Hey kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you doing? Happy Presidents Day, everyone! Let's celebrate Presidents Day with the reckless abandon of a local appliance store. Happy Presidents Day to someone I can't believe is president of something. Do you think Trump reads the Phile?
It's reasonable to assume that most, let's say 98% of the population understands that paramedics are hardworking people who set out to save lives daily. Despite the obviousness of this statement, there is still a stubborn 2% of the population who would rather place their temporary comfort over people's actual lives. Yesterday morning a crew of paramedics from the West Midlands Ambulance Service in the U.K. were greeted with a rude message from a neighbor of their emergency caller. The angry note was left on the ambulance while the paramedics were busy responding to the emergency call. Naturally, they felt both baffled and frustrated by the lack of consideration for the existential nature of their job. The alarmingly selfish note reads, "If this van is for anyone but number 14 then you have no right to be parked here. I couldn't give a shit if the whole street collapsed. Now move your van from outside my house!" Apparently, the rude neighbor not only left the mega grumpy note, but berated the paramedics with verbal abuse as well. Several other emergency responders posted their solidarity with the workers on Twitter. While others on Twitter chimed in to say how much they appreciate emergency responders and the crucial work they do. Hopefully everyone on the scene came home to a hot pot of tea and a spread of delicious biscuits, because being rude to emergency responders is absolute nonsense.
A Carnival cruise turned into a true vision of violent hell during its 10 day voyage in the South Pacific, when a series of brawls broke out and transformed the vacation into a vision of unchecked brutality. The Carnival legend eventually booted a large family group off the cruise, and placed them in a smaller boat before docking in Australia on Saturday. While it's still unclear if there was a precise moment triggered the brawling, several of the passengers said the large family arrive on the cruise ship looking for trouble. Fellow passenger Kellie Peterson told 3AW, “They were looking for trouble from the minute they got on the ship. My husband said to take it away, because there’s kids here, and five of them surrounded my husband. They told us to watch our backs." Another passenger noted a confrontation that blew up after they accidentally stepped on someone's show. "This is all over a thong (flip-flop sandal)... not a foot, a thong being stepped on," another passenger told 3AW. After the passenger who stepped on the thong apologized, the owner of the shoe started to feud. A few of the outbreaks of violence have been captured on camera and surfaced online. According to Peterson, the violence got so bad many passengers chose to stay in their rooms because they feared confrontation from the unruly guests. "Fights have been going on for a few days now. We're scared. We've been told to watch our backs by this group so we're scared to go anywhere alone in the ship. We can't wait to get off," Peterson told radio station 3AW. To make matters worse, the security crew on the ship did not handle the situation well. As evidenced in the videos, there were several reported instances of security getting in on the violence. Passenger Michael Haddara told "The Herald" that security guards waved broken bottles at passengers as an intimidation tactic, and "put handcuffs around their hands, as knuckle dusters." As evidenced in the videos, several security staff members also attempted to confiscate video footage of the violence. “The actions seen on the video by our security team are not in line with our Carnival values and policies. We are conducting a full investigation and will take appropriate corrective action as necessary," a spokeswoman said in a statement. The cruise line offered all guests aboard a 25% credit to make up for the issues, barring, of course, the 23 violent guests that were kicked off the boat. "We sincerely regret that the unruly conduct and actions of the passengers removed from the ship in Australia may have prevented our guests from fully enjoying their cruise," Carnival said in a statement.
In a recent edition in their Chart of the Week feature, Visual Capitalist released a fascinating map of every state’s biggest employer. While a lot of the data isn’t exactly mind-blowing (MGM is number one in Nevada, for example), what is surprising is Walmart’s absolute domination. While Amazon may rule supreme in online sales, the brick-and-mortar retail chain is America’s biggest private employer in almost half of the states (22, to be exact). Walmart current employees around 1.5 million people in the U.S. By comparison, Amazon has a little over 500,000 workers. As you might be able to see con the map, state universities make up the majority of the remaining areas in the country.
The data, compiled from 24/7 Wall Street, excludes public administrative bodies, like state governments.
It's 2018, so that must mean that sexism is finally over, right? Yay! Wait, no. No it's not. On Wednesday, Barcelona resident Carla Forcada shared this sexist response she received from a hiring manager after applying for a job as an account executive at PR agency called Impulsa Comunicación. "Hi Carla Thanks for sending your CV... We are currently in the selection process but we are looking for a guy because the role requires to work with accounts such as Carglass and Coca-Cola… and believe me, they need a man to be able to deal with the day to day, the visits, knowledge of production, etc. But we will keep your professional history at hand in case we need any future help. Thanks and good luck!" Ah yes, I forgot that only men know the ins-and-outs of Coca-Cola. Forcada uploaded the screenshot of the email alongside a caption that read, "Unbelievable that there are still companies that do not support gender equality in the work environment." Several men commented on the post, saying that maybe they wanted a man for the job because it requires hard physical labor. Forcada corrected each one by reminding them that she applied for a job in communication and advertising, and no physical labor would be required. Nice try though, random dudes. Coca-Cola Spain soon caught wind of the offensive email, and issued this statement on their official Twitter account. "The Coca-Cola company does not work with Impulse Communication and rejects such discriminatory responses. We have an inclusive, diverse and egalitarian recruitment policy. We regret to see our name related to this discriminatory and unfortunate response." Carglass, the other company mentioned in the email, replied to Forcada's Tweet with this response, "Hello @forcada_carla we want to personally apologize to you and all the people who are offended by this message, NOSOTR is [offended] as well. We have already expressed our position to Impulse Communication. Our company promotes gender equality and acts like this do not represent us." Pere Terés, director of Impulsa Comunicación, later told ABC that he apologized for Forcada on behalf of his company: "Apologies for the misunderstanding, I have personally spoken to this candidate," he said. "We have invited her in. We are a company of transparency with parity, but in no way is it acceptable under any circumstance for there to be any type of discrimination." Yeah, I have a feeling that Carla may think twice before accepting any offer from a company who thinks Carglass is too inherently masculine for her lady-brain to handle. Thanks, though.
Radio personality Patrick Connor was fired from his gig at San Francisco radio station KNBR after making crude comments about 17-year-old snowboarder, Chloe Kim. Kim won the gold medal in the women's halfpipe for team U.S.A. at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang on Tuesday. Connor, who hosted a show called "The Shower Hour," made offensive comments about the Olympian while on Barstool Radio’s Sirius XM channel's new show, "Dialed-In," hosted by former MLB pitcher Dallas Braden. "She’s fine as hell! If she was 18, you wouldn’t be ashamed to say that she’s a little hot piece of ass," said Connor on the air. "And she is. She is adorable. I’m a huge Chloe Kim fan." Well, maybe you should be ashamed to say that. Connor had also said, "No doubt, and in fact just to keep it on that tip, her 18th birthday is April 23rd, and the countdown is on baby, ’cause I got my Wooderson going." He them quoted Dazed and Confused, adding, "'That’s what I like about them high school girls.'" KNBR program director Jeremiah Crowe told "The Mercury News" that they have severed ties with Connor in the following statement. "Be advised that Patrick Connor is no longer with Cumulus Media. Neither KNBR, nor Cumulus Media condone the comments made by Patrick Connor on his SiriusXM program." On Wednesday, Patrick Connor took to Twitter to apologize for his comments. Although it did take the radio personality over a day to realize his words may be perceived as harmful. According to The Huffington Post, Connor is still employed by Barstool Sports, which sounds about right.
They are Olympians worth watching the games for because they are so attractive... like Lindsay Vonn, Alpine ski racer...
See what I mean? Do you have tattoos? I have four... and thinking of getting a few others. One idea I kinda had someone else had the same idea...
Actually, I would never get that tattoo. So, do you know the game Connect 4? Well, there's a brand new version of it out...
What the hell? Weird. Hey, you know what album I wish I could listen to right now?
I bet it's very funny. So, it's Presidents Day and you know Trump's thing is "Make America Great Again," right? Well, it's not actually original.
See? Hahaha. That made me laugh. Alright, so, I'm British as you probably know... well, you know what us British people think about the French. Ha! Here again is the pheature called...
Being on the world stage representing your country in the Olympics is, to put it lightly, a lot of pressure. But when things unexpectedly go wrong, Olympic dreams can turn into a complete nightmare. When Gabriella Papadakis and her partner, Guillaume Cizeron, took to the ice to skate their short program on Monday, a disastrous wardrobe malfunction was probably the last thing on the French skaters' minds. However, a few seconds into their routine, Papadakis' clasp on her halter top snapped, and her dress fell down, leaving her left breast was exposed.
And although this was obviously a major distraction to the veteran pair, Papadakis managed to keep her cool and played off the malfunction like the pro she is. The two came in second, scoring 81.93... less than two points behind Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (83.67). The way the pair handled the malfunction scored them serious points with spectators. "It’s just frustrating to miss a few points because of a costume issue," said Cizeron, according to the "Washington Post." "That’s not what we get ready for when we train. I’m still proud that we managed to pull out a program like that even with a difficulty like this." When reporters asked Papadakis how she was feeling, the 22-year-old responded "Not great."
This is a hard one... if you spot the Mindphuck let me know. So, with the recent mass shooting here in Florida last week a lot of people are starting to blame kids. Well, a friend of the Phile has something to say about that. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man. You know what time it is...
Good afternoon, phuckerz. The problem isn’t our kids... it’s US. Parents no longer take an active role in raising their kids... or even monitoring what their kids are up to. I see it every day... Parents too busy on their phones to even notice what the kids are doing. Mom and dad too busy texting to watch their children. Meanwhile, the kids are online downloading God knows what or playing any number of games like "Grand Theft Auto" or whatever first person shooter game their friends just turned them onto. Watching movies that just glorify violent rage and solving any and all problems by shooting everything in sight. The kids become so desensitized to gun violence, they have a mental disconnection to the reality of it. The kid gets picked on because he’s deemed a weirdo or an outsider... next thing you know, little Billy gets his hands on a gun and decides to “make things right” by shooting everyone. THEN we plaster this kid’s face, name and life history all over the media and make a fucking celebrity out of him. Wanna stop this? Fine... here’s a good start... 1. Stop making celebrities out of these people. 2. Start spending TIME with your kids instead of letting movies, video games and the Internet raise them for you. 3. Stop throwing pills down the throats of kids who clearly need one on one therapy from trained professionals. 4. Get off your fucking cell phones and watch your kids, their friends, their Internet interests, their attitude and demeanor towards others... (you’d be surprised at what you learn, if you pay attention). 5. Teach your children about “personal accountability for their actions.” 6. Stop placating your children... you are NOT their buddy, their pal, or their best friend... you are an adult supervisor of their behavior and the chief guidance as to where they end up in life... Being a parent takes a tremendous amount of time and responsibility.... if you’re not up to the task, get a fucking goldfish... and leave parenting to those who actually have the time, patience and determination to do so in a suitable manner.
That's really funny...
Donald Trump kicked off President's Day by doing what he loves most... smearing people on Twitter. Late last night, Trump tweeted this unprovoked attack on Oprah after her "60-Minutes" special aired on CBS. Oprah sat down with 14 voters, half of whom voted for Trump, for a follow up after first interviewing them on the show in 2017. Oprah hosted a group discussion that covered everything from Trump's "shithole countries" comments to his sexual harassment allegations. It certainly seems that Trump was not a fan of the program...
Well, someone does seem insecure here... and it certainly is not Oprah. A strong, successful black woman who is a self-made billionaire who happens to be beloved by millions? What about Oprah could possibly intimidate Trump? After Oprah delivered a rousing speech at this year's Golden Globes, many wondered if the media mogul would consider running for the White House. Trump wasted no time commenting on Oprah's potential political future, telling reporters back in January, "Yeah, I'd beat Oprah. Oprah would be a lot of fun. I know her very well. You know I did one of her last shows... she had Donald Trump (this is before politics) her last week and she had Donald Trump and my family, it was very nice. No, I like Oprah. I don't think she's going to run." Whatever you say, my dude. Indeed Oprah later clarified that she has no plans to run for office, so you can stop sweating now, Mr. President.
Today's pheatured guest is best known as bassist for the Attractions, the band formed in 1977 to back Elvis Costello in concert and on record. He is also the author of "Rough Notes... And Grainy Images," the 75th book to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Book Club. Please welcome to the Phile... Bruce Thomas.
Me: Hey, Bruce, welcome to the Phile. How are you?
Bruce: Sure. I'm good.
Me: So, I love your book "Rough Notes," which is the 75th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Before you were in the Attractions I was surprised to read you were in a jazz band. I was thinking prog and certain jazz music are my least favorite kinds of music so if you kept dong that kind of stuff I would never have heard of you, read your book, and probably wouldn't have you on the Phile. What was is like switching music styles and going that way, Bruce?
Bruce: Yeah, I was in a jazz-blues band called Village and then a sort of soft rock country band called Quiver, then I became kind of new wave with the Attractions. There was a pool of musicians that kind of mix and matched and followed the money or followed the prevailing trends. I don't think I was ever deprived in not doing 12 minute bass solos and to play proper songs. I wasn't one of those people. Certain with the prog guys, the usual suspects, the Rick Wakeman's and Steve Howe's off this world, would not want to play three minute pop songs. Having said that Rick Wakeman would play classic piano on a David Bowie single and so on. It's a matter of taking opportunities where you find them because every musician that was in a band that happened there was just a many good ones that weren't.
Me: What kind of music do you like to play the best yourself, Bruce?
Bruce: I don't play Jaco Pastorius because that would mean hard work. I always ended to go down the R&B pop route. When I started playing it was easier to play along to Booker T than the Beatles. Gradually I got through the blues, R&B soul riffing mode. There's two traditions isn't there? There's the black American R&B, then there's the white European classical tradition, the Beatles drew on both where Abba was very much European and certain American bands are definitely R&B based, when R&B meant rhythm and blues and not rack & bullshit of course.
Me: Right. Haha. So, tell me about Quiver. I was not aware of that band, Bruce.
Bruce: That was a band that decided to produce their own album and the bass player insisted having a bass solo on the record. And of course bass solos, everyone really loves them, don't they? I think I got stuck at one point and put backwards bass on it. I've been going backwards ever since.
Me: Do you feel or think that the new wave music I'm the 70s is as thoughtful and thought out as the music you were making before in the 60s?
Bruce: Yes. Most of the songs that prevailed from that period like the Buzzcocks, or Blondie, or Jam, or Elvis are every bit as musically sophisticated that went before, it's just has as much more harmonic possibilities and chord changes. Even the Pistols and the Damned, you really can't be successful being bad. Even "Louie Louie" by the Kingmen or the Troggs or something, it's not mindless simplistic nonsense. I don't remember what that was as it got buried within the year of surfacing. I don't think punk or new wave was any less musically said than anything that went before it. And popularly I think it's more musically valid than the endless music from the prog dinosaurs.
Me: I agree. Like I said I'm not a big fan of prog even though I had some prog people on the Phile... even Ian Anderson from one of my worst bands ever. It was a pretty good interview though. So, what was Village like, your band before Quiver?
Bruce: Village was a kind of jazz blues prog, jazz blues with longish solos. I thought we're right on the cutting edge here, but it has all been done literally three or four years earlier by a bands called Clouds.
Me: So, I love the story about when you got the job with Elvis, how a lady called you from and said you should give this guy a chance. Tell the Phile readers how you got the job with Elvis.
Bruce: I ring for the audition and its pretty obvious that he was standing next to her, "Ask him what bands he's played in." Mutter. Prog country, no, get rid of him. "Who are your favourite bands?" I said, "Steely Dan." They were possibly the best band at the time and definitely a candidate for one of the best three bands of all time in my opinion. "Get rid of him." "No, he sounds nice. Give him a chance." You know the rest of the story, I ended up marrying her. Not because of that, but incidentally.
Me: Why do you think they gave you a chance, Bruce?
Bruce: I don't know. Maybe it was one of those days I was being charming and polite. Or maybe it was some sort of recognition, You know the story, Elvis actually wanted people that couldn't play. He wanted a real garage band but that's not the best agenda as he was an up and coming songwriter. Anyway, it all worked out.
Me: I have to show this cool pic of the Attractions...
Me: When you joined with Elvis was he the one in charge as the front man or did you have a say on anything, like a democracy?
Bruce: To me it was always a band with a front man because Pete Thomas is a superb drummer and Steve Nieve is easily as good, we were all world class musicians. I think Elvis might admit he got lucky. We certainly contributed massively from the songs being developed from the writing stage to the record stage. He would come to us with a song just with vocals and a guitar, we certainly contributed and it was reflected in the fact he did a kind of profit participation thing with the albums on that basis but we never got actual songwriting credits. I'm not going to go into any legal areas like that if I wrote that and so forth but I would say with "Pump It Up" and "Chelsea" the riff is what is the song. When I had people who wanted to cover the bass line of "Pump It Up" on YouTube it gets taken down as infringing on Elvis' copyright, yet it's just them playing the bass line. If Elvis came up with it it would be just E, E, E, E, E, the chord. There was no riff or anything there. Then it reaches that kind of technical discintion I think hold up, the bass line isn't the song... It's not infringing anyone's copyright really. But that's the way to goes.
Me: Well, I have to say you deserve to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame just for "Pump It Up." Do you agree? Haha.
Bruce: That's very nice of you but it took less effort for you to type that. The riff wasn't totally spontaneous, it was kind sort of contrived from a high brow riff from what I've been listening to at the time. It's kind of weird. If you listen to "To the Price of Love" by the Everly Brothers you'll get the rhythmic pattern. And if you listen to "You Gotta Lose" by Richard Hell & The Voidoids and you put those to notes to the riff you get "Pump It Up." It's a hybrid riff. Then I was left with a half a bar so I added "You Really Got Me," which was one of the best songs ever written. So, that was is.
Me: Wow. Okay, so, what happened between you and Elvis? You don't have to answer that of you don't want, sir.
Bruce: There are several possible answers. It wasn't a straight forward falling out because I've written things in the book he didn't like, that's the first myth to dispel. Although I happily traded on that because I wanted to sell some books. The first book I wrote was "The Big Wheel," which was about the band up until the first time time we split up in the late 80s. The myth was that he'd taken exception to my depiction of him in the book and I got fired. It wasn't that at all. I went into the real reason in "Rough Notes," which is something he did to Steve Nieve, nothing to do with me that I took exception to, although Steve seemed to forgive him before I did but I was a bit upset by something he did to Steve. I would say there's always been I'm not backseat driver, and I think he really liked as time went on, he wanted to be the main focal point. I don't know. That's part of the dynamic as well. There was one point in the midwest in some generic town that I don't remember the name of, where he'd been to a local bookstore and bought a load of self-help books which would be something like "I'm Okay, You're Okay." He got them all on stage and went through them one by one. He said, "I'm okay, you're okay. No, you're fucking not." He ripped the pages out and said, "John Livingstone Seagull... fly," and chucked it into the audience. He went through this kind of book destruction ritual and nobody in the crowd knew what he was doing that for. Later on he gave me a book, a James Herbert book, whose title was "Leave Your Mind Alone." I think it was very pointedly staying to me "stop thinking." I once asked him what his philosophy was. He said, "I don't believe in philosophy." Which course is a philosophy. It's kind of like saying I don't believe in speaking, or I don't believe in breathing. You have to do it to answer the question. I think there's an element of condition... I don't know if that's the right word. It's not full blown narcism, but it's a kind of threat where he wanted to be acknowledge as the source of fountain of all that's good that is happening and he didn't want to share it. I think a certain politician that we know of has the same problem. I don't say it's full blown but I think there was an element of that.
Me: We all have these Napoleon complex thanks to social media. Was there anything Elvis did that wasn't a problem?
Bruce: He never said for me to change a bass part or a riff. Nobody's ever done that on session work on anything, people have always trusted me or let me loose... apart from Chrissy Hynde. I write the books and I edit them, I edit them, I edit them until I am happy them and that's it. I understand the creative anatomy. If someone was jibbing on my books or lines I'll probably get just as cross as he did.
Me: Are you the only one who spoke up, Bruce, to Elvis? I somehow think you were.
Bruce: Yeah, I was the only one who took Elvis to the side and thought I'm going to get fired for this but I told him he have to get himself together. Fortunately he didn't get rid of me or avoid me, he took it on board. We've all had friends that said to us, "You're sure about this?" at some point in our lives.
Me: Do you ever feel regret thinking if I kept my mouth shut I could be put there playing with the other guys?
Bruce: When you go down what I would call "alternative timeline questions" you could do it with everything. Like I didn't know she was giving me the signals for blah, blah blah. I missed out on a job with Pink Floyd. I didn't read the signals properly and missed out on lord knows I don't know how many women because I'm dumb. Funny enough, this question is the sort of question that is being addressed in my new book. There's a story by Jorge Luis Borges called "The Garden of Forking Paths" which is like a "sliding doors" thing, if you done A instead of B what would happen. Really you'd end up in the same place. its like The Butterfly Effect film where he goes back, changes the timeline, that doesn't work, goes back again changes the timeline and in the end finding the only thing that works is what he did anyway. It's like living in the present and doing the right thing as you see at the time, You can't go back and do it. You can go back and experiment what would be the outcome and nearly every time the outcome you'd think I wish I've done that, you would end up in the same place anyway because wherever you go you take yourself with you. You take your own behavioral patterns or karmic patterns and sooner or later you'd being the same things back into your life.
Me: So, I am a pretty big Elvis Costello fan, and saw him with the Imposters back in 2010 I think it was. I have to say I like his earlier stuff more than his later stuff though... but "Spike" is in my top ten favorite albums of all time I think. My dad was a big Elvis Costello fan and turned me onto him when I was a kid with Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe, and my number one favorite Graham Parker. Anyway, do you listen to his music now or don't you care? If you do, what do you think of his more recent music?
Bruce: Well, they all seem like Irish folk ballads now that I really don't give a shit about. It's all about some guy who did this, went to war, came back and I think hang on, I think "Mystery Dance" was better. That's the worn out road he's gone down. It's so much like he has the need to impress or something. I used to write like that, I used to write books that were really purposely that I wanted to show that I had the vocabulary, the heritage, the metaphors, the turns of phrase, I knew my background stuff, I could paraphrase a famous author with a witty adaption of a quote, and I wanted everyone to pick up on it and everything and in the end people wanted me to talk directly from the heart so it were.
Me: Have you listened to the Imposters or Elvis recently do the songs you played on?
Bruce: I really have never, will never unless by a accident and can never listen to the other guy doing my parts because I know they are not done right. I know from people that have seen gigs and the other guy whose name will remain unmentioned. I call him "Nigel Garage," which sounds close enough. Someone said to me when they did "Human Hands" Pete actually looked embarrassed. He would do. I have to be careful, but I have to say I know what I was doing, I know what I did. I don't supposed nobody could do it exactly even if it was the Beatles or the Who... no one can do the bass parts and make them sound exactly as they were.
Me: So, who are your influences, Bruce?
Bruce: Peter Green, which I talk about in the book. He's channeling the Gods if you like. He's playing music from another dimension. It's the people like that who can play one note that will just go right through you. It's just pure, pure soul content. The best musicians and composers are like that.
Me: Cool. My dad was a Peter Green fan as well, and played on a Peter Green tribute album. So, did you know you and Elvis were on "Complex Magazine" list of being one of the "best rock and roll fights" or something? I think it was called "The 50 Greatest Beefs in Rock History." You guys ranked 28th, according to "Complex."
Bruce: Only 28th? I thought we've done a bit better than that. I'm sure they've got Dave Davis and Ray Davis, Bill Wyman and the Stones, the Gallagher brothers, Sam and Dave.
Me: In the article it says that you guys had a falling out because Elvis was involved with Cait O'Riordan from the Pogues, and you were with her as well. You guys broke up over her. Is that true?
Bruce: No. The irony is the first time Cait ever showed up in our lives it was when the Pogues were supporting us on a U.K. tour. Elvis actually came up to me and said, "Have you seen the bass player of the Pogues?" I said, "Why?" He said, "She's right up your street. Just your type." He ended up marrying her. No, I was actually more friendly with his first wife Mary. Nothing would never make "The National Enquire," that's for sure. If that was true their wouldn't be the second coming of the band. He might've got a few songs out of it. Ha ha ha.
Me: Okay, so, I have to ask you about the Michael Jackson story, Bruce. What is it?
Bruce: We were recording "Imperial Bedroom" in London Studios, and I've done a bit of work with Paul McCartney in the past and the guy who was co-producing our album was Geoff Emerick, who engineered on the "Sgt. Pepper" and "White" album and had a lot of Beatles anecdotes and as luck would have hit in the next studio to us McCartney was recording. Having sat through all these anecdotes for a couple of hours I was convinced he was my oldest best friend. I had met him before and worked with him but hadn't seen him for a couple of years or so. So, I popped down to the door, poked my head around the corner into this dimly lit room where there was playback going on. I was invited him into the dim room and Paul said, "Oh, here's Michael. Say hello to Michael." I said, "Oh, hello, man." I thought I have never seen him here before so I wondered if he won a competition on Capitol Radio to spend time in the studio. And Michael said, "Hey, man, Quicny didn't like what Elvis said about James Brown." I said, "Who the bloody hell is Quincy? I don't know anyone called Quincy." "Quincy Jones." I said, "How the hell do you know Quincy Jones?" He said, "He's my producer." Then of course the realisation crashed in upon me. This is Michael Jackson, the biggest megastar in the world I failed to recognise in the dim light. Of course it went from bad to worse when Paul said Elvis didn't mean anything by what he said. It's just the way we banter. it's just the way us Brit's rat each other. Looking at me as if to say help me out. I said, "Yeah, it's like me saying, 'McCartney, whenever are you going to write a decent song?"" That's that story.
Me: That's great! I was working Epcot once, standing in the middle of the park and my manager at the time freaked out, pulling on my sleeve saying, "That's Michael Jackson." I was like where and he said he walked right by us about five feet away. Michael had a team of Disney managers, security, his bodyguards, not to mention his three kids... all wearing Mardi Gras like masks, carrying flamboyant umbrellas. I didn't notice the "freak parade" at all. Hahaha. Anyway, you worked with Paul Rodgers as well, right? Where and how was that?
Bruce: He was in the second band I was ever in basically. He was the bass player in a band in Middlesbrough, in the north of England called the Roadrunners. I was working at a local newspaper as a commercial artist, or what they call now graphic designer, and he and the guitar player in the Roadrunners were messenger boys at the newspaper. I got talking to the guitarist because he had a Paul Butterfield Blues Band album and we realised we liked the same stuff basically. Paul Rodgers wanted to stop playing the bass as he wanted to concentrate on singing. I've been playing bass in a group called the Tremours and I was the harmonica player. It was a very R&B beat group kind of thing. The bass player didn't turn up one night so I played the bass and took over. I was asked to join the Roadrunners on bass and so I did and we started getting quite good. We became the kind of best band in the area and we decided to turn professional and come to London and we split up after a few months and he went off and formed Free.
Me: My dad was in a band called the Roadrunners as well. Crazy. Where in London did you guys live?
Bruce: By Hampstead Heath. Paul used to go in the middle of the Heath and scream a primal scream until his voice disappeared. When it came back it would be a bit huskier and he'd do it again. He actually managed to get his voice to drop a register. I guess he knew what he was doing but I'd would of thought it was a real risk what he was doing. he could of damaged it forever.
Me: I was born in '68, years after and we lived in Hampstead Heath before we moved to America in '74. It's a small world. My dad and Paul were really good friends. I'm trying to get him on the Phile. One day. So, what was the first song you learnt on the bass, Bruce?
Bruce: I think it was "Roll Over Beethoven." There was a guy who would show me a riff and I'll play it.
Me: Ahhh. So, I was thinking, I wonder if you came across my parents at all. You played with Steve Winwood who my mum dated, so I wonder. Did you know him pretty well?
Bruce: I saw Steve Winwood when he was about 16, singing like Ray Charles and playing the organ. I saw the Spencer Davis Group when "Keep On Running" because number one at a club in Middlesbrough and of course it's been booked months before, they actually got the band that had the number one record for 70 pounds. I did a couple of gigs with Traffic and things like that. I remember Steve used to have his girlfriend sitting on the organ seat besides him. I wonder id that was your mum.
Me: No, that was too late. She dated him when he started out, they were teenagers. What is your favorite song you have played on, Bruce?
Bruce: The most enduring me was actually doing "Shipbuilding" where Chet Baker made my hair stand up on the back of my neck. I was playing the bass line and he followed it with a trumpet and I thought this guy was listening. We went out to the pub and came back and I thought I just play the chord pattern and improvise it in a completely different genre to loosen it up so it's not tinny eighth to the bar kind of pop and that was "B-Movie." I don't know what it is... jazz, reggae, or what. They dropped in the keyboards, the drums, guitar, vocals, everything. Dropped straight in even to the point where missing a beat where there was a turnaround, even that was improvised, it wasn't arranged. That was literally unrehearsed, first and only take of that song. There was a good day where we did "This Years Model" where we did seven backing tracks in one day. That's not bad.
Me: So, you just did an album with a guy named Spencer Brown. Who is that, Bruce?
Bruce: He's a Facebook friend who would send me songs to see what I thought about them and what I could suggest and I gradually realised he was writing good songs and I was coming up with a lot of ideas for arrangements and production. At some point he said to me would I fancy coming along and putting bass on them? Well, I said, if you're going to make an album I'll come along and put bass on it, produce it and mix it. We'll collaborate on it. We've done that and that's been out for a little while. It's called "Back to the Start" and is on Amazon, Spotify, iTunes and all the usual places. I wanted to prove to people I could still play bass as well as I did. The flame still burns.
Me: Cool. It's a cool album, Bruce. So, thanks for being on the Phile. Take care and mention your website and I hope you'll come back on the Phile when your next book comes out.
Bruce: Thanks, Jason. Brucethomas.co.uk/. I hope I can.
Me: Cool. Take care.
That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim and of course Bruce Thomas. What a great interview. The Phile will be back next Sunday with musician Kristin Rebecca. 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