Sunday, May 27, 2018

Pheaturing John Oates

Hey there, welcome to the Phile for Memorial Day weekend... how are you? I hope bad weather doesn't ruin the Memorial Day plans I didn't make. By the way, telling your dog all your problems doesn't make him a therapy dog. Just saying. Okay, let's get on with this thing... A once-powerful man is facing consequences for his crimes. You might have lost faith that such things could still happen in Trump's America, thanks to former aspiring actress Lucia Evans, who brought her case and evidence to the police, Harvey Weinstein was perp walked out of the police station and into court. Look at this smug SOB in handcuffs. It's a far cry from the red carpet, but it suits him much better.

Here's a picture of him with a face that DOESN'T say "I'm a gazillionaire so I know I'm going to get out on bail anyway."

Weinstein was arraigned on rape and sexual assault charges, and posted a $1 million bail. He will be forced to wear an ankle monitor and surrender his passport. Asia Argento alleged that Weinstein raped her at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997. Rose McGowan, another one of Weinstein's scores of accusers, told Megyn Kelly on "The Today Show" that "to see him in handcuffs... is a very good feeling."
In what I'll now refer to as Watergate (that's not taken, right?), Fox News contributor and NRA Barbie Tomi Lahren had a glass of water flung at her by a stranger in a restaurant while Lahren was out with her parents. Of course, in the Republicans' camp, much was made of this supposedly horrible treatment. Lahren was a guest on Sean Hannity's show, where he praised her for handling this travesty with such grace, and asked her how "hard" it was for her and her parents. People, we're talking about water, here. Water. Lahren claimed that the incident was "humiliating" and posited that people "forget that [she's] a real person." I don't think that's quite the case. I think people do remember she's a real person, with horrible values and racist ideals, and that's why some feel driven to do things like throw water on her. President Trump even tweeted his support for Lahren, saying "Everybody is with Tomi Lahren." Well, clearly not everybody. Just take a look Twitter. As one person pointed out, this tragedy could easily have been avoided if there had just been a "good guy with a glass of water" there to save her.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, not all news is bad news. Every day, in our fair land, there are tales of hope and triumph, bravery and people who truly extended themselves beyond the odds. There are tales that confirm just how beautiful humanity can be, and this is one of those stories. For those unaware, Robert DeNiro co-owns the delicious chain of Nobu restaurants alongside celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa. Since Trump's election, DeNiro has been pretty outspoken about how much he dislikes the president. However, his distaste for Trump has now transcended the personal and entered the world of business. In a recent interview with The Daily Mail, DeNiro revealed that he's officially banned Trump from all of the dozens of Nobu restaurants worldwide. I cast doubt on the possibility of Trump, who likes his steak well-done, ever appreciating the nuanced flavors of Nobu in the first place. Nonetheless, the gesture presents itself as a firm middle finger toward the president. Much to the chagrin of his business partner, chef Nobu himself thinks DeNiro and Trump should sit down for a meal together to talk it out. I fully support DeNiro's motion to ban Trump, although I must say, a lot of people would be curious to hear about the fall-out from the two men dining together.
A humble homophobe got angry at his Happy Meal when he saw a rainbow on his box of fries and was instantly triggered. The fries! They're... homosexual! Wally M. Thomas of Hollister, California accused McDonald's of imposing the gay agenda on its customers with a special edition piece of cardboard that celebrated pride. He's so triggered, he called them "gay fries." The tweet is from last year, but it's only just going viral now, as people are trolling him to flex their muscles for this year's pride month. Uh oh, now that he's eaten the gay fries, he's gay now. This is how it works. The fries are the side to the meat buns, anyway. People are upping the ante on a simple rainbow box by one-upping the gay fries with some gay PDA. Commenters are also adding that this very tweet is precisely why McDonald's made "gay fries" to begin with. There's also some straight up porn in the comments, I was going to show them but decided not to just in case you're at the office. But feel free to check out the porn!
The class of 2018 is nailing the senior quote game, making sure they're immortalized in the fancy keepsake scrapbook with words of wisdom and pop culture references. A duo of Garcias' quotes are going viral for raising a whole bunch of questions, namely, how the FUCK did they get these past the censors?

Now Daisy appears to be making a joke about ejaculate, but it's Carlos's trip that steals the show. Some Extremely Online kids have tracked down the source of Carlos's quote, and it goes back to this insane meme from a few years ago...

Yes, that appears to be Osama Bin Laden's chin on a toddler's face, with the nonsensical phrase that's just too deep for us to understand. By the way, why does Garret not have a thought? I’ll give him a penny for it.
Little kids shouldn't be humiliated. Life is hard enough at that age, what with figuring everything out, and the last thing a kid needs is a teacher trying to embarrass him or her. It almost seems unbelievable that one would try. But that seems to be what happened in an elementary school in Lafayette, Louisiana, on May 21st. Elementary school teacher Jessica Bordlee gave first-grader Hayden Albert awards for "most talkative" and "class clown," which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing except for the fact that his classmates were given certificates honoring their academic achievements. This made for a very awkward ceremony. And the red nose that Hayden was given to wear at the end didn't make it any better. Hayden's great-aunt, LaTosha Alexis, posted about the awards ceremony on Facebook. Alexis claimed that the whole room went silent after Hayden was given his awards. Alexis tagged the school in her Facebook post and the school did reply. Joe Craig, the chief administrative officer for the Lafayette Parish School system told WWLTV that he and the district's Superintendent Donald Aguillard agreed that the awards were not appropriate and claimed that Bordlee would receive "disciplanary action." "Additionally, due to the severity of the incident, the principal will be recommending disciplinary action taken against the teacher. This is a personnel issue. However, we were very concerned about the teacher's actions and human resources will respond accordingly." The Daily Advertiser got ahold of a voicemail message that Bordlee reportedly left for Hayden's family. In it, she said that she was sorry if they were offended by the class clown award, but that she didn't mean it in a "negative way." Bordlee claimed that Hayden had asked for the red nose. Hayden's grandmother, Shaneka Hayes, attended the ceremony as well. Speaking to The Daily Advertiser, she said, "Everything was just so quiet and people had these strange looks on their faces. People kept looking at me to see my reaction. I was so uncomfortable." She added, "When our children get certificates, we frame these. We keep these. Who wants to frame something like that?"
So, I'm not saying it's been raining a lot here in Florida, but this happened...

Haha. So, some people are just assholes...

Does that make her an asshole? Hmmm. So, do you have bad luck? This person dod...

That has happened to me before. If I had a TARDIS I would like to go and meet Robert E. Lee but knowing my luck I'll meet his slave, Selina Norris Gray and two of her eight children...

That's really Lee's slaves by the way. You know about the Avengers, right? Well, do you know the Revengers? Here's one of their action figures...

Hahaha. Or not. Hahaha. Hey, they are making Shawshank Redemption 2.  Here's the first promo pic for it...

By the way, it seems when Thanos snapped his fingers in Infinity War it affected more than just the Marvel Cinematic Universe...

I told you about that website where you can rate your professor, right? I have to say, some of these students are brutal...

Parents, I hope your kids are as clever as the kid that wrote this...

The kid deserves an A+ for thinking past the problem. Did you see some of the souvenirs for the Royal wedding that came out? Some of them are pretty odd like a commemorative plate featuring... record scratch... Ed Sheeran?

Close enough. Speaking of the Royal wedding, did Thanos know about this?

Do you guys like Bill Nye? I can't stand him. He had a new show on Netflix, and I think his new look is very puzzling...

It explains why he's such a douche. Did you see the new movie A Star Wars Story: Solo? I think the product tie-in's for it are very clever...

Ha! Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, here is...

Top Phive Things You Might Hear At Your Memorial Day Party
5. My favorite drink is... wow! There's alcohol in that? I'll be able to drink several of those.
4. Liquor before beer, in the clear. Wine before whiskey before beer before whiskey before rum before beer, I'm an idiot.
3. I brought you some non-alcoholic wine.
2. Who called them drunken texts and not remorse code?
And the number one thing you might hear at your Memorial Day party is...
1. Scientists say men who drink beer daily reduce their risk of heart attack. As for livers, scientists said "fuck livers" and then high-fived.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Alright, kids, did you see the movie Deadpool 2? A friend of the Phile did and I thought it'll be fun if he reviewed it. You know what time it is.

Happy Sunday, pluckerz. Here is Laird’s Movie Review (sans spoilers (for those who have yet to see it). Wade calls Cable Thanos... HA! A billboard? Really? Wolverine statuette (priceless). Guess Vanessa was asking for too much money for Deadpool 3 Brad Pitt’s cameo was hilarious.  Stay until the end of the credits (of course). Now I know how they’re gonna undo the way Avengers Infinity Wars ended. Domino was totally badass. I can’t believe that was Matt Damon. Who knew Colossus was such a potty mouth? Negasonic Teenage Warhead really grew outta that awkward stage. Always choose your “Super Team” wisely. Why doesn’t Deadpool ever drive himself? I give it 8 out of a possible 10.

Hahaha. I think I get that one. Hey, now for a pheature called for some unknown reason...

The Maine Coon is the largest and third most popular domestic cat breed. They are literally the size of an average 2 year old. It's no wonder people say their pets are their kids, 'cause that thing is flipping' huge.

Hey, remember just last month when Republicans were calling for Donald Trump to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for agreeing to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and made a bunch of gaudy commemorative coins to mark the occasion? Well... about that. On Thursday morning, the White House released a letter from the President to the North Korean Chairman canceling their long-awaited meeting. The summit had been planned for June 12th in Singapore. "I was very much looking forward to being there with you,” Trump wrote. "Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting." He also added, “The world, and North Korea in particular, has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth." The decision to cancel the meeting came amid hostile warnings from North Korea in recent days, including a statement that the United States must decide whether to "meet us in a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown." Uh, nuclear showdown it is, I guess? Shortly before canceling the summit, a North Korean official also had unleashed a tidal wave of fury at the Trump administration, going as far as to call Vice President Pence "stupid" and a "political dummy." Our demise might be just around the corner.

The 81st book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Author Martin Grams Jr. will be the guest on the Phile in a few weeks. Now for some Memorial Day...

Phact 1. Some people are upset that Memorial Day was changed in 1968 to be the last Monday of May rather than the 30th, saying, “Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day.”

Phact 2. The first Memorial Day was a funeral held by freed slaves for Union soldiers who liberated them after the American Civil War in 1865.

Phact 3. There is an American military cemetery Margraten, Netherlands. On Memorial Day each year, every last grave is “adopted” by a Dutch family that lays flowers over the site.

Phact 4. On Memorial Day, the U.S. Flag should be flown at half-mast from dawn until noon only. From noon to dusk it should be flown at full.

Phact 5. Memorial Day weekend is the most dangerous time to drive in the U.S. in terms of auto fatalities.

Today's pheatured guest is is an American rock, R&B and soul guitarist, singer, songwriter and record producer best known as half of the rock and soul duo, Hall & Oates. His new solo album "Arkansas" is available now on Amazon, iTunes and Spotify. Please welcome to the Phile, the one and only... John Oates!

Me: Hey, John, how are you? It's so cool to have you here, sir. How are you?

John: I'm well, how about you? Me: Hmmm... I say I'm good for now. I love the new album, John, it sounds very blusey, and your voice is great on it. How was it recording this album? It's so different than the Hall & Oates stuff, right?

John: Well, I started out as a blues musician long before met Daryl Hall, so this is sort of a return really to the stuff that made me who I am as a musician as a kid.

Me: That's cool. So, what made you decide to do a Mississippi John Hurt tribute album, sir?

John: I've always been a big fan of him and Mississippi John Hurt, so I decided to make a record that is a tribute to him.

Me: I like how it sounds as a bunch of guys got together on a porch or somewhere and just started playing. Was that the intention?

John: I went into the studio and began to record some classic Mississippi John Hurt songs just with an acoustic guitar and my voice in the traditional way. I kind of felt I fell short in that it's already been done better than I would ever do it, and the original versions were always gonna be better. I didn't want to abandon the idea so I sat back and thought about for a second. I thought, well, what's missing with this project? The songs are great, but my performance is not cutting it. So, I said what if I put together a band and lay these songs which always have been traditionally associated with a single voice and a single guitar. What if I had band reimagine these songs? I assembled this incredible band with people like Sam Bush, Russ Pahll and Guthrie Trapp. All these amazing musicians. I went into the studio as an experiment. The very first track I cut with this incredible band I liked at my engineer, he looked at me and went wow. I said, "Yeah. This is something different. It's special and there's magic here." That's how it started. From that point on it was just full steam ahead. I put my head down and we recorded everything,

Me: Did you record the album live?

John: We recorded live to tape, I sang live, we played live, there are almost no overdubs on this entire album. In fact I don't think there are any. What you hear on this recorded is almost exactly what happened in the recording studio.

Me: Once you got the guys in the band in the studio did you know what you wanted to the mandolin to do, or the steel pedal or did you just all jam and see how it came out?

John: It was very collaborative but at the same time I directed it as best as I could. Once I heard the sound and once we recorded one track I knew that there as something special going on. At the same time the musician were chose, I chose them for a reason because I knew their sensitivity, their abilities to listen and their skill with their instruments was on an extremely high level. So, when I assemble a group of musicians like that I don't want to hamstring them by overly directing them. At the same time I was like the musical traffic cop. I kept all the traffic going in the right direction, but I didn't tell anybody how to drive let's put it that way.

Me: What was the hardest part about recording this album?

John: There was a wild variety of songs, so I wanted to make sure there was a coherency between the Delta blues, the rag time, the swing. What began to emerge the album was just this thing that constantly evolved and constantly grew.

Me: I called it a Mississippi John Hurt tribute album but it's more than that, right?

John: It started out was Mississippi John Hurt but then what I started to do was I thought this was sounding so amazing I want to broaden out the concept of the record. So I thought what songs are contemporary with his earliest recordings. Now, he recorded for a very brief time in the 1920s, from '26 to '29. I thought to myself let's paint a musical picture of he type of music that was being played on the earliest phonograph records that people could hear and what actually formed the foundation of popular music. So, I did some research and found some songs that he actually liked. He was a big fan of Jimmie Rogers, so I chose that classic Jimmie Rogers song "Miss the Mississippi and You." He kinda had a rag time finger picking style so I went in and did a Blind Blake song. Blind Blake has been pretty much acknowledged as being the best, if not the most influential rag time guitar players of that era. I kinda approached the record like that.

Me: There's two original songs on the album as well, right? Why is that?

John: Yeah, I thought they kinda in a way moved the record into the future and tie it together with where I am at now personally. Also there was a song called "Dig Back Deep," the title says it all. I'm literally describing what I'm doing on the record. I'm digging back deep into the past, into my earliest influences. Those two originals are what I thought are appropriate for the record.

Me: The guitar playing is not the normal guitar playing you play obviously. Was that hard to change styles after not playing that style for so long?

John: I'm the glue, I'm the Mississippi John Hurt glue on this record. Meaning when you listen to the guitar parts I'm playing they are really right out of the Mississippi John Hurt songs. I am literally paying the exact way he played on this record. I had the good fortune of meeting him, hanging out with him, seeing him play, watching him play in my friends living room in Philadelphia in the late 60s. So, I have the first hand experience with is music so it's not something I learnt from a record or a book. I'm being pretty faithful to the original sales, but it's the accompaniment that is surrounding what I'm doing that makes it unique. So, there are some original things that I'm doing as well but when it comes to my role in this record was to be the traditional center of the record.

Me: Is Mississippi John Hurt your biggest influence when you were growing up, or were you into the blues and early rock like my dad was?

John: Moving to Nashville about 10 years ago I began to get very much involved with the Americana genre of music, the players, the people who were involved in it have become my friends. It really is where my sweet spot is in terms of my solo work. What I began to do was really become fascinated with the earliest days of American popular song. I began to relate it to my own life and I thought to myself my entire career was based on making hit records. That's what I've always done, it's made me who I am in a certain way. But I don't know a lot about the earliest days of early hit records. The invention of the phonograph coincided with the music I made for this record. It all began to make sense, it was like this jigsaw puzzle, it all came together. Okay, so, for the first time Americans would have a machine that would play music in their home which was very unusual with people. Prior to that you had to go out and listen to someone play. That was the one way you could listen to music, or someone played in your living room, So, I began to think what were the earliest her records.

Me: What are some of the records you found, John?

John: One was a song by Emmett Miller called "Anytime." So I included that in the album. I thought to myself now the album has not only become tribute to Mississippi John Hurt, but a celebration of the earliest days of American popular music.

Me: You and Daryl wrote some of the most amazing songs in modern day music, so when you discover new Americana music do you see some similarities in the structure? I mean, when you wrote a song with Daryl you knew was gonna be a hit or a great album track. Did they think the same back then?

John: Well, if you're talking about the music structure of the song itself yes and no. The popular song format for a popular song has changed. For instance, if you really wanted to get musically technical if you go back to the 1920s and the 1930s and listen to the music like I put on this record or Cole Porter, or George Gershwin or Irving Berlin, the popular songwriters of the time their songs weren't really formatted like a lot of poplar songs were later evolved into. For instance, the concept of the verse, the chorus, the bridge was much more of a convention of the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s. Now popular songwriting has evolved past that. Now the concept of modern popular songs or hip hop or whatever it might be really the concept of the verse is gone. There is no verse. It's just a series of hooks that are somehow stitched together in artful ways at its best. Going back to the earlier days with what we call a verse if a popular song was actually the intro to popular songs in the 1920s. They did these verses, they called it a verse, but it was actually a portion of the song that would only appear in the beginning and you would not heat again. It's interesting of the actual structure of the pop song has evolved.

Me: You went on tour with this album, right? Is it weird to be playing in smaller venues than what you would with Hall & Oates?

John: Well, it's what this music deserves. Its the best way for me to communicate this music and tell these stories, I tell a lot of stories and I try to put the songs into context. Basically the conversation we are having right now is what I intersperse into my show. I try to help people understand the context of this music. When they understand the context of this music it's perceived in a different way. That's part of why I'm playing these smaller venues. I just think it's the best.

Me: Are you having fun doing these shows, John?

John: I enjoy it, I really do. It feels like a living room. I get to interact, it's very intimate. I have these incredible group of musicians that I play with, the guys that are on the record. I'm bringing a smaller version than what is on the record, it's more like a trio concept. They're good friends that I knew for years and we have this telepathic relationship. We do spontaneous things and the playing is off the charts. That's what I love. It's pure musicianship, it's real, it's raw, and there's no hiding when we do these shows. If you like good music and you like great players, that's what this show is about.

Me: That's so cool. Are you still performing with Daryl?

John: Yeah, we are doing these giant arena shows. In fact we are coming back again in late spring with video screens, lights, the whole bit. This is the antidote for the arena shows for me. This is the way I get back to reality and go okay, man, get your feet back on the ground. I love it, to be honest with you.

Me: John, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Tell Daryl I want to interview him on the Phile. And come back on the Phile and we'll talk about your book.

John: Okay, I appreciate it.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim and of course John Oates. The Phile will be back next Sunday with actor Sam Huntington. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Have a safe and fun Memorial Day. 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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