Monday, June 25, 2018

Pheaturing Yusuf / Cat Stevens

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? Man oh man, white woman are continuing their reign as most narc-filled demographic, and it's a real bad look. The most recent iteration of this trend is laid out in the viral video of a grown white woman calling the cops on an 8-year-old selling bottled water. The young girl, Jordan Austin, was selling bottled water across the street from the AT & T stadium in San Francisco, which is right outside her apartment. This seems pretty run-of-the-mill for any adult who had a lemonade stand or any type of fundraiser as a child. Nonetheless, when the white lady (who was identified as Alison Ettel by The Huffington Post) saw an adorable black child selling water, her first instinct was to ask Jordan if she had a permit. Naturally, when Jordan's mother, Erin Austin, caught wind of what was going down, she got out her phone camera to record the wildly uneccessary badgering of a child. If you see the video, Ettel can be spotted calling the cops (while she ducks like a coward) about a child selling water "without a permit." Austin's cousin Raj also posted the video to Twitter, where Ettel was quickly admonished and dubbed #permitpatty. She also posted a video of Jordan selling the water, which really drove home how ridiculous it is to call the cops on a baby. Unsurprisingly, there were people who claimed the incident wasn't about racial profiling, but really just an issue of legality. Raj was quick to point out the large plot holes in that theory. To make matters even more absurd, Ettel's job is selling legal weed treats FOR DOGS, so the hypocrisy of her narcing on an 8-year-old for selling water is truly next level. The viral video has already lost #permitpatty some business, which feels like the proper recompense in this scenario. In situations like this, the Internet can be a wonderful place full of people dragging someone for the right reasons. Hopefully, #permitpatty thinks a bit more critically about the destructive functions of racial profiling and policing POC rather than calling the cops on literal children.
The men and women of the military make the ultimate sacrifice for their country. But it doesn't end there. Their families also have to make sacrifices so they are able to give their all. Addie Rodriguez of San Antonio, Texas knows that struggle first-hand. Her father Abel Rodriguez, is veteran airman who has served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is now stationed at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family. Addie is a Central Catholic High School cheerleader and one evening, during a football game, the cheerleaders lined up to perform a stunt with their fathers in honor of Parents Day. But Addie’s father wasn’t there. So she stood in front of the crowd alone, with tears in her eyes, as the other cheerleaders’ fathers hoisted them in the air. “It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country,” Addie’s mother, Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, told "Fox San Antonio." Then someone bounded out of the crowd towards Addie. It was Central Catholic High School senior Matthew Garcia. “I ran down from the bleachers right here, and I just hopped the fence, and I went over, and I kneeled down, I talked to her and I said, ‘Are you okay?’” he told "Fox News San Antonio." Gracia then lifted her up on his shoulders just like the other dads did with their daughters. “I just felt like somebody saved my life,” Addie told "Fox San Antonio," adding, “I thought that's so nice, especially since my dad's serving for us.”
The digital age is rapidly changing how people experience the death of a loved one. These days, people leave behind a digital treasure trove, whether it’s social media pages, voicemails or photos and videos in the cloud. Denise Underhill of Florida was gobsmacked after running across a photo of her deceased mother when she hadn’t expected, thanks to Google. Eighteen months after losing her mother, Underhill had an urge to check on her old home in Tamworth, Staffordshire, a small town outside of London. “As I went about my housework, I somehow instantaneously had the impulse to call my mother but realizing that it was completely out of the question,” she told the New York Post. “I decided to Google Earth my mother’s home to see how it looked, considering since she had passed away in 2015 and the property had been sold.” Underhill input her old address into Google Street View and couldn't believe her eyes. The street view cameras had captured one of the last images of her mother holding a watering can. “At the foot of the driveway was my mother. She was watering the garden, just as she always did,” she said. “I think someone wanted me to see this.” Man, all the bloody feels with these stories, right?
The Fox News Blondes are out in full force trying to rationalize the president's cruelty in locking up children. Ann Coultergeist is insisting that the crying children as seen on TV are "crisis actors" (are they represented by the same agency as the Parkland kids?). Laura Ingraham insists that the child detention centers are basically like "summer camps." And Tomi Lahren, the freshest of this mutant species, is calling on the American people to resist the Left's "emotional blackmail" in making you sympathize with traumatized children, for the people separating them from their parents and locking them up are actually "humanitarians." According to the dictionary, humanitarian means "having concern for or helping to improve the welfare and happiness of people." People took issue to that turducken of a tweet, which not only insists that families seeking asylum are dangerous human traffickers and that the agents who are technically trafficking humans are the good guys here. What do words mean, anyway? To everyone skeptical of her use of the word "humanitarian": you're the problem!
Imagine this: Someone lights your house on fire. Then the arsonist runs to get a hose and puts the fire out. Do you thank him for extinguishing the fire, or chew him out for setting your home ablaze in the first place? If you're Ivanka Trump, you're grateful that the arsonist coming to the brave conclusion that fire is bad. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order turning family separation into family detention, reversing his previously-held position that he could not issue such an executive order. After days of silence... and weeks of children crying in Walmarts-turned-jails... White House advisor and co-host of the 1997 Miss Teen USA Pageant Ivanka Trump has finally chimed in.

Okay lady, this is some world class gaslighting. The tweet was promptly ratio'd, as over 11,000 people let her know that this tactic was not going to work. Seeing as the family separation crisis was one President Trump and his administration (which includes Ivanka!) started, most people think that he doesn't get a gold star for coming to the conclusion that baby prisons are bad after backlash. What are these "shared values" of which she speaks, other than the great value of Ivanka Trump merchandise available at a TJ Maxx bargain bin near you? It's not like the human rights crisis is magically over... how do you reunite parents and children who have been dispersed all over the country? It's inspiring how she has become the best at being the worst. Congratulations!
I was thinking, instead of doing this blog thing maybe I should be listening to this album...

Ummm... maybe not. I won't understand what they're singing. What does La Colitis Vasilona mean anyway? Do you have bad luck? I hope it's better than this persons...

Some people are assholes on this planet. Look...

You know I love Star Wars, Slave Leia, the beach and water... well, I love this...

You're welcome, fellas. Hey, you know that wrestler turned actor the Rock, right? Well, he changed his name to the Hand.

That's so stupid. That as stupid as...

Haha. Some guy got head from Natalie Portman. Marvel sure does a great job matching actors with stunt man. Check it out...

Maybe not. So, there's still Royal Wedding souvenirs out there like these creepy AF dolls...

Why does Prince Harry look like Cynthia Nixon? Some seniors killed it  this year with their high school senior year book quotes like Madison's...

That's very true, Madison. Hey, did you see the poster for the Stan Lee movie? No? Check it out,..

April 2017? Did I miss it? Haha. If only this was a real thing. So, they're building Trump's Space Force fleet already...

Hahahaha. I crack myself up sometimes. So, last week I asked you to send in weird things your kids did for today's Top Phive List. Next week I want to hear if you ever quit your job in a blaze of glory. Email the stories to and I'll post the best ones in next Monday's Top Phive List. Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Weird Things Phile Readers Kids Did
5.  Told my 6 year old daughter she can chose any drink on the plane. She asked the flight attendant, "May I have a Bud Light please."
4. My son got mad at me yesterday and opened all the bananas in the house. What type of passive aggressive monster...
3. My son had his fish tank removed from his room every time he got dressed because he needed privacy.
2. My son requested that we go to the library. Not so he can get books, but so he can organize stuff.
And the number one weird thing a Phile reader kids did was...
1. After she finished going potty, I heard my daughter say from the bathroom, "Nailed it!"

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so, there's a comedian who is trying so hard to be funny it'd almost sad. Once in a while I invite him onto the Phile to try out his material. So far he hasn't been that funny. Anyway, I thought I'd invite him back today. So, please welcome back to the Phile...

Me: Hey, Ollie, welcome back to the Phile. So, you have some new jokes for us?

Ollie: Yeah, Jason.

Me: Okay, let's hear one...

Ollie: Why can't Micheal J Fox draw a perfect circle?

Me: I don't now. Why?

Ollie: Because drawing a perfect circle is impossible for any human.

Me: Hmmm... that's really not funny, Ollie.

Ollie: Jason, your friend is so gay, he has consensual sex with other men. And enjoys it.

Me: Huh? That's not even a joke. Tell us another JOKE.

Ollie: Okay. How about this one. A man walks into a bar, he is an alcoholic and is ruining his family.

Me: What the hell? That's not even a joke. Ollie, you have to tell jokes!

Ollie: Okay. What does an eagle and a mole have in common?

Me: Ummm... I don't know. What?

Ollie: They both live underground. Apart from the Eagle.

Me: Ugh! That's so fucking stupid. You have one more chance to tell a joke, Ollie. Make it a good one.

Ollie: Okay. Here goes. Ahem. Man walks into a bar and pauses... at the other end of the bar, there's this guy with a big orange head. Just kind of sitting there, mooning into his drink. So the man asks the bartender, "Say, what's up with the guy with the big orange head?" And the bartender says, "It's an interesting story. Buy him a drink and maybe he'll tell it to you." So the man walks over and introduces himself and offers to buy a round. The guy with the big orange head says, "Yeah, I'll bet you want to know the story, huh?" To which the man replies, "Sure, if you don't mind." The man with the big orange head sighs and says, "You know, I've gone over it in my mind a million times. Basically, it's like this... I was walking along the beach one day, when I stubbed my toe on something. I looked down, and there was an antique brass lamp. I picked it up and dusted it off a little... when all of a sudden this enormous genie pops out! The genie thundered, 'You have released me from my 10-thousand year imprisonment, and I am in your debt. I will grant you 3 wishes as a token of my gratitude.'" The man at the bar is agape. The guy with the big orange head continues, "So I said, 'Wow, okay. Well, my first wish is to be fantastically wealthy.' The genie says, 'Your wish is granted.' And all of a sudden I have rings on my fingers and a crown on my head, and my wallet is full of money and a dozen ATM cards and the deed to a mansion in the hills... I mean, I was loaded! So I said, 'Amazing! Okay, for my next wish, I want to be married to the most beautiful woman in the world.' The genie says, 'Your wish is granted.' And the ocean parts, and out walks this gorgeous woman in this beautiful dress, and she takes my hand and we fall in love and the genie marries us right there. It was incredible. The genie booms, 'You have one wish remaining.'" The man with the big orange head pauses and sips his beer. He says, "Now, you know, this may be where I went wrong. I wished for a big orange head.

Me: Ummmmm... okay, I actually laughed at this... a little. Thanks, Ollie. Keep at it.

Ollie: Thanks, Jason.

Me: Ollie Tabooger, the guy who doesn't know how to tell a joke, everybody. Now for a pheature that is called for no reason whatsoever...

You've been using antiperspirant incorrectly. It's supposed to be applied right before you go to bed, because the active ingredients have more time to clog your sweat ducts while you sleep. By morning it's been absorbed, doesn't wear off in the shower, and lasts until bedtime. Read the label.

A majority of the modern world has progressed to the fact that women are not only funny, but they're also terrifying human beings who are capable of great violence if you don't laugh at their jokes. Sadly though, there is still a loud subset of people who underestimate women's ability to hold their own in a battle of wits. Those sad scared people (they are men) likely live emotionally empty lives hidden away, peering out dusty windows at the bright sunny world where women are considered people. The lack of sunlight and emotional wealth often causes them to double-down their hatred of women on feminists in particular. Women who have the audacity to exist AND want to avoid being systemically raped or murdered elicit deep feelings of anger and hollowness, so the idea of feminists being "funny" is alien. Nonetheless, women who believe in climbing out of their assigned sex pods to express opinions and even claim the rights to do so somehow have the ability to make witty words and jokes just like the menfolk. Here is a pheature where feminists dropped the mic so hard the glass ceiling shattered and the janitor was like "Seriously?! Fuck this shit!!! Worker's rights for all!" Then the feminists were like, "Oh word, economics and gender rights are inextricably linked" and they hugged the janitor. Wow, my metaphor really left my hands here, so here we are...

Hmmm... So, the other day my son and I was talking about how we used to watch "Sesame Street" together. Man, that show sure has changed since then...

When Grover showed up to join Elmo for some "horse play," he didn't realize Elmo was talking about the annual Bronie Fest.

Back in 2016, things were going pretty well for Jimmy Fallon. He had the highest-rated late night show on television, was mostly beloved by viewers, and had a happy 300-person staff. Then  September 15th happened. In case you forgot, that is the night that then-candidate Donald Trump appeared on "The Tonight Show." Many viewers were already not pleased that the Republican was invited as a guest in the first place, but people were livid after Fallon "humanized" Trump by playfully tousling his hair on air. If you didn't see here it is...

After that, Fallon's rating plummeted, "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" "trumped" "The Tonight Show" as the most popular in late-night, and Fallon experienced a tidal wave of online hate that seems to have really affected the "SNL" alum. Fallon spoke about how "devastated" he was following the now-infamous hair-petting session in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "It was definitely a down time," Fallon somberly says of the period after Trump's last appearance on his show. "And it's tough for morale. There's 300 people that work here, and so when people are talking that bad about you and ganging up on you, in a really gang-mentality..." Choking up, he continues, "You go, 'Alright, we get it. I heard you. You made me feel bad. So now what? Are you happy? I'm depressed. Do you want to push me more? What do you want me to do? You want me to kill myself? What would make you happy? Get over it.'" Fallon adds, "I'm sorry. I don't want to make anyone angry... I never do and I never will. It's all in the fun of the show. I made a mistake. I'm sorry if I made anyone mad. And, looking back, I would do it differently." Well, the President soon caught wind of Fallon's latest statement, and found time to tweet about it... because of course he did.

Picking a fight with a talk show host over a two-year-old interview? What is Trump trying to distract us from now? However, Fallon had a great response to the president's harsh tweet. Rather getting into a war-of-words, he decided to put his money where his mouth is.

RAICES stands for Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services. The Texas-based non-profit helps thousands of immigrant families every year and recently raised over $20 million dollars on Facebook to help parents and children separated at the U.S./Mexico border. The massive fundraiser was the largest in Facebook's history, and came as a direct response to Trump's zero tolerance immigration policy.

The 82nd book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Kip will be the guest on the Phile next Sunday. Now for some...

Phact 1. By 400 BC, Persian engineers had mastered the technique of storing ice in the middle of summer in the desert.

Phact 2. U.S. Army soldier Daniel Pharr was tandem skydiving when his expert instructor became unresponsive. The rookie skydiver steered the pair away from houses and other obstacles, using what he remembered from watching skydiving on TV. After landing he started CPR on his instructor, to no avail.

Phact 3. Patrick Stewart is a major fan of Beavis and Butthead, to the point of collecting merchandise and calling it an addiction.

Phact 4. People who speak 2 or more languages often have separate “assigned” personalities for those languages.

Phact 5. WWII plastic surgeon Archibald McIndoe pioneered the use of saline baths as a treatment for burns after he noticed that pilots who crashed into the sea had faster rates of healing from burns than those who crashed on land.

Cat, get it? Haha. This is cool... today's guest commonly known by his former stage name Cat Stevens, is a British singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. His latest album "The Laughing Apple" is available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. This is really cool... please welcome to the Phile, the one and only Yusuf / Cat Stevens.

Me: Hello, sir. welcome to the Phie. How are you?

Yusuf: I'm good, it's my pleasure.

Me: So, first things first... I am confused... should I call you Yusuf or Cat?

Yusuf: Yusuf... I'm the artist formally known as Cat Stevens.

Me: Okay. Haha. I love the new album "The Laughing Apple." It's almost a "best of" album rerecorded. How did this album get to be?

Yusuf: Thank you. It's an exceptional record in a way, the way it happened, the old songs get to be revisited. It's quite unique. Those songs have been with me since the 60s. Some of them have been put out on my website just as singles, sort of protester. The message we're getting back that it was really great, they loved it because it goes back to the simplicity of my compositions and songs and the way I wanted to hear them originally. The way I wrote them which is usually with the guitar, not with a big band, brass and saxophones. That's how they were interpreted by the arranger in the 60s. SO, this now has become much more puristic.

Me: "Grandsons" has been changed a little... does that mean you like to change your songs sometimes?

Yusuf: Yeah, for sure. I've got an artistic license to do what I want with my songs. Ha ha ha. I can crib as much as I want so... I've done it in the past also. There was a piece of music I wrote for the "Foreigner Suite" and a lot of people loved that whole ending to the "Foreigner Suite," the piano piece. I developed it and turned it into a new song for one of the first songs I came back with called "Another Cup," and the song was called "Heaven Where True Love Goes." I could do these things, it's my music.

Me: You also finished some songs that you haven't finished for a long time, is that right?

Yusuf: That is right. "Mighty Peace" was the first song I felt I've written a song that was the most complete song that I've written. I probably had two verses and I don't remember the second one. Anyway, it was somewhere in the mystic past it was there. I always remembered it with affection. I was speaking to a friend of mine who I used to play guitar together, he taught me a few picking tricks, and we used to go to Les Cousins together. So, when I was speaking to my friend, Peter, he said, "Oh, that song... don't you remember?" I said, "What song?" He said, "'Mighty Peace.'" I said, "Oh, yeah, I've forgotten that." He sang me the verse and I said, "Now I got that verse!' That's how I began to reclaim that song and finish it. So Peter gave me the little key to that song again and it was great to finish it.

Me: When I saw the title "Mary and the Little Lamb" I thought it was "Mary Had a Little Lamb." Paul McCartney once recorded that nursery rhyme so I thought you did the same thing. What's the story behind that song, sir?

Yusuf: "Mary and the Little Lamb" was another one of the demos that I was writing, giving to my publisher... no one wanted to sing it. No one was interested in that so I thought oh, it still has a great little chorus. So, I wanted to finish it. I just put this happy ending towards it and it came out great. 

Me: Do you have lots of notebooks with lyrics and stuff?

Yusuf: Most of them are on demos. I've got these acetate demos which I transferred onto digital. I've got all that and I haver some tapes which I have not even bothered with. It's going to be a treasure house with like riffs and ideas that when I was meandering endlessly into a microphone and tape it all. I've got that from the 60s. I just haven't got time to go back into it and do it. I will one day hopefully.

Me: When did you start playing music, sir? Were you a kid?

Yusuf: Yeah, we had a piano in the house and it was one finger style. Mum used to play a little bit like that. She knew some lullabies from Sweden. The Swedish genre of lullabies kind of influenced me to a great extent. I remember when I ended up singing "Morning is Broken," I found the entry of that song was I was thinking about my mother's voice and the way in which she sang. We had this piano and I wrote my first song on there, but it wasn't really a song, it was terrible. I don't want to think about it. Ha ha.

Me: Yusuf, I had no idea all my life you were from England. What part are you from? I was born in Balham, London myself.

Yusuf: The West End of London. We were just on the edge of Tin Pan Alley, on the corner of us was the Shaftesbury Theatre. One of my favourite musicals of all time that came from Africa was in that theatre for a long time called "King Kong." Not many people know about "King Kong," but it was about a boxer from South Africa. It was all black cast and South African cast. But the music was so awful. We were in the middle of this thing... Oxford Street, the 100 Club, Tiles, the Marquee, Les Cousins, Greek Street.. What happened in our little road, my dad had a cafe on Oxford Street and in moves Dick James, Northern Songs just down the road. Andrew Loog Oldham... Immediate Records. Just across the road from us was a fantastic specialised folk, blues, jazz record shop called Collets. Oh, wow, you could find anytime there. I first discovered Scott Joplin. We were like who's that? That was way before The Sting which made it famous.

Me: I think you must've run into my dad back then, sir. He used to go to Collets as well and all those other places. So, when did you first start to play guitar?

Yusuf: I got my guitar that we bought from Selma's on Charing Cross Road and of course I wasn't very good, but it was enough for me to break my fingers on.

Me: Who were your influences music wise back then?

Yusuf: The idea of telling stories or communicating a narrative as definitely part of the influence of living amongst all those musicals coming out in the theaters. "West Side Story" was probably the biggest thing in my life. I saw life from many different perspectives. The fact I was part Greek, part Swedish, living in London, going to Roman Catholic school, so many things joined together to make me appreciate a lot of different cultures somehow in the middle of London. That did definitely inform my approach to music.

Me: In the 70s you got really sick, and after that your career changed quite a bit. What happened there, sir?

Yusuf: What happened there was I grew very disgruntled with the approach of Decca, and the whole establishment. The whole music biz plus the productions of my songs was never the way I wanted to hear. The last song I recorded with Mike Hurst, my original producer I said, "I only want to play my own guitar on this one." It was called "Where Are You?" it's actually one of my favourite songs. It's got strings in it, but they're very gentle, very subtle. I was at the edge of wanting to jump and do something original that sounded like me. Then the illness happened and I realised I got nothing to lose anymore. I want to be me and I want my records, or my songs rather, to reflect what's in me, and I want it to sound like that. So I started writing a lot of songs, I went back to my red room. It's the environment where I wrote most of my classic songs if you like, just above the cafe on Oxford Street. There I was just inspired to write so many different songs for the next period. Then I met Paul Samwell-Smith... actually I met Chris Blackwell before that. Chris heard "Father & Son," he fell over and was like whoa. He then introduced me to Paul Samwell-Smith and that worked out to be my next career with Island Records.

Me: On this new album you work with some people that you worked with in the past, right?

Yusuf: Yeah, Alun Davies, Paul Samwell-Smith... and a great new figure named Maartin Allcock who was with Fairport Convention. He's musical genius so I really liked working with him too.

Me: I thought I knew a lot about music, sir, but I had no freaking idea you wrote and did "First Cut is the Deepest." I love that song... especially Sheryl Crow's version. What can you say about the writing of that song?

Yusuf: Well, it's actually one of my early attempts to write like Percy Sledge. It was something like "When a Man Loves a Woman" I wanted to write. By the way, I think he also influenced "A Whiter Shade of Pale." If you listen to that you'll be able to get the resemblance. I wanted to write something like that, a blues song. That was the inspirational behind it. The theme of the song is kind of obvious. When you're young and you have your first love and that doesn't work out so it's perennial love theme. The words just came to me, it's quite profound really.

Me: So, do you really believe the first cut is the deepest? Haha. Y

Yusuf: Yes. I do. When you're young you see things very clearly, there's no veil over your eyes. You can say it as it is.

Me: I love the opening on the guitar on your version, sir. No one else did it quite like that, right? 

Yusuf: It's quite simple, isn't it? I thought it was quite obvious, probably my earlier attempt just trying to do some picking, but it was very suitable. It worked out beautiful.

Me: When you write what comes first, sir? Music, title, lyrics?

Yusuf: I don't know. When I'm in the process of writing I might start with a word that's on my mind and as I begin it'll come to the surface. It's usually a mood. I'll mumble something into the microphone and something would catch my attention or I'd use some of the mumbling and find out what it meant, then I write it. Somehow I'm in this state of mystic communication with not the muse, but something is going on and I'm listening to it myself. So, that's part of the process.

Me: So, who is the song "Matthew & Son" about, sir?

Yusuf: "Matthew & Son" is still a little bit of a mystery but what I remember was it's just an easy riff to play. I think I was on a bus in the city somewhere, I don't whether it was an antique shop or a kind of accountancy firm I'm not sure, but I saw the name Matthew & Son and of course I thought that fits perfectly. That's how I got that.

Me: Okay, so, I have a bone to pick with you, sir. Your song "Father & Son" is on the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 soundtrack and movie and every time I hear that bloody song I cry. I literally cry. I have a son who is 18-years-old and lives in Pennsylvania with his mum. How did you come up with just a song that brings me literally to tears?

Yusuf: I'm sorry it makes you cry, Jason. "Father & Son" was essentially a story that's part of a musical which I was writing based on the Russian Revolution called "Revolussia." It was a story of a kind of peasant family and the son wanted to join the revolution. It was his time to tell his dad what he thought. That's how it became the narrative for that. Of course it works on so many levels.

Me: Your music is full of wisdom, I think. Am I right? Is that where you come from?

Yusuf: Yeah, that's true. There's a kind of an ancient fountain of knowledge and wisdom that artists usually tap into. It's kind of sublime, its more metaphysical than another art I think because I don't know quite where it's coming from. So I could tap onto that stream of wisdom and in tune. I have to be sensitive and that means I got to be observant and I got to sometimes listen myself from another position. It's kind of weird. It's like me is a more inner me.

Me: Your songs most of the time are happy and cheerful, right?

Yusuf: Yeah, I was bought up on Disney, we expect happy endings. If not, well at least a nice good-bye.

Me: Another song I didn't know you wrote and that is "Wild World." When did you write that one? 

Yusuf: That song we recorded for "Tillerman" but it felt too commercial. I was in that mode I didn't want to do anything I done in the 60s. So I avoided on purpose... it was too commercial. So, we gave that song to Jimmy Cliff. I recorded the backing track for Jimmy with a group which I found from Fulham Palace Road, a great little reggae group. I recorded that for him and he had a hit and I thought maybe I should of put it out actually. Hahaha. A lot of people have recorded that. No, I don't mind being commercial.

Me: Yeah, I remember Mr. Big's version. Your version is the best version though. Okay, so, in the 70s you converted to Islam, changed your name and stopped playing music. When you came back to play music again was that hard for you?

Yusuf: No, the fact is when I begin I have a clean slate. I have nothing to prove to anyone. So, that freedom, that liberation of not being tied to anything or any image what people may have of me I didn't have that when I came back to the guitar. I was free of all that. This was just the guitar. Then suddenly I got all these new ideas because I accumulated so much in that period. I would say it's one of the best ways to write. If you want to get back to inspiration stop what you're doing and do something else. Then maybe come back to it.

Me: You didn't have a guitar in that period, right?

Yusuf: No, I didn't. When I got the guitar I began playing chords again.

Me: When you write do you plan to write or does it just happen spontaneously?

Yusuf: Whenever I feel I want to break away from what I'm doing, and then I pick up the guitar and somehow I won't be satisfied with playing something that's already written. I want to start something new. It may be a mood I picked up from something I might've heard. The fact is being around for this amount of time I do have a large reservoir of ideas that I could tap on.

Me: Cool. Thanks so much for being on the Phile, sir. I know you don't do a lot of interviews so being on the Phile is a huge honor. Please come back when the next CD comes out.

Yusuf: Thanks, I hope to be around.

Me: I hope so too. Take care.

That was great. That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Yusuf for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Sunday with legendary comedian Kip Addotta. 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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