Monday, June 4, 2018

Pheaturing Danielle Dax

Hey, good afternoon, and welcome to the Phile, kids. How's your Monday? I'm having a sucky Monday... Finn, my betta fish died. In other news I discovered something today... Jif spelt upside down is Jif. I'll show you later. Anyway, my Monday is better than Bill Clinton's. Former president and would-be First Lady Bill Clinton is on a book tour promoting the thriller he co-wrote with James Patterson called The President is Missing, which has nothing to do with the suspicious disappearance of Melania Trump. When asked about the scandal that lead to his impeachment (remember when presidents got impeached?), Clinton insisted that he "did the right thing" with regards to Monica Lewinsky. Despite the #MeToo movement shining a light on power dynamics and inappropriate relationships in the workplace, and Lewinsky herself calling Clinton's actions an "inappropriate use of authority, station, and privilege," Bubba wouldn't have changed a thing. Clinton insists that by fighting the impeachment and not resigning, he defended the Constitution, and that he did not need to apologize to Lewinsky privately because he did so publicly. Craig Melvin asked if looking at the affair through the lens of the #MeToo movement has inspired Clinton to take more responsibility, to which the former president got argumentative and insisted that he suffered because of the whole thing too. (That was a good, pointed question, Mr. Melvin. Do Trump next!!!) "No, I felt terrible then, and I came to grips with it... Nobody believes that I got out of that for free," Clinton said. "I left the White House $16 million in debt." Sad! "Bill Clinton" was trending on Twitter for hours, as both liberals and conservatives wished he'd just go away. And now back to the current president's abuses of power!  
The curious case of the missing Melania is said to be solved today as the First Lady is scheduled to attend her first event in 24 days... an event for Gold Star families. Well, the ones Donald Trump hasn't insulted. This likely won't be enough to end the conspiracy theories, as the event is closed to the press and will therefore fail to provide evidence that the First Lady is indeed alive. Melania didn't go to Camp David with the president this weekend (even TIFFANY was there. Tiffany!), and won't be joining Trump and the other Spouses-in-Chief at the upcoming G7 Summit in Quebec. She hates her husband so much that she's willing to forego a meet and greet with Justin Trudeau? Something is horribly, terribly wrong here.
A Dallas woman has been accused of fatally shooting her husband because he was abusing the family feline, which is a story straight out of the "Cell Block Tango." The Star-Telegram reports that Mary Harrison, 47, remained in custody yesterday after failing to make a $100,000 bail. The shooting occurred just before 7 a.m. on Saturday, and, "When officers arrived, Mary Harrison met with police and told them she and her husband had been arguing." He also had been beating the family's cat, police said. According to the police, Mary had admitted to shooting her husband Dexter. Neighbors told KTVT-TV that the cat had recently gone missing but was thankfully returned, so it really was an emotional rollercoaster of a time.
It's been a rough couple of years for Johnny Depp. Since 2016 alone, the Pirates of the Caribbean actor has been accused of domestic violence, underwent a very public divorce from Amber Heard after only a year of marriage, and entered a high-profile lawsuit against his own management company over millions of dollars in loans and investments given without permission. Now, recently surfaced pictures of Depp have fans concerned for his health. In the photographs with fans, Depp appears gaunt and thin, and some are saying that the actor "looks ill." See for yourself...

The pictures were snapped while Depp was on tour in Russia with his rock band, Hollywood Vampires. One user said, “He looks pale here. Hope he’s okay.” However, some speculated that Depp's radical new appearance is for a role. According to IMDB, the actor had recently wrapped a film where he plays "A college professor lives his life with reckless abandon after being diagnosed with a terminal illness." Honestly, I'm more concerned that the 54-year-old man is dressed like a damn YouTuber.
When a 50-year-old man in China was suffering from severe constipation, he figured out that the best course of action is to shove a huge eggplant up his butt. You'll be surprised to learn that the suppository ingestion did not make him feel better, but actually made him feel worse. At the hospital, the dude got an X-ray done, and learned that the eggplant was so far up there, it was causing damage to his lung. There's such a thing as alternative Chinese medicine that's a little too alternative.
So, I was thinking, instead of doing this blog thing I should be listening to this record...

Ummm... maybe not. I had a spider in my bed the other day which sucked. I live by myself and had to get it with no ones help. Some people though can leave a lot for someone else to take care of it...

Hahaha. If I had a TARDIS I would go crash John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier's 1953 wedding.

I'd get there right when they're cutting the cake. Some people just have the worse luck ever. Like this person...

Awe. Have you seen the new "fat shaming" posters? This is real, kids.

I think it's "fat shaming." In Infinity War when Thanos clicked his fingers do you know it affected more than the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Check it out...

Caaaarrrllll!!!! Speaking of Marvel... they do a really good job picking out stunt men for the movies.

See? So, the Royal Wedding was a few weeks ago but they're still selling souvenirs from it. Like the hella creepy face masks...

You don't appreciate their eyes until they're gone. Some kids this year are killing it with their senior yearbook quotes. Like Jose's for instance...

Hahaha. I have no idea what he means. Hey, I think they figured out the "Roseanne" TV show thing...

True. Haha. Speaking of... did you see Ambien's new ad?

Ha! Okay, so, I thought of doing something new on this blog. I want to know your crazy first date stories. Email them to me at and the best ones will be used in next Sunday's Peverett Phile Top Phive list. Now for a phrature that is titled for some reason...

In Finland, speeding tickets are calculated based on your income... causing some Finnish millionaires to pay fines of over $100,000.

This one is slightly hard. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Now for a brand new pheature called...

You don't have to be British to laugh at this meme, but it will bloody well help...


A pet is the only member of the family it's okay to murder when they become too much of a burden.

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

The author, Martin Grams Jr. will be the guest on the Phile next Monday. Now for some...

Phact 1. Jonathan Goldsmith, aka The Most Interesting Man In The World, got his gig by auditioning, where he removed one sock and improvised for 30 minutes straight, concluding with the line “…and that’s how I arm-wrestled Fidel Castro."
Phact 2. There are “white monkey” jobs in China where Caucasian foreigners are hired to stand around and pretend to be an employee of the Chinese company or representative of an international company to increase the value of the Chinese company.
Phact 3. When the Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883, the public doubted the stability of the bridge. Six days later, a pedestrian fell, causing a woman to scream, which led to a stampede that killed 12. Public concern was only dispelled a year later when P.T. Barnum marched 21 elephants across it.  Phact 4. The “ah-choo” sound people make when sneezing is a culturally learned behavior. For example, in the Philippines they instead say “ha-ching," the Japanese say “hakashun," and deaf people don’t add any sounds at all.
Phact 5. The difference between farther and further is that “farther” refers to an actual physical distance, while “further” is used in a distance that cannot be really observed and measured. For example “He furthered his education” and “the homes were farther apart."

Today's guest is is an English experimental musician and producer most active from the late-1970s to the mid-1990s. Please welcome to the Phile... Danielle Dax.

Me: Hello, Danielle, welcome to the Phile. How are you? 

Danielle: Hiya, Jason. Good to be here. 

Me: So, I have to be honest... your music, like that avant-garde type of stuff is my least favorite music. Over the years I heard of you but never actually heard your music until I prepped for this interview. I have three words... What. The. Hell. I always ask musicians what their influences are but I can't imagine what yours would be. Laurie Anderson is the only one that came to mind. So, what's the deal, Danielle, who were you inspired by?

Danielle: Oh, darling, bless you. I wouldn't be capable for copying anybody. Jason, that was what was so great, when I first met Karl Blake who I did Lemon Kittens with we used to go to junk shops and buy any instruments that were dead cheap to make noises on them. His attitude was if you can make art in one area you can transfer that to any area. If you can make a noise it's music, and I can agree with that in every way. Really before I was involved with music I was a bit asperger's about it. It was really my salvation and anyone young won't understand how a provincial girl growing up in an uncultured area of Britain at that time, how lonely that was and how odd one feels. I like obviously aware of pop music, I liked a lot of pop music... I like glam rock and funk, Stevie Wonder and James Brown and all that kind of stuff. We had to learn an instrument at school and I learnt to play the flute and would play classical music but not very well. I never used to read music, I used to do it by memory. The teacher didn't realise til about end of the first year. when I met Karl I had this obsession and discovered through a friend all this "can and noy," and "Faust," then found a lot of avant-garde 60s and 70s electronic composers, and I would literally listen to everything like it was my life pod. Obviously all tI that filtered through somehow. Even if I wanted play this "pop music" it'll be successful, I couldn't of done it to save my life, but I did know I was interested in the engineering and production side and the sounds as much as singing over the top. My biggest three people who were my inspiration were Brian Eno, I loved his solo albums like "Another Green World," and "Here Come The Warm Jets" and things, and Captain Beefheart, and Robert Wild. I would be quite happy to be any of them or the three mixed up as one.

Me: So, when you started making music were you planning or thinking about being in the pop charts or anything?

Danielle: No way, too boring. I don't care, or never cared, about pleasing anybody else but myself. I still feel that way with everything I do. If it doesn't satiny me, it doesn't get made, which is why I haven't done any new music in so long. I don't know if it's single minded, bloody minded, I'm not quite sure. I don't quite get how things work normally anyway. I certainly didn't back then. This will make you laugh, when the first Lemon Kittens EP was released, which I obviously didn't play on, but did the cover for, I was convinced it was the most commercial music ever, we were going on "Top of the Pops." I had no idea what it really sounded like. LOL.

Me: I don't mean to sound rude but when you listen to "Pop-Eyes" or the Lemon Kittens albums are you really thinking this is really good and catchy and people were going to dance to it?

Danielle: Yeah, I thought it was great. People did dance to it. LOL. It was only afterwards I thought how deluded and particular that attitude was but I don't know where my head was at.

Me: When you're making music like that are you producing what you hear in your head? Or are you literally just banging stuff out and see what happens?

Danielle: Yeah, I think the answer is a bit of both but I have a thing called synesthesia which is where I have a brain misfiring and right from the beginning I had didn't textures and shapes and things and colours for different sounds. Certainly when I made "Pop-Eyes" I had a visual mapping of things. Because it was done in such a basic way I would lay down an electronic drum track I would see shapes and voids and peaks and different kind of textures... that's sort of how it worked. For example, a clarinet would always sound like digestive biscuits, or an obo would be curdled milk or something like that. In my old notebook I have drawings of some of the tracks as a series of lines and dots and wiggles, almost like a map reference to those sounds. I have a very quick sense of what might work within a layer of textures and it developed obviously as I listened and got older and simulated more. 

Me: What was it like working with other people, Danielle? It's one thing you making music like that yourself but was it hard on getting other people to play along?

Danielle: Well, I think the only difficulty when I'm working with other people especially as a woman I might go into the studio in the early 80s and A) I had the whole sexism thing which is a pain, but when I go in and there's an engineer he might like the work of jazz-funk, I'd go in and ask him what does that machine do and it might make a chorus effect or something, and it's something useless and I'll say, "really fuck it up. I want a noise that goes 'realurb'." LOL. Then he gets a bit confused. Then I get the people who psychology, sociology adapt at dealing with different personalities. Then I got the other ones who thought, "Ugh. I can't deal with this." When I made my first album the first studio I ever worked in I was doing a track that never made it to "Pop-Eyes" and on the second day the guy said to me, "I can't listen to anymore of this, you're doing my head in. I can't do any more sessions with you." LOL. He was a jazz funker and he did teach me about binaural recording so I can't be too down on him. Ha.

Me: I do have to say you are very creative, Danielle. You do cover art for other people's albums, you have the craziest fashion I ever seen. In the early days didn't you perform naked with just body glitter on? I like that idea. Hahaha.

Danielle: It was body paint. Here's a picture for you, Jason.

Me: Nice. So, why did you decide to perform naked?

Danielle: Jason, I did that deliberately to get away from fashion. I didn't want our band to be associated with punk, or "new romantics," or whatever what was going on at the time. We had the back drops that I painted, and we were part of the back drops. We would do away with clothes and not worry about fashion. Being on stage was the safest place in the world.

Me: Did you know from the very beginning of your life you were gonna do something very creative?

Danielle: I don't think I had a choice. I used to have to fight against the notion of the artiste, that tortured artiste, was my destiny, especially being British, we are not good at all that serious angst and philosophizing about things, we tend to take the piss out of things more. Eventually I realised I can't fight it not anyway or one way or another. In the way some people are good at sports, it's just some people are creative and I was going to say good at maths but is creative to, just in a different way. I remember my brother saying to me once, he was listening to a Camel album, and he said, "Dax, why don't you make an album like this? Why do you make an album with that shit?" I said to him because I have to, I feel a need to. I couldn't so that other stuff. It wouldn't be me. It doesn't make life easy, does it, as you can imagine. I bet you're creative.

Me: Kinda I guess. My dad was very creative, being a songwriter and creating the album covers and stuff. I write songs here and there, doodle and write this stupid little blog. With you being so creative was it easy for you?

Danielle: It was a fucking nightmare. It made me ill. It gave me bronchitis. Christ, no. If I could chose to be normal, perfectly happy, doing something that was just a regular thing... God, I'd love to be like that. It would be so much easier. I don't know, maybe it wouldn't. Everybody's difficulty are relative. I don't believe in those sort of regrets. I will do something from now on or reframe it. It wasn't an easy life, I gave up so much to do this. It's easier for guys.

Me: When you stopped making music in the 90s, Danielle, what did you do? I know you do a lot of artwork.

Danielle: There as a period when things got really scary but I went into garden design, I won awards for interior design, I recently did a degree in Chelsea School of Arts. I've never been to art school so I thought it would be quite interesting to be an art student. I love so many different areas and being creative so there's never a shortage of things that are interesting.

Me: Not all your music is on iTunes, Danielle. But I read you had an album called "Inky Bloaters." What does that mean?

Danielle: I spent my preschool years living with my grandparents and it was a phrase she used as a name of an invisible being that pushed doors open or closed in a draft or moved curtain in the wind. She would never say it was the wind, she would describe it to me as being the work of "Inky Bloaters." That's where that comes from.

Me: Cool. So, where were you the most well-known, Danielle? Did your career get bigger and bigger?

Danielle: Yeah, it did pick up. The biggest market really was Japan and I didn't realise until years afterwards that we were doing really, really well over there like really big acts were in Britain. We would come back first class and would have to sign on the dole. Around the time of "Cat-House" and things became more commercially viable.

Me: Did you like becoming more popular?

Danielle: I can't say I was very comfortable with it. I was very shy and I find the promotional aspects of it was really, really difficult. If I was in a band and had my mates it would be easier, but I didn't have anything like that. In these days I would have people telling me how to deal with the press and stylists and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. There wasn't anybody so that was tough. I did find it to be tough. I did do television and was featured as the single of the week in the music press and stuff.

Me: When did you first come to the states, Danielle, and did you open for anybody?

Danielle: We did a few one offs at festivals and stuff. We did the tour with The Sisters of Mercy which was amazing cause it was a full-blown normo tour with busses and all that kind of stuff I have never experienced. They were so nice to us, so supportive. We had a great time and played in some really big places. It was quite surprising.

Me: Very cool. By the way, I do love the album "Blast the Human Flower." You said you got ill, Danielle. What happened?

Danielle: I had a very large stress attack in the early 80s. It was really serious, life threatening, scary stuff. I kind of just squashed it down, didn't deal with it, left it alone, felt fine, I was fine, fine, fine, fine. And then after we've done the tour in America we toured Europe and I supposed it was post traumatic stress. It was a combination of what happened to me and just complete mental and physical exhaustion. I had a break down basically. I was very ill for about a year and didn't leave my flat. I was really sick and it took me a long, long time to recover. When that happens to you there is nothing you can do about it. You just have to wait til you get better. I changed. I felt like my soul somehow got dislodged and I couldn't quite get back to where I've been before. I still feel like a completely different person before the break down and after the break down. It was a very, very tough time and I couldn't work and of course I define myself by what I do. If I'm not doing I'm not actually existing. It was very painful but also a useful experience. The whole attitude of what doesn't kill you makes you stronger is true. Through it I did a lot of reading and had all sorts of therapy and met a lot of different people of all different sorts. It taught me about mindfulness and being humble and also how to look after myself which is really important. 

Me: Did you lose your enthusiasm for music at that point?

Danielle: I couldn't done it. When people say, "break down and write an album" I couldn't recognise who I was in the mirror. I didn't know how to brush my teeth let alone make an album. LOL. That wasn't on the horizon at that time. That's when I started to get interested in plants and garden design and things. Strangely enough, I've always been interested in science and it was one of my favourite things in school and there's a lot of talk about being in touch with nature it very good for you psychology. I just found out last week there's an enzyme in the soil that when you plant or did the soil it's released into the atmosphere you breath it in and it's an anti-depressant. I really am passionate about ecology and wild life. There's so much to learn and it's all so massively connected. When I was ill I wasn't the slights bit interested in gardening. My mother did it and I thought it was incredibly boring. When I was ill I found myself in the rain one day when I was at my parents weeding and I thought what the fuck am I doing. It was crazy.

Me: Shit, I hared doing garden work or weeding when I lived at the house. So glad I don't have to do that shit now I live in an apartment. If you didn't have the break down would you still made records or were you gonna retire anyway?

Danielle: Oh, no, it was as good as it could've got. I had a 5 or 7 album deal with Warner Bros. It was fantastic. I had control over things, it couldn't of been better. It would of gone on to a totally different place. There was no use to worrying about that because obviously that wasn't going to happen for me. The Sire guys were really, really sweet and supportive. Obviously when I got ill there was just no work. That was fair enough because they were running a business.

Me: Are you proud of your music looking back at it, Danielle?

Danielle: Yeah, I'm really proud if it. I was going to perform some tracks at an art gallery months ago with a few friends and we out together some really early tracks from "Pop-Eyes" to perform and it turned out it wasn't going to happen because the venue was to small and there were too many technical problems. But listening to it was really good fun. Sometimes I hear things and I think that's bloody awful, why did I do that? Christ, I would have to be an actual arsehole not to think that about something's that I created. Being the person that created that early stuff I feel really protective of that person. I think she was alright. LOL.

Me: Do you ever think you're gonna make more music? I know you still do shows.

Danielle: Well, strangely I had no interest whatsoever then I started doing these odd shows at festivals. I'm working with UnicaZürn and it was very, very difficult, doing some experimental, improvised, electronic music that I have to vocalise over it. The was really tough and I wasn't effecting my vocals in a great way, just a bit of reverb or something and the voice. When I did it it was actually really, really good, it was good fun A) to be released from any responsibility as it's not my project, and to be challenged in that way. The first show we did at Cafe Oto in London, I was massively over prepared. I've spent months exercising, vocal exercising, you name it. It wasn't needed in the slightest but it was so funny, I enjoyed the preparation. I recently bought some new equipment, I still got my old 24-track reel to reel, and all that kind of stuff. I bought myself an up to date easy peasy to use 24-track two years ago which languishing at the top floor of my house because I'm renovating my house at the moment. It's like World War III up there, I can't get into the room that it's sitting in. When the renovations are finished I'm going in there and have some fun and the first track I'm going to work on is based around the creaky bedroom door. LOL. I started to buy more crap old instruments from junk shops, but I never stopped teaching myself about music, even when I wasn't doing it. I cuold now drum quite well which I couldn't before. I'm really looking forward to working on percussion ideas and things like that. I suspect it's going to be much more in the area of sound design than songs but having said that I don't know, until I start doing that I haven't got a clue. 

Me: What do you think of new music now?

Danielle: I don't understand how the modern pop world works. I do listen to some of it and some of it I really, really like. Most of it I don't get, I'm old now. I really like that "Happy" single from a few years back but that's because it sounded like a track from the 70s. LOL.

Me: I laughed at the name of your compilation album, Danielle... "Comatose Non-Reaction: The Thwarted Pop Career of Danielle Dax." Did you come up with that?

Danielle: Oh, thank you, thank the Lord. Jason, I had so many people telling me I'm taking it very seriously, I must feel terrible about my career. No, it's a piss take.

Me: Haha. What's your favorite memory of your career, Danielle?

Danielle: It usually is something with me being really, really cheeky. I remember meeting Little Richard at a party and he kissed me on the cheek, that was really cool. I didn't want to wash my cheek. I remember things like doing a radio show with Lou Reed and the people at the radio show were so in awe and they were scared of him. I didn't know Lou Reed was supposed to be scary, and after I was laughing with him and saying, "They're collecting your cigarette butts off the floor. This is mad." We were mucking about and afterwards people asked if Lou Reed was scary but we were just joking about the people at Sire, how crazy things were at times and stuff like that. There's other things that I can't tell you that involved famous people were I would go into situation where I didn't know I couldn't say or do something. LOL. I met Warren Beatty and did not recognise him and through the whole conversation I thought he was a school teacher. LOL.

Me: Ha. Thanks for being on the Phile, Danielle, I really appreciate it. Mention your website and take care.

Danielle: Thank you very much, Jason.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Danielle for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Sunday with actor Lou Ferrigno. Yup. Him. Haha. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't 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


Anonymous said...

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João Inácio said...

This is great! It's quite sad that Danielle weren't a big star (or, at least, an alternative big star...) at those times. Too "pop" (not really ) to be a huge avant garde name, too dark and freak to be popular. This is strange, coz she had several number one on the UK indie charts. I remember, in my pre teen years, of listen her songs on my local college station radio in southern Brazil (that means: in the middle of the nowhere) and see her "Tomorrow Never Knows" video on Lado B (the much better Brazilian version of MTV's 120 minutes). I was quite upset with Kim Gordon on her bio Girl in a Band. She made a bit harsh and awful comments about Danielle, given an impression that she was a very cold and Machiavellian person. Interestingly, Danielle illness is still a controversial and mysterious issue in UK these days.