Sunday, April 22, 2018

Pheaturing Lynn Sorensen From Heaven & Earth

Good morning, welcome to the Phile for a Sunday... Happy Earth Day. I wish more people cared about Earth as much as they cared about who they believe created it. It'd a bit confusing to celebrate Earth Day with a president who isn't trying to destroy Earth. Let's recycle clichés about taking action on global warming. By the way, I like to say it was planned that today's guest, Lynn Sorensen, is in  band called Heaven & Earth... but I'd be lying. It's just a happy coincidence but it works, right? Okay, let'e see what is going on...
The world stood still on the day we all found out Chris Pratt and Anna Faris were splitting up. Obviously, divorce is painful and difficult enough to navigate without hoards of fans obsessing and speculating over the details. Even so, the news left many wondering: HOW could they do this to us?! They're both so funny and beautiful and fed hope to the idea of love and couples stay together. For all observable purposes, the months following their split have been fairly drama free. This is good news for their mental health and the sake of their 5-year-old son Jack. Still though, the weeping public has still been curious about how they're doing amidst the split. In a recent interview with "Entertainment Weekly," Pratt opened up a bit about the divorce. "Divorce sucks. But at the end of the day, we’ve got a great kid who’s got two parents who love him very much. And we’re finding a way to navigate this while still remaining friends and still being kind to one another. It’s not ideal, but yeah, I think both of us are actually probably doing better.” This feels like a very healthy way to look at it. Back in August, a source close to the couple told TMZ they were splitting because Pratt's career was taking him all over the world, and Faris wanted to settle down in L.A. and grow their family. After trying to make things work for awhile, they finally decided the healthiest move was to part ways. All things considered, it seems both of them are making lemonade from the situation.
Music festivals are supposed to be a place to kick back, O.D. on weed cookies, and listen to your favorite band while dozing off on a hill. However, for a majority of the women who attend music festivals, this ideal is obscured by handsy dudes in mosh-pits and a widespread laissez-faire attitude towards sexual harassment and assault. This year, "Teen Vogue" sent reporters to Coachella to report on the festival culture at large. Unfortunately, what stood out more than the music was the rife cultural of harassment. The reporter Vera Papisova interviewed fifty-four women about their experience at Coachella and found that all of them had been groped, assaulted, or aggressively harassed at the festival. The point was even further driven home by the fact that Papisova herself was groped twenty-two times during the day of the report. Sadly, but unsurprisingly, Papisova's report ushered forth a lot of unpleasant memories from women who have experienced similar harassment and assault during festivals. The report opened up conversations about how men can intervene and hold other men accountable, as well as the ways women are helping each other out. While it's never fun to talk about sexual harassment, assault, and the rampancy of rape culture, it's crucial to keep this conversation in the forefront so we can shift things as a culture. Women deserve to feel safe. Period.
One of my favorite mindless Internet rituals is doing a quick search on celebrities I haven't seen pop up in awhile. My search history is full of important research question such as: Did anyone from "Dawson's Creek" make it out of the creek and get their clothes dried (that's what the show is about, right)?! Or more aptly: is the "Smallville" actress Allison Mack getting arrested for her role in an alleged sex slave cult?! Wait, what?! In case y'all were out living productive lives and missed this key piece of news, Mack is accused of recruiting for the terrifying sex cult Nxivm. The cult itself was founded by the master creep Keith Raniere who allegedly blackmailed women into becoming sex slaves and forced them to brand his initials into their skin as part of a "ritual." How sway! Back in March, Raniere was arrested in Mexico under charges of sex trafficking. Mack had been hiding out with Raniere in his Mexican villa, and will appear in a Brooklyn court on Friday under the charges of "Co-conspirator 1," reports "The Albany Times Union." On Raniere's criminal complaint, Mack is named as Raniere's direct (sex) "slave," who also actively used her celebrity status and clean-cut persona to recruit new women. Even though Mack was technically considered one of Raniere's "slaves," she held a special position as second-in-command and also acted as "master" to the other women. According to the allegations, Mack enticed women into Nxivm's elite inner circle known as The Vow. Her recruitment method involved claiming it was a women's mentorship group, then when women took the bait, she'd demand collateral in exchanger for membership. The collateral included everything from embarrassing statements, to nudes, to even live photo shoots of the women having sex. Friday's hearing will determine the fate of Mack, hopefully, justice will be served for all the women she helped Raniere entrap.
Back in 2015, 15-year-old Aubrey Joyce Carroll mysteriously disappeared from his high school in Georgia nowhere to be found. Naturally, the last two years have been scary for Carroll's family. There have been hopeful "Dateline" interviews about his possible whereabouts, teary-eyed candlelight vigils honoring his possible fate, and of course, whole Internet rabbit-holes theorizing about his demise. After years of anxiety and wondering, the Carroll family can finally rest assured their Aubrey is safe, since the now 17-year-old appeared in a video with Sheriff Darrell Dix on the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. Apparently, all this time Carroll was just living his best life, living a cash-only lifestyle and rocking Sublime shirts out on the west coast. Sheriff Dix told the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution" that Carroll had been traveling with a group of like-minded hippy types and assured that he "had a support group that he was with and all indications were that he was happy and was thriving." In the video with Dix, Carroll assured concerned parties that he was in fact safe and sound. "I’d like to tell y’all thank y’all so much for all your prayers and looking out for my momma. I appreciate y’all so much,” said Carroll. “I’m all right. I’m okay. I’ve been smiling, and y’all should do the same.” Basically, Carroll got free of his parent's oppressive rules and went away to find his own bliss. On the contrary, I imagine the past two years have been quite the opposite of bliss for all of his concerned friends and family members. According to CBS News, Carroll did in fact contact his mother and has now returned to her home.
A simple statement expressing condolences to the family of a late former First Lady and First Mother seems like it would be pretty hard to mess up, but the Trump White House finds unique and impressive ways to mess up a no-brainer. Because time is but an illusion, the official White House response to Barbara Bush's passing was written in 2017. 

Note: The correct year is actually 2018. Perhaps President Trump thought he was doing Barbara Bush a favor by making her seem younger.  It's particularly sad and ironic given Bush's passion for literacy, the cause she championed as First Lady and with her personal foundation. While she championed literacy from the White House, the current White House shows why it's crucial. This flub is sadly immortalized in the history books now. It's kinda funny, and kinda sad. Trump tried to fix the flub, providing us with the most accurate metaphor for his presidency.

He just cropped out the date. Truly no better metaphor for the Trump White House than them refusing to fix an obvious mistake and just covering it up instead.
Hey, are you kids fans of Channing Tatum? He has a new movie coming out...

I can't believe they are up to number twenty-six in that series already. If I had a TARDIS I think it'll be cool to go to Cape Canaveral in the 60s. Knowing my luck though, and this might not be bad, I'll end up with John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and staffers at the Cape Canaveral Missile Test Annex.

I don't know about you, what you believe in, but if there's a God some people sure strayed from his light.

Hahahahaha. Some people have such bad luck... like this poor girl...

I might've done that once myself. Not saying. Ha. If you are thinking on cheating on your loved one you might think twice after you see this...

Here's another sign from March for Our Lives...

Here's another creative way Parkland students are trolling their new "safety" backpacks...

Mamma mia! Okay, so, I recently discovered sometimes people have to explain really stupid things to adults. Check it out...

Hahaha. Okay, so, one thing I lobe about the Internet is you can look at porn easily... and free. But the problem is if you have a website or a blog it might be hard to keep someone's attention and that person can easily switch over to a porn site. So, I had a thought... what about if I showed a porn pic here on the Phile, that way they won't have to leave. But then I had another thought... I don't want to get you in trouble at school, work or home for looking at porn. So... I came up with a solution.

You're welcome. Hey, ever have weird thoughts when you're taking a shower? I do...

Sometimes I wonder if my life is in shambles because of all the chain letters that I never forwarded to ten of my closest friends.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Hey, wanna play a game?

Which one is it? Danzig or Sigourney?

I don't get it. Oh, well. So, a few years ago the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey circus retired the elephants for cancer research. One of the elephants ended up here in Florida unemployed and used for cancer research. One of those elephants made an appearance here on the Phile to check in with us. Anyway, we haven't heard from him in a long time back he's back today. So, once again, please welcome to the Phile...

Me: Hey, Elvis, how are you doing?

Elvis: Hello, Jason, it's good to be back here on the Phile. I'm doing cancer search and it's coming out good.

Me: Hey, great news. So, you feel relevant then?

Elvis: No, more like irrelephant.

Me: Ha. Very funny. So, what else have you been up to?

Elvis: Well, last Halloween I dressed up for the very first time.

Me: You did? What were you? Dumbo?

Elvis: No, I was the Elephantom of the Opera!

Me: Ha. Good one. So, anything else?

Elvis: Well, I crossed the road today.

Me: You did? Meaning?

Elvis: Meaning I had the day off. It was sad recently though... now the Ringling Brothers circus is closed all the animals are retired. One of the Lions, Lenny, caught one of my elephant friends.

Me: Oh, that's so sad.

Elvis: Yeah, I suppose when you've seen one lion catch an elephant, you've seen a maul.

Me: Hahaha. Well, take care, Elvis, don't be a stranger.

Elvis: I won't. Off to do more cancer research. Bye.

Me: Elvis the Retired Circus Elephant, people. That was so stupid.

Verne Troyer 
January 1st, 1969 — April 21st, 2018
Needed help with depression and alcohol abuse. Came up a little short.

Barbara Bush 
June 8th, 1925 — April 17th, 2018
She gave birth to George W. AND Jeb. Thanks a pantload, Barb.

Sharks kill about one person per year on average. People, however, kill around 114 sharks per hour.

The 79th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Abby will be the guest on the Phile tomorrow.

Shania, after next weekend I'm giving up trying to get you on the Phile. And now for some Earth...

Phact 1. Long before trees overtook, the Earth was covered in giant mushrooms.

Phact 2. When oxygen first developed on Earth around 2.5 billion years ago, it wiped out nearly 99% of all life on the planet.

Phact 3. Russia’s Tsar Bomba, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated, was so powerful that it created seismic shocks that were measurable even on their third passage around the Earth.

Phact 4. Earth’s rotation is slowing at a rate of approximately 17 milliseconds a century, and the length of a day for the dinosaurs was closer to 22 hours.

Phact 5. Scientists believe that multicellular life only has 800 million years left on Earth, at which point, there won’t be enough CO2 in the atmosphere for photosynthesis to occur.

Today's guest is the bass player for the rock and roll band Heaven & Earth whose latest CD "Hard to Kill" is available on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon. Please welcome to the Phile... Lynn Sorensen.

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

Lynn: Very good. Very nice.

Me: Lynn, where are you from?

Lynn: Seattle, Washington. What about you?

Me: London, England, originally. You worked with one of my dad's best friends in the music business... Paul Rodgers, who I need to get on the Phile. You worked with him on his solo stuff and you were in Bad Company. How did that happen, Lynn?

Lynn: Well, in 2000 the bass player they had had to go, he wanted the weekend off. I knew the drummer who gave me a call and he asked me if I wanted to do a couple of gigs with them on that tour. I said sure. So, they flew me out and gave me a work tape of a previous gig. We didn't rehearse or anything, and I got the tape and the bass player that they had didn't sing, and I sing. So, I smelt blood on the job. I thought I'm gonna steal this job, and that's what happened.

Me: My mum passed in December 2000 and Foghat opened tor Paul the same night and he dedicated a song to both of my parents. "Seagull" I think it was. Where was the first gig you played with Paul? 

Lynn: My first gig with Paul was in front of about 50,000 people in a festival just outside of Vegas. 

Me: How did you feel when you first did that show, Lynn? I'm guessing it was fun.

Lynn: There was nothing but heads everywhere and I do recall being more blown away that I stepped up to the microphone right up the bat on "Feel Like Making' Love." I sang a third above Paul when I was playing. Singing harmonies with him, singing, playing back up, to this guy. I got a call a couple of weeks later saying the job's mine.

Me: Is playing bass as important as singing back up vocals when you're in a band? I think most all bass players sing back up vocals, am I right?

Lynn: It's like doing the work of two people and playing bass is difficult because it's much easier to sing and play guitar. The guitar generally is rhythmically with the voice and melodically with the voice. The bass is usually counter intuitive with the vocal line. As a bass player in smaller rock bands you're spending the time playing lines that the guitar player isn't doing or what he vocals isn't doing. What you find yourself doing is playing a line and playing a different counterpoint line with your fingers. It's a challenging thing so when you're a bass player and could sing it puts you in front of the market definitely.

Me: You were a classical trained musician, am I right?

Lynn: I started playing violin at the age of nine. I began to seriously study classical music with the Don Weyand of the Seattle Symphony for nine years after that. That's what I was gonna do. I auditioned for the Seattle Symphony Orchestra when I was seventeen and got in the finals.

Me: That's cool. So, when and how did you get into bass and rock music?

Lynn: The problem is I went and saw the Who. I'm sixteen, watching the Who, and I'm watching the girls go absolutely crazy. I was 16-years-old and those were the kinds of influences. Hahaha. I didn't see that happening with violinist. Hahaha. Plus the feeling of it turned me on. Shortly after that I saw the first I John McLaughlin Mahavishnu Orchestra with Jerry Goodman on violin at the Paramount Theater in Seattle and watched him play with his style and stuff. That was the tipping point for me. There was no turning back. I then started playing blues riffs on my violin.

Me: So, was bass your first rock instrument?

Lynn: No, actually I played guitar. I still play guitar. Everybody plays guitar. I've always been enamored with the low end of rock bands and its always kinda got me going. Bass players were needed so I picked up a Univox bass and taught myself bass guitar and got in bands. I realized I should sing and got myself a singing voice.

Me: Okay, let's talk about Heaven & Earth. How did you start to work with Stuart Smith and Heaven & Earth?

Lynn: Well, he saw me play with Paul. We payed different venues down in L.A. and Stuart was a big Paul Rodgers fan so he was going to the shows and he went backstage and that's where I met him. He then saw me play with Bad Company, and he came up to me and said, "I want to play with you someday." This was years ago. I knew of Stuart and everything, and he gives me a call and they were planning a European tour and they had a bass opening as Chuck Wright had left the band. Stuart calls me up and says, "Hi, Lynn, I've got a new record, I've got a new singer, and I can pay you money." I went on-line to check out the record and "Dig" had some really good tunes on it.

Me: Who is the vocalist, Lynn?

Lynn: Joe Retta, who had to be the best undiscovered rock vocalist on the planet. Right then I was like oh, my God, yeah. You gotta have that singer in rock and roll and he was sitting there right in front of my face.

Me: I have to be honest, when I first started to listen to the new album "Hard to Kill" I thought I don't think I'm gonna like this... but I was wrong. I really did enjoy it. It's such a cool classic rock sounding album. Did Stuart write the songs or did all you guys take part?

Lynn: We got off the European tour supporting "Dig," Jackie Barnes from Australia was the drummer, and he had to go back to Australia, so we grabbed Kenny Aaronoff at a rare time when he actually had some time. We sat down in Stuart's living room and set up everything. Cheaply we mic'ed everything, putting mic's in front off each instrument and had a cheap little 8-track recorder and we just started thumbing through lick ideas that we have. Stuart's a real good lick writer. With every fifth one we kinda go that's cool, and we would take that and work up songs and offer ideas up until we had a song and then move into another idea. We did that for awhile. Joe got ahold of those and then started to out a vocal line to that. Sometimes he came up with a real blasé and we thought that would be no good, but then we went oh, my gosh, that's golden. Other times it was the way round, we came up with a really musical idea and we thought this was cool but there's no ability to write any cool, catchy voice to it. It took a few months and then we got together at Kenny's studio and me and Kenny laid down to bed in his studio in Van Nuys, he has a drum studio, we just laid that down. Then Joe and Stuart did the rest after that.

Me: So, are you guys gonna be touring? I'm sure with all your other side projects that'll be hard. 

Lynn: Well, we do have a touring band. Since a couple of Super Bowls ago and shortly after we recorded the record, Ty Bailie got a job with Katy Perry, so our keyboardist is out with her. Kenny is always busy. John Fogerty is his paper route gig, he does that all the time. We picked up a drummer named Steve Wilson who is a great drummer. I'm very particular about drummers by the way. So, we have a touring band now which is great.

Me: When you were in Bad Company that's a pretty household name, but Heaven & Earth is not, unless you are thinking of the movie with the same name, I don't think that's a household name. So, are you guys having problems with getting radio airplay? How do you market such a band?

Lynn: It's hard in the United States, which here it's about the money. Without the support of Clear Channel you'll have a difficult time getting on the radio. Really its a catch-22. Really we've gotta find places in the world that want us, and of course Europe is a great area, and Japan is a great idea. If you have something that people want to listen to they'll come out. Overseas it's more cultural and less about the money than here in the states. It's very much a commercial viable world here. So, we've got to prove ourselves and sneak back here. It's interesting, you break a new band out in the states and you'll have a hard enough time getting the band arrested here until you prove yourself somewhere else.

Me: Yeah, radio here, unless it's talk radio, sucks. That's why Spotify and Pandora radio are so popular. If I had a radio station I'd play everything, It takes a lot of money and hard work, right? 

Lynn: Yeah. Commercialism is a curse and also necessary at the same time.

Me: Well, I actually like the album a lot, Lynn. Thanks so much for being on the Phile and please come back soon. Tell Paul Rodgers and Kenny Aaronoff they need to come on the Phile. Mention your websites and I wish you luck and continued success.

Lynn: Thank you very much, I appreciate this. Very good, sir.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Lynn Sorensen for a great interview. The Phile will be back tomorrow with author Abby Stern. 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

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