority girl in Alabama has been outed as a total racist, as per a video from her Finsta (that's a "fake Instagram" account). The video was tweeted by Twitter user @TabisBack, along with the text...

In the video, which was taken in a communal bathroom by the Alpha Phi sister in question, Harley Barber, she can be seen shutting off the water while talking about how much she hates "niggers." It's beyond appalling. The girl in question posted a follow up video after her racist soliloquy was leaked, which was tweeted by the same person. Instead of apologizing, she just doubled down harder, saying how angry she is that someone ratted her out to her sorority. She says that she's in the south now, but she's from New Jersey, so she can say the n-word as often as she likes. She then challenges anyone who wants to "snake" her to buy her fur vest at Neiman Marcus, which is I guess a way of saying she's rich and everyone else can fuck off? The university issued the following statement via Twitter, "These remarks are ignorant and disturbing and in no way reflect the values of The University of Alabama. This unfortunate behavior has been reported to the Office of Student Conduct as it does not align with the community expectations of students at the Capstone. And the sorority says the girl (identified here as Ms. Barber) has been kicked out of their organization." So after all that, this Ms. Barber was probably feeling pretty contrite, right? Wrong. This is what her Finsta looks like now...

Tweeted by the same user, @TabisBack, her Instagram account is now private. WOW. Good-bye to bad rubbish.
Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who Donald Trump allegedly paid $130,000 to in 2016 for her silence concerning an affair they'd reportedly had a decade earlier, had spoken to "In Touch" in 2011, way before signing the NDA. In the interview, she talked about having sex with Trump (her words: "Ugh, here we go"), as well as how impressed he supposedly was with her business savvy. An excerpt of the interview has been published by "In Touch" online, but the full interview can only be read in the actual magazine. According to "Spin," one of the things that made it into the magazine but not the online excerpt is the part where Donald Trump compares Stormy Daniels to his own daughter. Ewwwww, nooooooo. But yes. "Spin" reports that Daniels told "In Touch," “We had really good banter. He told me once that I was someone to be reckoned with, beautiful, smart, just like his daughter." Cue the sound of retching. Trump must mean his daughter Ivanka Trump, who would have been 24 at the time. She, not Tiffany (who was then 11), is the one he's famously sexualized so many times before. Like when he called Ivanka "hot" when she was 16 years old, or like when he told Howard Stern in 2003 that "she's got the best body" (she was by then 21). Or when he said in 2006 on "The View" that he might be dating Ivanka if she weren't his daughter. Again, ewwww, noooo. So it sounds like Donald Trump really liked Stormy Daniels, since he compared her to his ultimate, ideal woman: Ivanka.
If I had a TARDIS I would like to go and see the California Redwoods but knowing my luck I'll get there when they are being chopped down.

So, I was supposed to Google "Tom Hanks" the other day and instead I Googled "Tom Tanks" and this is what I got...

Hahaha. If you're thinking of cheating on your loved one this might make you think twice...

Oh, shit. Do you kids like the Porgs from The Last Jedi? You know that wasn't the first Star Wars movie they made an appearance in, right?

So, if you want to stay at the Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. you might wanna check Yelp first...

Yup. I don't think I'll stay there. Did you see the new Oreo cookie that just came out?

Limited edition so go get them now at the supermarket near you. So, it's the Phile's 12th anniversary and I am showing you what some celebrities looked like in 2006 and what they look like now. In 2006 Beyoncé looked like a glowing, ethereal angel...

And in 2018 she's still a glowing, ethereal angel, but older.

I know the Grammys haven't this year yet. Play along. Hey, it's Thursday, guess what that means?

Tom Buchanan, an Australian kid, claimed the world record for having the most spiders on his body for 30 seconds. He had 125 Golden Orb spiders on his body for a total of 55 seconds. Golden Orb spiders are not poisonous, according to Buchanan, but they do bite and can make your body swell up. Ummm... no.

Hmmm... that has to be the dumbest Mindphuck ever. If you spot it let me know. It's time to talk football with my good friend Jeff.

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

Jeff: Always good to be back on the Phile! I'm doing well, how about you?

Me: You don't wanna know. Man, oh man, oh man, did you see what’s being dubbed the Minnesota Miracle? For those that don't know WR Stefon Diggs hauled in a Case Keenum pass in the final seconds of the NFC divisional round of the playoffs to beat the Saints. This is what happened it looked like from the side lines...

Me: Do you think the name Minnesota Miracle was an exaggeration?

Jeff: No, I don't think it was an exaggeration. Minnesota scored with absolutely no time left on the clock. It's as exciting of a football game as you can get.

Me: Jeff, your Steelers lost to the Jags in another crazy game. What do you think of Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey guaranteeing a win over Patriots and a Super Bowl victory? That would be amazing, right? 

Jeff: First, let me comment on the Steeler game. They deserved to lose. They, and by that I mean the Steelers, made some pretty bad playcalling decisions, namely the two fourth and ones as well as the decision to go for the onside kick. As far as Ramsey's comments, of course every player on the Jags team thinks they are going to beat New England. I don't blame him for getting carried away. That doesn't mean it's going to happen. But it would be nice!

Me: Ben Roethlisberger told reporters after the Playoff loss that he “plans” on coming back next year. Do you think he will? I bet you hope he does, right?

Jeff: I like Ben. I really do. But he can be a bit of a diva. He does this every single year. He speculates about his future minutes after a playoff loss. Yeah, I think he will be back next season.

Me: So, what other NFL news do you have?

Jeff: Most of the news involves the coaching carousel. A lot of teams filling their coaching vacancies with coordinators from other teams. Looks like New England is losing both their offensive and defensive coordinators in the offseason. The Titans on Sunday were talking about extending head coach Mike Mularkey. By Monday, they mutually agreed to his release. Why? Titans wanted to make changes to the staff, Mularkey said no. So he said well then I'll just leave.

Me: Okay, so, how did we do with the Playoffs pics, Jeff? Not good, right?

Jeff: One of us went 2-0, the other went 0-2. So one of us did really well. And that was me! Victory is mine!

Me: Ugh! Okay, let's do this weeks picks... I say Eagles by 3 and I am betting against the Patriots by saying the Jags will win by 10. What do you think?

Jeff: I'll pick opposite of you! So I will go Vikings by 3 and New England by 10 to set up the Super Bowl.

Me: Okay, I'll see you back here next Thursday for when we pick the Super Bowl. Have a good week, Jeff, sorry the Steelers lost.

Jeff: Sounds like a plan! I will see you then. Have a good week.

So, I have ben watching one of my favorite shows from the 90s, "The X-Files" and it got me thinking, why don't I have my own conspiracy theory section on the Phile. So, it's time for...

On August 2nd, 1964, the U.S.S. Maddox opened fire on what it later claimed were several North Vietnamese targets. The skirmish deepened America’s involvement in the Vietnam War, leading to the death of thousands of U.S. soldiers and many more Vietnamese, including hundreds of thousands of civilians. Except, it turned out the “targets” the Maddox fired upon didn’t actually exist. It’s still debated today whether the incident was an intentional misdirection by the military. But one thing is certain: President Johnson’s original claim that the North Vietnamese fired first has been debunked. Even former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara admitted as much in an interview before his death. After all, it’s kind of hard to start a fight when you’re not even there.

Yesterday, President Trump finally announced the winners of his highly-anticipated Fake News Awards... mock accolades given to news outlets that, in the president's opinion, represent the most inaccurate news sources. The results were published to the GOP website, which crashed after seeing record-breaking amounts of traffic. Oops! The winners of the Fake News Awards were, unsurprisingly, the very same news outlets Trump often complains about on Twitter. Congrats to all the big winners (losers?). They are as follows: 11. The Trump campaign's possible collusion with Russia. Although President Trump insists there is no collusion, he is still under investigation from Special counsel Robert S. Mueller. 10. The "New York Times" for claiming on their front page that the Trump administration had hidden a climate report. 9. CNN for reporting that former FBI Director James Comey would dispute President Trump’s claim that he was told he is not under investigation. 8. "Newsweek" (good for you, Newsweek!), for reporting that Polish First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda did not shake President Trump’s hand. Okay, that one is just petty. 7. CNN for their retracted story on Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci’s meeting with a Russian. The three reporters who ran this story were eventually fired from CNN. 6. CNN wins again (they are sweeping!) for the "FALSELY edited a video" that "made it appear President Trump defiantly overfed fish during a visit with the Japanese prime minister." Yes, really. Trump claims that he was simply following Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's lead by dumping his box out into the water. 5. The "Washington Post," for "reporting" that Trump's rally in Pensacola, Florida was empty. This was a tweet, and not an actual news story. The author of the tweet quickly corrected themselves and later apologized for the mistake. 4. "Time Magazine" for reporting that President Trump removed a bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. from the Oval Office. This news was not reported on by "Time," but another viral tweet. 3. CNN for reporting that then-candidate Donald Trump and his son Donald J. Trump, Jr. had access to hacked documents from WikiLeaks. It turns out that the documents in question were publicly available. CNN later published a correction. 2. ABC News' Brian Ross for his inaccurate timeline while reporting on Trump and Russia. Ross was suspended for the "serious mistake." 1. The "New York Times"’ columnist Paul Krugman, an opinion writer who predicted that President Trump would be bad for the economy. He actually retracted the prediction just three days after it ran, but it was too late. He had already made Trump's list. Yes, the President of the United States published his own personal "burn book" on the Internet. Missing from the list are the outlets that tend look at Trump favorably, like Fox News and Breitbart News. The Fake News Awards were also a hit on Twitter, with folks either agreeing with the President, commenting on the list, or just straight-out mocking the whole thing. With the success of the actual Fake News Awards, don't be surprised if President Trump orders an full-fledged, televised award show next year. Stranger things have certainly happened.

The 73rd book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Linda will be the guest on the Phile on Monday.

Space heater
A space heater is a device used the raise the electric bill of a small studio apartment.

Today's pheatured guest is a Phile Alum and a Canadian musician who is currently the keyboardist of Barenaked Ladies and his own group, The Cousins. The Cousins news CD "Rattlesnake Love" and BNL's latest CD "Fake Nudes" are both available on iTunes and Amazon. Please welcome back to the Phile, the very talented... Kevin Hearn.

Me: Hey, Kev, welcome back to the Phlie, sir. It's been awhile. How have you been?

Kevin: Well, it has been a while. I’ve been good, bad, happy, sad, medium, light, mild, spicy, here, there, and other places.

Me: Cool. Haha. Okay, last year you had a very, very busy year, which is good. Do you like to remain busy?

Kevin: I do. I enjoy having projects on the go, and I always enjoy having my creative process going in one form or another. But then, on top of my own endeavours, other things may come up that I must do and then I'm really REALLY busy and that’s what 2017 was like for me.

Me: Let's talk about your album with did with your cousin Harland Williams as The Cousins. I have to show the album cover here...

Me: This is the second time you recorded with your cousin, right?

Kevin: Well, we’ve worked together a lot over the years on different things, but yes, this is the second time we’ve actually released “music."

Me: I have to say Harland is one of my favorite comedians ever. You known him all your life, so I have to ask, has he always been funny and off the wall?

Kevin: Harland has always been Harland. We shared an apartment in the eighties. He was starting standup comedy at that time and I would film his sets. We’d watch back and he’d make notes about how he could improve different aspects of his act. So... yes, he always had that raw talent, but he worked really hard at honing his craft over the years, and now when I see him perform, I am watching a master.

Me: So, whose idea was it to originally start a band out of you two?

Kevin: Well, I was already a musician and in a band. When we lived together we would often make stuff together, go out and film a silly movie, or jam and make up songs. That’s something we continued to do. As the years went by we had a growing pile of songs, or song ideas that we enjoyed listening to. Harland was always saying, “Kev... we’ve gotta make a record!” So I told him, "Okay... for 2017 I am going to make it happen.” So I finished up some of the existing ideas and we recorded a few brand new ones as well.

Me: I love the album "Rattlesnake Love," Kev. Harland has a really good singing voice. He is the songwriter and you write the music, am I right?

Kevin: Well, we both write the songs (that make the whole world sing). All of the ideas are born through us improvising in a room together. He generally writes all the lyrics.

Me: I didn't know what to expect from the album at all, being Harland is a very funny guy. Would you say the album is more serious in nature or more humorous?

Kevin: It is a mix of both. Even when Har tries to be serious I think he puts things in a way that can come off as humorous. He didn’t want to make a “comedy record." And I, working with the funniest human I know, naturally wanted to make weird funny songs. So I think we ended up in a weird halfway kind of place that reminds me a little of Ween or something along those lines. It is all executed seriously. I really enjoyed playing it for people and watching them squirming, waiting to laugh, and then they realize that it’s not just straight up comedy and so they laugh harder, realizing that it’s weird, catchy and interesting on a few different levels.

Me: You have a guest singer on the title track... Carole Pope. Did you know her prior, Kevin?

Kevin: I did a celebration of Lou Reed concert with the CBC in 2014. Carole sang an incredible version of "Waiting For My Man." Thats where we first met. If you don’t know her work check it out. Her band Rough Trade made a classic record called "Avoid Freud" which is one of Harland’s all time favourite records.

Me: Who else plays on the album with you?

Kevin: Oh man. Because the songs were recorded over the years there are a number of cool different configurations. A couple of the songs have the Barenaked Ladies as the backing band and backup vocals. Some are done with my band Thinbuckle. Blaise Garza from the Violent Femmes plays flute on the title track. My friend Maia Davies does some backup singing.

Me: I love the song "The Clown." What's the story about the song?

Kevin: That’s a song from a musical Harland and I talked about doing called "The Clown." It is basically about the inner struggles and the tragic end of a comedian’s life. The song was written many years ago, but took on some extra weight for Harland after Robin William’s death. So we decided to finish it off, so to speak.

Me: I also love the title song, how did that sing get to be the album title?

Kevin: Harland really liked the term "Rattlesnake Love," which he came up with for the song. It seemed like a good fit. I suggested it be the title and Har said, "Yes!" And that was it. Very easy.

Me: "Tropical Horizon" is one of my favorite songs on the album, it's just a sweet song, and what great vocals. I want to say that was you singing, am I right?

Kevin: I am singing in the choruses yes, along with Maia.

Me: Are you guys gonna be recording again together in the future?

Kevin: We hope to make something new this year yes. A punk rock record.

Me: Fantastic! Alright, before we talk about the new BNL album I have to mention the album that came out last year with Persuasions. I love that album. How did that project come to be, Kev?

Kevin: The Persuasions and I had a mutual friend in Lou. I met them at his memorial concert at The Apollo. I was working on a (as yet unreleased) medley of super hero themed songs. They sang one of the sections of it. We had fun doing it and decided to try and do more together, When BNL played in central Park in 2016 The Persuasions joined us on stage for two songs. We then planned to go into a studio together and record something. I’d been expressing interest in doing a stripped down record with BNL for a while, and this seemed like a very cool way to make it fun, exciting and a little different.

Me: For readers that don't know tell the readers who The Persuasions are.

Kevin: They are considered THE acapella group. They were formed in Brooklyn in 1962. Lou Reed took them on tour with him in the 70s. They worked with many people including Lou, Frank Zappa, Joni Mitchell,  etc, etc. Over time they have had some personnel changes, but at the heart of the group were original members Jay Otis Washington and Jimmy Hayes, who named the group.

Me: I love that the album had a mix of newer and older songs. Was it hard to figure out which songs you guys were gonna rerecord?

Kevin: It was fun. I listened through the entire catalogue, listening for songs which could work in that context. I sent this “wish list" to lead singer and arranger Dave Revels. We all narrowed it down from there. Dave would send me phone voice memos of the Persuasions rehearsals. They made my day every time.

Me: "Gonna Walk" and "Don't Shuffle Me Back" both gave me chills when I first heard those tracks. Was there any song that you guys thought was too hard to do with the added singers?

Kevin: Thank you. "Gonna Walk" was a natural fit. "Don’t Shuffle Me Back" is a song from my solo record "Cloud Maintenance" that I just knew had to be included. One of my favourite memories was in the studio, while rehearsing that song, Jimmy Hayes said, “ Kevin, I’d really like to sing that third verse." I was elated! It’s the verse that goes “When I’m feeling blue, I pick up a shoe, pretend it’s a telephone, and that I’m talking to you." It’s one of those things that makes me smile every time I hear it.

Me: Awe. Okay, let's talk about "Fake Nudes." I LOVE puns, so I love that name. Which one of you guys came up with it?

Kevin: That’s a classic Ed Robertson idea right there.

Me: I love that you get to sing quite a few songs on the album, Kev. How do you chose who is gonna have the most songs, or who sings what?

Kevin: In the past Ed or Steve would usually sing my songs (like "The Sound of Your Voice" or "Adrift" for instance), but now we all usually sing our own songs. I haven't had this many songs on a record since our "Snacktime" record. I had a few good songs on the go when it was time to start working on "Fake Nudes," so that's the way the cookie crumbled this time.

Me: So, do you guys all bring your own songs to the band or do you all write together now? 

Kevin: Typically we bring our own songs in. I collaborated with Ed on three "Fake Nude" songs ("Navigate," "Sunshine," and "Nobody Better") which was cool. We all work well together when it comes down to fine tuning the structures of each song.

Me: I think I can figure out who writes what songs... you have more whimsical lyrics, and Ed has more poppy and life is great lyrics. Is that a fair assessment?

Kevin: Well, he has a great life. Ha. I don’t know. Perhaps on this record  you may have a point there if you compare his "Lookin' Up" to my "Flying Dreams." But then you take a look at his song "Sunshine"   and your theory goes to shit. Ha ha.

Me: Ha! Okay. "Invisible Fence" is such a great song... that song is a sly reference to Trump's "wall," am I right?

Kevin: There is a nod to it, yes. But the song is not really about him, or politics. It’s more about denouncing racism in general and sending out a positive message.

Me: Did you guys plan to have a more serious political overtone nudge nudge wink wink feel to this album?

Kevin: No, we didn’t. But I think that current events usually find their way into our writing. I think you’ll find that on all of our records.

Me: "Lookin' Up" I think should be the next big summer jam... I love that song. It's very positive, and very complex musically. When you write and record a song like that do you guys think how the hell are you gonna do that live or does that not even faze you guys?

Kevin: If it’s a decent song, it should be able to work around a campfire with an acoustic guitar. And so we adjust accordingly.

Me: Is there any song you recorded over the years that you thought you guys could never pull off live?

Kevin: "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" with Sarah Maclaclan. Ed keeps introducing her and then she is never there. It’s sad really.

Me: Haha. "Bag of Bones" is another great song, Kev, that you sing. What is the story behind that song?

Kevin: I don’t know! I came up with the main little riff, “Big dogs barking dogs biting dogs,"... and went from there.

Me: So, you guys are gonna go out on a new summer tour, I plan to see you guys in St. Augustine. Is touring something you look forward to still?

Kevin: I do enjoy the shows and seeing the country. In St Augustine I always like going to the alligator farm. They have an albino alligator there who is really cool. I met a very racist man in a leather goods shop there. He also inspired the "Invisble Fence" song.

Me: You are such a great writer and artist, and very imaginative... have you ever thought of writing a novel or an autobiography, Kev?

Kevin: Thank you. I’m planning on doing a book with my drawings in it.

Me: Cool. I love your drawings. By the way, the last album was funded through Pledgemusic, as well as the album before that... I got the CD, socks, and t-shirt so I did my part. Is that something you guys will continue doing from project to project? I think it's a great idea for the fans to be a part of it.

Kevin: Well, if you need new socks let us know, and that will be the way we do it.

Me: So, I was thinking, you guys play so many instruments on the albums, you especially, but I don't think there's been any kazoo on a BNL song. I happen to play the kazoo, so if you ever need a fifth member that plays kazoo... hahahaha. Anyway, Kev, thanks so much for being back on the Phile. I wish you guys continued success. You know, and my readers know, BNL is my favorite band. Mention your website and I'll see you guys on the road. Take care.

Kevin: Well, you’d better go practice your kazoo and bring it to St Augustine. We’ll take you to the alligator farm and see if they enjoy a little Jason kazoo. Check out my instagram page kevinhearnmusic. I’m also on Soundcloud. Check out how The Cousins work and more at and don’t forget to Google Barenaked Ladies "Fake Nudes" to check out our new record. Have a great 2018, Jason ! Thanks for your thoughtful questions, minus the kazoo one.

Me: You are so welcome. Haha. Come back again soon.

That about does it foe this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz and of course Kevin Hearn. The Phile will be back Sunday with singer Taylor Mac. 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

No comments: