Monday, February 26, 2018
Pheaturing Fran Strine
Good afternoon, and welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How's your Monday going? I hope it's better than the American tourist who got caught with a severed head in his suitcase. The BBC reported that an American tourist in Osaka, Japan has been taken into police custody after a women's head was found in the apartment he's renting. "Police believe the head, which was found in a suitcase, belongs to a Japanese woman who was last seen on CCTV footage walking with the suspect," BBC explains. No other body parts were found. The 27-year-old woman was said to have told friends before her disappearance that she was going to meet an American she connected with on an app. The man was identified as New York resident Yevgeniy Bayraktar. While today's a bad Monday for him, it's an even worse Monday for the woman.
This next story gave me nightmares last night... Humans find dogs cute because they play into biological drives to take care of another creature. Humans also like dogs because they are like humans (loving and needy) but also not humans. This dog, however, is more human than dog. More, nice guy at a barbecue you've just met whose favorite beer is Bud Light than furball who eats food off the floor. Reddit user emceegrath shared a photo from a friend of a friend's Facebook. Emceegrath shared no specific information about the dog, other than, "It looks like it has a man’s face." Behold, Bob the middle-age dog-man...
Bob is posing with his high school sweetheart, Sally, who hasn't aged well. Reddit is in firm agreement that there is something CREEPY about this dog. If you know of any other pooches with human-like features, thanks to their eyes, mouths, and haircuts send them in and I'll post them here on the Phile.
Reese Witherspoon is a classy lady... except for her 2013 arrest following husband Jim Toth's DUI, which was a blight on her otherwise stellar reputation. Witherspoon, who is currently promoting A Wrinkle in Time, found herself nearby what she described as a "friend" on her Instagram story, according to "People." Witherspoon then filmed herself at her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The 41-year-old actor received the star way back in 2010. "This is so exciting guys, here she is!" she said before revealing her friend.
After wiping her name up, Witherspoon told the star, “Oh, now you’re looking good, girl. And don’t you let people walk all over you!” Wise words, Witherspoon.
The worldwide thirst for the edgiest selfie took a dark turn last week when beach goers in Chile were caught mounting a 66-foot beached whale for their Instagram photos. A researcher at the Museum of Natural History Río Seco, Gabriela Garrido, told the Chilean newspaper "La Nacion" she spotted roughly 50 people taking photos on and around the whale. "I had a lot of anger, a lot of impotence," she told "La Nacion." One of the many beach goers even carved initials into the whale's body.
Shortly after photos of the deceased whale spread, the Chilean Navy constructed a perimeter to prevent onlookers from continuing to vandalize the body. Many people online are rightfully disgusted by the deeply disrespectful treatment of the beached whale. This concludes installment 8,095 of the ongoing series... "Why are human beings like this?!"
After the deadly school shooting left 17 dead in Parkland, Florida, teens are taking matters into their own hands to make sure that nothing like this happens ever again. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students formed the #NeverAgain movement, and are pressuring Congress to put common sense gun laws in place. Seventeen-year-old Emma González delivered a rousing speech that inspired the nation. And now Justin Rivard, a senior at Somerset High School in Wisconsin, invented a special kind of door jam that could potentially save hundreds of lives in the event of a school shooting. Rivard's product, named the JustinKase, is comprised of a series steel plates and connecting rods. It slips beneath a classroom door and latches to the door’s jam, making the door nearly impossible to open. "You can lock a door with a lock, it can get shot out," Justin told "USA Today." "You can lock a door with this, it can't get shot out. You can't get around it." To test the product, Rivard reportedly had the linemen from his high school football team try to knock down the door. They were unsuccessful. Somerset High School ordered 50 units, one for every classroom in the building. The Grantsburg School District has ordered a total of 94 units. Each JustinKase costs $95.00. Although Rivard notes that at least one company manufactures a similar product, he says his is much cheaper and easier to produce. After Justin graduates this spring, he will be turning over to his father so he can join the army come July.
Hey, instead of writing this blog I should be listening to this album...
Ummm... maybe not. So, if you are going to cheat on your loved one you might think twice after seeing this...
Damn, Ryan, that the fuck did you do? If you are having abad day I hope it's better than this guy...
So, once in a while I like to show a pic of what someone looks like when they are reading the Phile. Like these people...
I wonder if they are reading the Trump Watch pheature. Haha. If I had a TARDIS I would like to go back to one of Keith Moon's birthday parties. I bet they were fun...
See? So, when I saw The Black Panther and this scene came on it reminded me of something...
And then it hit me...
Two Tolkien white guys in the movie. Hahahahahaha. Hey, ever shop at the Home Depot? I hate that store... it's like buying work. But of you go they have a new store reward card...
Lemme rush right out to my local store right away. In yesterday's blog I told you about what teachers want to be armed with in their classrooms, and said I'll post pics to show you. Well, here's another...
Good luck, dude. Well, apparently everyone at the "Megyn Kelly Today" show hates Megyn Kelly. So, here again is the pheature...
According to an article in Page Six, Megyn Kelly, formerly of Fox News, is not settling into her role as morning talk show host very well. Anyone who's watched the show can see that. There's reportedly a lot of conflict surrounding Kelly's show, the aptly named "Megyn Kelly Today," and much of it of her own doing. Sources have told Page Six that NBC executives are starting to get really tired of the drama that seems to find its way to Kelly's show, like the time she asked about Jane Fonda's plastic surgery (ugh) and then questioned Fonda's patriotism after Fonda poked fun at that moment. During a monologue in January, Kelly brought up Fonda's old Vietnam War protests, saying, “Honestly, she has no business lecturing anyone on what qualifies as offensive." WOW. But that's just the stuff in front of the cameras. According to a "high-ranking NBC executive," the atmosphere on set is so tense, employees often burst into tears. That same NBC veteran claims that people at the network don't see her lasting long, telling Page Six, “She is hated inside the "Today" show and is seen as tarnishing the brand, out-of-control and selfish." But this is apparently not new behavior for Megyn Kelly, who, according to a former colleague, was always difficult. Iren Halperin, a Fox News makeup artist who retired in 2016 but was employed at Fox News for 20 years, worked with Kelly in 2009 when Kelly co-anchored "America’s Newsroom With Bill Hemmer." Halperin told Page Six, “She’s disrespectful. She’s not for women. She’s extremely mean and rude to women.” Halperin told a story about how Kelly always got her makeup done at 8 a.m., but showed up half an hour early one day. She found someone else in the makeup chair (of course) and demanded that the woman leave. Halperin asked her, "Please have a seat in the greenroom or start your hair first," but Kelly said no. She apparently snapped her finger, pointed at the reporter and said, "You, get out of the chair." That is some grade A diva bullshit right there. Halperin said of Kelly, “She was difficult and demanding. And if you didn’t do what she wanted, she would try to get you in trouble.” Which is exactly what happened to Halperin. Kelly retaliated by telling Halperin's boss that Halperin couldn't get into work on time because of her kids, which wasn't true. At this point, Halperin asked to be assigned to a different anchor. Another person at Fox reportedly did, too, although we know nothing about that particular situation, other than it sounds like Kelly is a nightmare to work with.
If you spot the Mindphuck let me know.
By now, the pageantry of Donald Trump insulting someone on Twitter has become a daily given. There's no longer a feeling of spectacle when the president uses a racial slur or fat-shames North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, but that doesn't mean his online presence has totally lost its luster. Sometimes, blessings fall down from the most unexpected places. When Trump attempted to compliment his daughter Ivanka on Friday, his wording perfectly opened a door for a stream of detractors.
His tweet naturally set in motion the obvious question... WHY can't we have a better, smarter, person representing our country?! They don't even have to be brilliant, just someone with actual palpable political experience. It's safe to say, Trump's attempted compliment opened Pandora's box full of Ivanka burns.
The 76th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...
Howard will be the guest on the Phile in a few weeks.
As an airplane is about to crash, a female passenger jumps up frantically and announces, "If I'm going to die, I want to die feeling like a woman." She removes all her clothing and asks, "Is there someone on this plane who is man enough to make me feel like a woman?" A man stands up, removes his shirt and says, "Here, iron this!"
Today's pheatured guest is the director and producer for the great documentary film Hired Gun that is available on Blu-ray, Amazon, and Netflix. Please welcome to the Phile... Fran Strine.
Me: Hello, Fran, welcome to the Phile. How are you, sir?
Fran: I'm great, Jason. Your dad fucking rocked!
Me: Thanks. So, I watched the documentary Hired Gun on Blu-ray and I really enjoyed it. What made you decide this was gonna be your first film?
Fran: I have done other documentaries. There was still high pressure because I was hired by record companies to make companion pieces for when people were still buying CDs really. The making of DVDs for bands like Staind... I worked with those guys for about eight years, not only in the studio with them but for the entire record cycle of the recording process but for touring as well. I was their main video photographer guy. They caught on really early to have someone catch stuff for social media when records stopped selling. The same thing with a band called Seether, Nickleback, a few other bands. I kinda semi-retired from touring after a Staind gig. I moved to northern California and I just loved it and wanted to take a year off and enjoy the scenery and my fruits of labor. I got an email from Zoltán Báthory from Five Finger Death Punch and he heard about my work and asked if I wanted to come out with them as they were looking for a guy. I politely declined at the time because I wanted to just take time off. He reached out a couple more times and then have me an offer I just couldn't refuse. There's smart decisions and there's decisions like whatever... It was a really good offer so I took them up on it and went out with them for a good couple of years. I was approaching 50-years-old at the time. There's no secret, their singers a maniac and had a few issues which was unfortunate. Of course I wish him nothing but the best and recovery. It was really bad at the time I was with those guys. I remember we were in Australia and got arrested on a flight and I was thinking to myself man, I have to find my exit from this and pursue something different. I was burnt out on the road and I have done it for a long time. When we got to Singapore I remember sitting on the back of the bus and I was thinking what was I gonna do. We had five more weeks and had to do Europe and when I got home I wanted to jump back into something I wanted to do. I knew I loved making films and telling stories but the stuff I was doing for the record labels I loved doing them but I wasn't doing MY project. I had just seen the movie 20 Feet From Stardom. If you haven't seen the movie it's about the back-up singers from the Stones, to Bruce Springsteen, to Sting... It was done so well and was story I didn't know about. I thought there's got to be another one as I love working in music and talking about music. There's not been one done about touring musicians and of course there's been ones about session players like Muscle Shoals and Wrecking Crew and a few of the others. The touring aspect of it not so much so. Hired Gun is like a combination of those two so I decided that it'd be my thing. The only difference would be it would be top shelf with production quality, sound, everything else. I hit the ground running as soon as I got back to the states and it was probably September when I got back and by November we were in production.
Me: Being around those musicians, like Jason Hook from Five Finger Death who is in Hired Gun and helped produce it, were you able to get the people in the documentary easily?
Fran: Oh, yeah. The toughest one was Steve Lukather actually. A lot of these guys I know or knew people who knew them. Once one person said yeah, they all wanted to be in it. Except for Steve Lukather, he's the most quintessential hired gun. He's just a great musician... anyway, he was being cool about it, he was just like he wasn't interested in giving up his story for free when he could sell his story himself and make his own movie. I was like fair enough. Once we got Jay Graydon, David Foster, Ray Parker Jr., Kenny Aaronoff, those guys he was like ,"Now I have to be in your damn movie." I literally flew down to his place on Christmas Eve day. That was the only time I could get him and I was like I'll be there, man. He was fantastic. I feel bad that that group of guys from "Hired Gun"... their stories are so big. What I really wanted to put in Hired Gun, not to take anything away from it, but those guys, man.
Me: Out of all those people in the documentary the one I was most surprised about, and didn't know about was Ray Parker Jr.... who would of thought...
Fran: Let me tell you about Ray Parker Jr., he has been traveling around the globe promoting Hired Gun, believe it or not. we went to Australia, Glastonbury, all overt the states. Nashville, Chicago, San Fransisco, Los Angeles. A lot of people know him from Ghostbusters and hits of his own like "The Other Woman," but a lot of people don't know about the man. He was a youngster growing up in Detroit. His story was he didn't play sports, baseball, football, or any of that good stuff. He was just trying to survive, man. In Detroit in 1964 or around that time was when the whole civil arrest was happening. In Detroit the cops were literally killing African-Americans and his goal was getting home from school alive. Cops beat him down with batons, broke his leg once, so he just stayed in the house. How first instrument was clarinet and he thought this was no fun blowing into something. He wanted to play the guitar. He saw some guy on television playing the guitar and that was it. So, he started playing the guitar and by the time he was fourteen, man, he was touring with the Spinners. We did a private screening of "Hired Gun" at Ray's house and Steve Lukather was there, and Steve and I were talking Steve said, "Man, Ray Parker is the greatest rhythm guitar player that has ever walked the planet." This was coming from Lukather. It's true, man, Ray doesn't have to play, he's got dump trucks of money. When he sits around at his house, man, he has to have a guitar in his hand. let's not forget, man, yeah, he played with the Spinners, but Stevie Wonder discovered him.
Me: I would love to get Ray Parker Jr. on this blog. Did you know he wrote the Leo Sayer song "Do You Feel Like Dancing"? before you made this film. I had no idea.
Fran: Nobody does. "Mr. Telephone Man," and Barry White songs. No one has ever written for Barry White ever, so he was the first person to write for Barry White.
Me: What was David Foster like? I don't know much about him, but I think he'd make a good guest here.
Fran: Absolutely, man. After we were done filming we were walking around his house, filming some behind the scenes stuff and we went into what I called the Trophy Room there he had all his Grammys. Not hundreds, but thousands of gold and platinum albums... and I'm like "David, you had so much success, you are able to retire if you want to, why are you keep doing this?" He looked at me and goes, "This is going to sound very egotistical and crazy, but I'm looking at all this stuff on the walls right now and I think to myself there's not enough. If you compound my forty or fifty year career I should have more. I surround myself with people who are better than I am to make me just that much better." That really touched me that he acknowledged there are engineers, arrangers, or whatnot, who are bigger than him. He puts a spit on those guys and a lot of people don't do that.
Me: I think it was interesting that he talked about being a hired gun then a producer because those first three albums he made. Okay, we have to talk about Billy Joel, one of my favorite singers ever. When you went into this did you know you wanted to make most of the movie about Billy's back-up band? I interviewed Liberty DeVitto here on the blog years ago and I wasn't allowed to ask him about Billy. You got him to say a whole lot.
Fran: Well, I think Billy Joel is the biggest selling solo artist of all time... at least domestically he is. He is huge. I'm a HUGE Billy Joel fan, I love his music, however a friend of mine who is a drum tech was telling me after I told him about the movie said I have to get Liberty DeVitto. He gave me some stuff to research on and I was oh my god, this is insane, it cannot be real. I looked for Liberty's manager or publicist and he doesn't even have one. I found him on Facebook, sent him private message and asked him would he be up to talk? He pinned me the next day and said let's do this. I interviewed him the first time around in Los Angles and it was such a volatile piss and vinegar interview from his side because he was still really pissed off over that had happened. I couldn't use any of it. I told him he got to emotional. I told him this would get him in trouble if I put this out so would he agree to do another interview? I wouldn't say we were rushed on the first day we did that interview but I had a lot of people lined up that day to talk so I got about a good hour with him. I told him I want him to be the central centerpiece of this film because it's a huge story. So he agreed and myself and my crew went out to Brooklyn where he lives and spent a whole week out there with him. It had been about a year and a half since I interviewed him and since then he stated seeing a life coach. He's in a really good place now, got a band called the Slim Kings, that he's really happy about, they're doing pretty well, and he's a new father believe to or not. He got so emotional talking abut back in the day that he took every one of his platinum albums and smashed them over the copy table. He was just distraught. He didn't understand what was going on. You got to remember, they worked together for thirty-one years, they knew each other since they were teenagers.
Me: It's cool you also had Russell Javors on the film as well, Billy's guitarist. Did you think of having Billy himself in the film?
Fran: I did reach out to Billy Joel just to be neutral and whatnot. He was interested and asked me if I had any transcripts and if I had any scenes cut can he see them. I got a little nervous as it was all bad stuff but I wanted to be real with the guy so I was like okay. I wanted to give the guys the opportunity to tell his side of the story. I sent everything over to him and about three days later I received an email from Eastman and Eastman who are the Beatles attorneys and Billy Joel's attorneys as well. I got a cease and desist and I reached out to him one more time and was like this is ready to go, the final cut so I wanted to give him one more opportunity and he declined.
Me: Now the doc is out do you think he saw it?
Fran: From what I hear he has seen the movie and hasn't rebuttaled anything.
Me: Was the reason he cut the ties with his bandmates the aftermath of him getting fucked over by his management?
Fran: If you're asking me what I know from the inside a little bit, and my intuition, yeah, he got screwed over. He had literally just had lint in his pockets. He had no money. Liberty had just gotten divorced and gave his ex-wife every dime he had and Billy who obviously has a new manager now, and they were looking for ways to cut funds. Liberty comes along and says if anybody bread crumbs falls on the floor, or crumbs or dollars, just sweep them his way. It's a pretty ballsy things to say when the boss just lost 90 million dollars and you just gave all the money to your ex-wife, that's my interpretation. Let's not forget Billy was a little hostel back in the day. According to Liberty when the new management came in he asked, "Why are you playing these guys all this money?"
Me: A lot of people know think being in a band is all fun and games, but in the reality it isn't. Even Foghat and my dad had problems and shit. I don't think people realize that it's a lot of hard work and families get involved and things happen that are not so much fun. Also, people assume that every musician makes a shit load of money... but they don't. Do you find people that are not in the know think the same thing, Fran?
Fran: That's what I tell everybody. Take for the instance, Pink, or any of these huge touring acts, like Lady Gaga... you're looking at these tens of millions of dollars productions with lights, jets, stadiums, 50 tour busses, a hundred tractor trailer trucks, the perception of the audience is all these guys make millions of dollars. Well, let me tell you something, its definitely not that way. The management and label are making ALL the dough, the musicians are getting just a fraction of what the ticket prices are. It's just the way it is. When we do the Q& A and somebody asks what advice can you give to someone who wants to be a hired gun... Ray always says don't become one. Get your foot in the door but don't only get to be a hired gun, man, Ray said he didn't have the greatest voice in the world, he just wrote great catchy tunes.
Me: Watching the film I was thinking I want to interview Liberty again. I would ask him why doesn't he play with another band? Who doesn't want a fantastic drummer like that playing in their band?
Fran: One of the things he told me early on people look at him knowing he was in Billy Joel's band and assume they cannot afford him. That's not the case, they can. They just need to ask and he is just not being asked because people just assume he's making too much money.
Me: Out of all these people you interviewed, who do you think is the hardest working guy, Fran?
Fran: Hands down... Kenny Aaronoff. He never sleeps, man. Every time I look at him and we are talking one day he's in Indiana, the next day he's Facetiming me from Tokyo. I asked him don't he ever sleep and he says he doesn't have time to sleep, he's living the life. He loves playing, he's passionate about it. It's all he talks about. He doesn't talk about anything else, just playing drums, and having a good time. He's about 66-years-old, but looks like he's 30.
Me: One thing I thought was interesting too was Jason Newsted's story. He said he was making only $500 a week. Is that normal for those hired guns, Fran?
Fran: Yeah, I think back in the day to was. You gotta remember, that was in the early 80s. I knew Jason for a bunch of years, he lives right across the bay from me. He did an album called "Newsted" not long ago ironically with Mike Mushok, the guitarist from Staind. He kinda bought me into the fold with that guy and we hit if off, man. Jason is a cool dude, we believe in a lot of the same things. We kinda hit it off and he said he was gonna be in the studio for six months and wanted to document it all. He knew I was a photographer by trade and I've done a bunch of album covers and whatnot. He asked me if I can shoot his album cover too. When I was interviewing the guy I called him and asked was he never not a member of Metallica and only a hired gun. He said, "Don't forget I was also a hired gun with Ozzy, and Gov't Mule..." He even played on a hit song with Tina Turner once. I asked him if there is anybody he turned down and he said when John Entwistle died the Who called him before they called anybody else. He said he was shitting his pants and wanted to do the gig but he respected Entwistle too much, he couldn't play that stuff. Then when Tom Hamilton had cancer they called him. He turned that down for the same reason. And lastly when Lemmy died they wanted to do a special 30-day Motorhead thing as they thought of Jason first as those Metallica guys just are in love with Motorhead. I have to tell you, Jason wears his heart on his sleeve and we built a trust factor. He told me a lot of stuff maybe he shoudn't have. You saw how intense he was on screen. We sat there for three hours and he told me about from the day he was born to the day he exited Metallica. If you look at the Blu-ray and iTunes for the bonus stuff the real story of why he left Metallica is there. It's a punch in the gut, man. I did the whole interview, man, and it was so intense. Even I was tensed up, I gritted my teeth listening to him talk the whole time. I couldn't believe the stuff he was telling me, man, I was just like holy shit.
Me: Fran, where are you originally from?
Fran: I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia where it's super cheap to live. When you open the front door you're still in Georgia, you know what I mean? I hate hot weather, I hate humidity and I was hired believe it or not by the Northern California Tourism Board to film a commercial. My job for two and a half weeks was to start at the Golden Gate Bridge and go north, all the way up and just film each place for a couple of days and whatnot. I as like oh, my god, this is just like the most beautiful scenery and weather I have ever seen in my life. I made it my goal to live here one day. I did some other big stuff like a Dolly Parton live DVD that did really well, and a couple of her album covers, so her and I have a very good working relationship.
Me: Cool. So, what are you gonna do next? Can you talk about it?
Fran: I can talk about it for sure. My next project will be with Lukather, Foster, Parker, and Graydon... their stories are too big. I couldn't tell it the way I wanted tell it and now I'm going to get but in a different way. It's a whole different movie then Hired Gun. When you think about it, those guys, man, either wrote, performed, produced artists in their own rights in the baby boomer generation which is the biggest demographic in America. The 70s, 80s and early 90s those guys dominated the charts on radio and everything else. I feel their national treasures and their story must be told. It's not even a movie, its gonna be a documentary-series, a four part series with Lukather, Foster, Parker, Graydon, and more. Their stories must told. What's gonna be cool about it, I'm not gonna tell the whole story, and the giant hits they wrote, arranged, produced and everything else... we're going to record some of their biggest hits and I feel like it's my duty to bring in a contemporary artist to sing on those songs, to bring in a fresh generation to keep these songs alive. Not that we need to as these are all timeless sons but imagine "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing" by Leo Sayer but with Adam Lavine singing it. "You Bring the Love" by Chaka Kahn but bring in Alicia Keys or something. I'm bringing in the youngest generation who are gonna watch to because they wanna see these artists perform these songs. They are gonna be like wow, I didn't know the Ghostbuster guy wrote that and who the hell is Jay Graydon?
Me: The movie was mixed at Skywalker Ranch, which kinda amazed me. How the hell did that happen, Fran?
Fran: Right down the road from where I live is Skywalker Ranch and I thought I had to mix the movie somewhere. A valuable lesson I learned if there are any filmmakers or musicians or anybody else that is reading this no matter how big it might sound always ask, because if you don't ask they cannot say yes. Never go in thinking their gonna say no, I go in thinking they are gonna say yes. I've already called a bunch of places in Los Angeles and I was resigning to the fact I was gonna have to go down there and spend two weeks away from home and blah blah blah. I was like you know what, it'd right down the street, I'm gonna ask. So I sent the sizzle reel we created that was four minutes long and the next day I get an email from John Knoll who is the production manager and decision maker there and he told me he just watched this and said they must mix this movie. He asked if they could submit a bid to me. I never heard that in my life. Usually they ask what is your budget which is the first thing, They sent a bid which was half what it would cost in L.A. Not to mention the lodging and traveling and everything else. The recording and remix budget was half as cheap. I couldn't believe this was happening. Everybody asks me what was it like at Skywalker Ranch... well, whatever you think it's like, that's what it's like.
Me: And you got the Crystal Method to write the music for it? I know that band name from somewhere... they were a music act from the 90s, right?
Fran: Yeah, Scott Kirkland from the Crystal Method who we hired. He did the music for "Bones," he did Fast and Furious 7, and all kinds of cool movies. He loved it, man. We found out Quiet Riot was his favorite band growing up which is hard to believe considering his music was all EMD. With the Jason Newsted scene if you pay attention and go back to watch it you'll hear a bass line playing when he's talking about the tears and the newspaper and when you're making a move you put in temp music so I just put in "Orion" from "Master of Puppets" in there and Scott asked me did I had to put in that as temp music because now he had to think of something that was equally as good and that's impossible. But he said to give him the weekend and he'll see what he could do. He doesn't play bass and he had to wrap his head around this. So, Monday I wake up and in my DropBox was the scene all cut with the music on it and every hair on my body just rose. I was like wow. I asked him how he did this and he said one of his best friends is Justin Chancellor from Tool and he had him come in and play this and helped him arrange it. I'm like what? The bass player from Tool is playing on my film. So, I called Jason Newsted right away and told him to check his email as I just sent him this scene. He wanted to get Justin's phone number as he wanted to call him himself. They became fast friends after that which was amazing.
Me: With documentaries like this I am sure in getting clearance for songs was hard. Dd you have a problem?
Fran: With Jay Graydon, everyone knows him from his solo in "Peg," by Steely Dan if you were paying attention and saw it you probably didn't notice that's not Steely Dan's version of "Peg." We got the publishing cleared and I'm sure you know this, there are two sides of music... the publishing parts which goes to the songwriters and there's the master which is the actual physical album. So, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen cleared the master for us but the label said nope. We already had the scene cut, spent thousands for archival photos and everything else and now we were being told no. Some of the producers blew my mind, wanted to use a karaoke version and I was like absolutely not. First of all those is a music documentary and Steely Dan, there's going to be musos watching and they wanted to put something that sounded like polka music? So, I called Jay and said we have a red flag alert use here. I told him we cannot clear the masters. I asked him if he thought he could record this thing and do it justice. He said for me to give him a week and we charted out it out and put everything together. What you hear in Hired Gun is Jay Graydon's re-record of "Peg." I challenge anybody to listen to it and say that's not Steely Dan's version. He used the same guitar and the same amp that he used 40-years-ago. Just mind blowing, man.
Me: I have to ask this, why do you think Richard Patrick was such a prick with his band Filter as he thought he was treated in Nine Ince Nails?
Fran: Well, I think in talking to him, there was no manipulation in editing in that scene by the way, to me at least he's upfront with his band. He tells them upfront they're not gonna make any money, they're gonna sleep on the bus... he's telling them upfront and maybe when a guy gets in like in any relationship he says I can change him or I can change her, but he ain't gonna change. I don't think Trent did that to him so he's giving his band the respect and courtesy by telling them upfront it's not gonna happen.
Me: He still seemed like a prick. I wouldn't work with him. You worked with Dolly Parton... did you ever meet her husband? Haha.
Fran: Never. She has told me he exists so I have to believe her. She's one of the sweetest people in the world but I never met him. I've never seen Dolly out of character. I've spent weeks with this woman in Europe. Two full weeks and every waking moment she is Dolly Parton. With the make-up, heels, hair and and everything else. By the way, she's awesome!
Me: Great! Thanks, Fran, for putting out a really good movie. Please come back when the next doc come out. Go ahead and mention your website.
Fran: I will. Thanks, Jason. Hiredgunthefilm.com.
Me: Cool. Take care, and great job.
That about does it for this entry of the Phile, Thanks to Fran for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Sunday with Kristy Majors from Pretty Boy Floyd. 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