Monday, July 30, 2018

Pheaturing Brian Howe

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? There’s a certain amount of suffering that goes into creating any great work of art. But photographer Ken Keifer, his wife, and two other models risked being ripped to shreds by hungry crocodiles just for a few photographs. Recently, Keifer and his models traveled to Mexico for a photo shoot in crocodile-infested waters. The goal was to capture glamour shots of the models while they stared the crocs right in the teeth. To lure the beasts to the models, Keifer chummed the waters with lionfish. Safety divers were also on hand for protection. But, seriously, a crocodile can rip off someone’s face in half a second. What are the safety divers really going to do when a croc decides to snap? The good news is that Keifer, the models, and the safety divers all survived the treacherous shoot with their limbs intact, and the photos turned out fabulous. I wanna see one of these pics, don't you?

Please keep Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in your thoughts and prayers, for a tenth of her yachts have been damaged. Yes... a tenth. One of ten. DeVos' $40 million yacht (FORTY. MILLION. DOLLAR. YACHT.) was found untied and drifting away from its dock in Huron, Ohio. The boat called The SeaQuest was sent on a quest of its own. The Toledo Blade reports "the captain of the 163-foot yacht, worth a reported $40 million, called police at about 6 a.m. Sunday, telling them that he and the crew realized at sunrise that someone had untied Seaquest from the dock, setting it adrift." Alas, people are mourning the "estimated $5,000 to $10,000 in damage from large scratches and scrapes" inflicted upon the boat, which are almost as devastating as DeVos's systematic dismantling of civil rights for students. I'm so sorry for your hardships, Madam Secretary. But remember: it could always be worse.

AMC has announced that Chris Hardwick will return as host of "Talking Dead" for its August 12th premiere following an investigation into abuse allegations brought on by his ex girlfriend, actress Chloe Dykstra. On June 15th, Dykstra penned an emotional essay on Medium detailing her account of the emotional and sexual abuse she endured during her 3-year-long relationship with the Nerdist founder. A day later, AMC pulled the plug on Season 2 of "Talking with Chris Hardwick," and removed him from appearing at his scheduled Comic Con panels. "Community" actor Yvette Nicole Brown served as interim host and stepped in for many of Hardwick's appearances while he was being investigated. Now, just over a month later, Hardwick will return to hosting after being cleared by AMC. Here is the statement the network released, "Following a comprehensive assessment by AMC, working with Ivy Kagan Bierman of the firm Loeb & Loeb, who has considerable experience in this area, Chris Hardwick will return to AMC as the host of 'Talking Dead' and 'Talking with Chris Hardwick.' We take these matters very seriously and given the information available to us after a very careful review, including interviews with numerous individuals, we believe returning Chris to work is the appropriate step." But some of Hardwick's other projects still hang in the balance. NBC has not announced whether Hardwick will be back for "The Wall" later this year, and no return date for Season 2 of "Talking With Chris Hardwick" on AMC has been set.
Monica Lewinsky endured one of the harshest public shamings in United States history when she was just 22, but she came out the other side of it stronger, wiser, and with her sense of humor still in tact. Monica Lewinsky has come a long way since finding herself at the center of a presidential sex scandal that resulted in decades of bullying and torment. Lewinsky has tuned her less-than-stellar experiences as an unwitting public figure into a career that helps thousands. She sits on the board of the Childhood Resilience Foundation, regularly gives talks about harmful internet culture and cyber bullying (hear that, Melania?), and contributes to Vanity Fair. And through it all, she also maintains a delightful Twitter presence and is funny as hell. In case you didn't know, July 26th was National Intern Day. Being the most famous intern of the '90s (and maybe all time?), Lewinsky just had to comment on the "holiday."

This is literally the first Lewinsky joke that's been funny in two decades. Kudos, Monica. By the way, I have ben trying to get her on the Phile for years.
Break out your finest sherry and polish your monocle because "Frasier" might be coming back! According to Deadline, Kelsey Grammer is "fielding interest to put together a new Frasier series." Grammer famously played Dr. Frasier Crane for twenty years, from 1984 to 2004, and must miss the pompous-yet-lovable sophisticate (or the money. Probably the money). Deadline adds, "Unlike the slew of recent revivals of comedy series with the original cast and original creative auspices, including 'Will & Grace,' 'Roseanne' and 'Murphy Brown,' I hear that 'Frasier' is envisioned as a reboot, likely set in a new city, with the title character, played by Grammer, as a possible link to the Emmy-winning 1993 series. Breaking News: Frasier might be a link to "Frasier." The news already has the Twitterverse abuzz, which is definitely how Frasier would say "is trending."
You know, instead of doing this blog thing maybe I should be listening to this album...

Ummm... maybe not. Man, I don't know what I'd do if I ever saw this...

I know I wouldn't open it, that's for sure. There's still some Royal Wedding souvenirs out there if you want one. Like the right royal barf bag...

For when you're just too lovesick. So, apparently with the next Avengers movie there's gonna be some time travel. I have an exclusive look at what Thanos is gonna look like. Wanna see?

Pretty good, right? Hahahaha. Hey, did you see what Trump was up to yesterday? I'll show you...

Those poor children. Haha. That's so stupid. That's as stupid as...

Hahaha. When Trump was in England recently Londoners were savage with their anti-Trump signs. Savage and funny...

Hahaha. Tosser. One of my favorite British slang words. Do you remember Garbage Pail Kids? Well, there's a new series. This is one of them...

So, I saw this pic the other day of Prince Harry in a pool in Miami in 2014...

It reminded me of something, and then it hit me...

Similar, right? Ha! Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Ideas For The "Frasier" Reboot
5. Frasier host podcast.
4. Niles bemoans wine club startups.
3. Freddie resents his dad for moving across the country and missing a lot of his childhood.
2. Roz teaches Fras about slut-shaming.
And the number one idea for the "Frasier" reboot" is...
1. Daphne gets deported.

Hmmmm. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Oh, I have to mention this... yesterday I told you about someone destroying Donald Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame. Well, there's an update I want to mention... The Internet's hero has a name, and also a GoFundMe. The pick axer's name is Austin Mikel Clay. Here's what appears to be the official GoFundMe to help him make bail... There you go, I'll leave the rest up to you. Haha.

Ryan may have just changed the game for everyone who's been to the movies, ever. So you mean all the times I've had anxiety attacks sneaking food into the theater thinking I was breaking the law were for NOTHING?! Okay, iPhones are great. Most of us would die without one. But there are some people who've mastered the art of turning one of mankind's greatest achievements a torture device. This pheature is for you...

Leaving on the read receipts. There is a subtle rudeness in communicating, “Yeah I read your text, but I’m not bothering to respond.” It’s a passive-aggressive way to make someone feel unimportant.

The 84th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

John Carter Cash will be on the Phile on August 12th.

Yesterday it was a beautiful Sunday. The sun was shining, people were blasting music from their stoops and chatting with friends, so naturally, Donald Trump woke up grumpy. In a thoroughly on-brand move, Trump went on a long Twitter rant that ended with him threatening to shut down the government if Democrats don't vote to build a Wall on the Mexico border.

It would be a mess if Trump actually followed through on this threat, but like many of his Twitter threats, I have a feeling this one is reactionary moment... not an actual plan.

A chicken and an egg are lying in bed. The chicken is leaning against the headboard smoking a cigarette, with a satisfied smile on its face. The egg, looking a bit pissed off, grabs the sheet, rolls over, and says, "Well, I guess we finally answered THAT question!"

Today's guest is an English rock singer and songwriter, best known for replacing Paul Rodgers as the lead vocalist of Bad Company. His latest single "Hot Tin Roof" is available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Please welcome to the Phile... Brian Howe.

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

Brian: I'm good, Jason. Thanks.

Me: I met you many years ago when you played at a benefit gig at the Hard Rock Cafe here in Orlando which my dad also played at, and then I saw you in concert with Bad Company with the Damn Yankees opening. Anyway, you recently had a health scare, am I right? What happened?

Brian: I'm absolutely fine. I was out driving my car with no symptoms whatsoever and I had what they call in the medical business a widow maker heart attack, which is apparently an instantaneously death sentence. It was quite strange obviously, all of a sudden literally the lights went out. I don't know anything about it. They relied to resuscitate me for quite a while, it took about seven people to work on me, to even bring me back.

Me: Holy shit. You were driving a car? Did you crash as well?

Brian: No, it is one of the bonuses of driving a manual. When you collapse your foot comes off the clutch and the car stalls. Had it been an automatic I would not only had a heart attack I would of ended up in the water. The road I was on ran straight into the Gulf of Mexico so I was doubly lucky in that instance. It was scary, I woke up in intensive care four days later and had no idea why I was in intensive care, so of course that was a very freaky moment. I've been recovering ever since and I just got a very good report back a few days ago from my cardiologist who says my heart although was quite badly damaged is slowly getting back to almost normality. I'm doing what they told me and I changed my diet, and I work out a lot.

Me: That's good, Brian. When did this happen?

Brian: Late September.

Me: Wow. It's crazy, Brian, you are tall, tan, pretty fit, energetic... Wonder what caused this heart attack... any idea?

Brian: No, I don't. I've never been one silly about my career or my life. I've never done drugs par say. I have smoked the odd doobie here and there but nothing crazy. I've never touched pills or syringes or anything like that because it's just worthless doing that. I've tried to maintain some level of fitness because when heart disease or heart problems run in the family which they do, I should of expected it. I could have been more on top of it with getting medical checks. I did have a full blown heart check up three years ago but they didn't find this.

Me: Well, I'm glad you are doing well, sir. Okay, let's get into the fun stuff. Okay, so, like I said I saw you and Bad Company with the Damn Yankess which was Ted Nugent's band. I didn't know until I read your bio you actually were on Nugent's album "Penetrator." How did that happen?

Brian: Haha. That's a very strange story. Back in 1982 I was in a band in London and we weren't very good to be honest with you. I was very persistent and I was consistently writing songs and sending them off to the company called Atlantic Records in London. Of course every six weeks I'll get a reply and it'll be the same reply... "we like it but we don't hear a hit. Keep sending." So I kept sending and by pure fluke somebody was playing one of my tapes loud in one of the offices and the producer for Ted Nugent whose name was Ashley Howe, no relation, heard one of the things playing and he asked, "Who's this playing?" The other guy said, "It's this guy who is trying to get a deal but we're not gonna sign him because the band is not very good." Ashley said, "Who's the singer?" The other guy said, "That's him, his name is Brian Howe." Ashley said, "Man, I'd like to use him for Ted Nugent's next record." "Okay, I'll give you his number." The next thing I know I'm sitting in there little apartment in Southsea, Hampshire, near Portsmouth down in England, the phone rings and it's this guy called Doug Banker. He said, "I'm the manger of Ted Nugent." I said, "Oh yeah?" "Yeah, I'd like to fly you to America and have you come over." I said, "Do me a favour, piss of, Doug." I hung up. I'm thinking this was a buddy of mine who was always playing practical jokes on me. He called back and said he was being serious and I said I would listen to him. They wanted me to go to New York, which to me was a million miles away. I hardly left my hometown of Portsmouth, I've gone to London briefly, but the thought of going to America was always a dream. I never thought it was going to happen. About three weeks later I'm on a plane to New York and my father had given me a hundred pounds to go with, which was equivalent to a hundred and fifty bucks back then. That's all I had to my name.

Me: What was your first trip to America like?

Brian: I landed in New York, and I got ripped off at the airport. I don't know if they still do it but there was a whole bunch of guys that told me I need a taxi. I told them I was going to the Gramercy Park Hotel. I don't know New York, I don't know America, I don't know much about the whole system but I did realise after an hour that we past the same building a couple of times and I'm thinking this was really weird. I eventually get dropped off about twenty minutes walk from the Gramercy Park Hotel and it cost me over fifty bucks. I didn't know. This guy took me to the cleaners, and now I was down on the money and I walked into the hotel obviously I must of looked pretty distressed and Ashley was there to meet me.

Me: So, did you have to audition for Nugent's band or were you definitely in it?

Brian: I got the gig for lead vocals only because I offered to work cheaper. I offered to work for three hundred pounds a week then really I should of been getting three hundred pounds a show. I didn't know that, it was wonderful, it was a long tour too. We did six shows a week for the best part of nine months and sometimes matinees, and I'm working for three hundred pounds a week. But I was suddenly in America and it was my dream so I wasn't going to bitch about it.

Me: Were you a Ted Nugent fan beforehand?

Brian: I never heard of him. I had heard one song, "Cat Scratch Fever," but that was it. I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. I just knew it was my first step into getting to America.

Me: I'm not a big Nugent fan, for a personal reason I have to admit. So, what can you tell us about him?

Brian: We actually get along very well. I know the guy intimately and still like him.

Me: Hmmm. Well, I don't like him. But... if there was a chance for me to have him on the Phile I wouldn't say no. He just said something that really rubbed me the wrong way. Are you surprised? Haha.

Brian: No, he can rub people the wrong way for sure. I used to believe that his beliefs in animal hunting were completely alien to me. Being English I never picked up a bow and arrow and went to shoot an animal in my life. I did learn that he's not a hypocrite. He's not what I am. I'm a hypocrite because I couldn't hurt an animal, there's no way I can shoot an animal, but I am more than prepared to have one laid out on a plate next to my mashed potato. What I've done basically is I paid someone to do my dirty work for me. I'm as guilty as anybody that doesn't understand. I don't think Ted has bought meat in probably forty years. He kills his own and he utilizes just about everything of the animal that he kills. That animal is another semi topic but that animal has known what it's like to be in a tiny cubicle, fed chemicals and fed steroids. Had no life, had never seen the sun, never done this, never done that. These animals have been live, have been out in the wild, having a natural life and... bang. They're dead. Unlike the cows we eat that never had the chance to have any sort of merriment in their lives, they're just tortured most of their lives and then killed. I kind of see it from his point of view now. Having said that I would still have a problem pulling the trigger and that does make me a hypocrite.

Me: So, were you invited to write on that "Penetrator" album or were you there just singing songs that Nugent wanted you to sing?

Brian: Initially I was just brought in to sing some songs. When it came to rehearsals I was very privileged and honored, although at the time I didn't realize how honored I was. I was working with people who were the cream of the crop. I was working with a guy named Bobby Chouinard on drums who was the finest drummer I'll ever play with. He was a machine of a drummer. He was with Billy Squier. We had Doug Lubahn on bass also was with Billy Squier. That was Billy Squier's rhythm section. Then there was a guy called Alan St. Jon who was from Los Angeles and he was a monster player. I was very lucky to be recording this album called "Penetrator" with these guys. We had some songs sent in. It was that strange situation where suddenly his songs had become obsolete and maybe called old fashion and not current. A few people had sent some songs in. One day during rehearsal there was a song sent in called "Tied Up in Love" and it was a good song but it wasn't right. It never felt right to me even in the first day of rehearsal. Ted hadn't come in that morning. He had some press to do or something but we got there early at the studios in New York and I was trying to work out this song in my head. I said to Bobby let's play this song just 4/4 and we started playing it and I suddenly this new tune came to mind... same words, I just changed the melody and we did it once and we were like that was really cool. As we went through it the second time Ted walks in and says, "Man, what song is that?" I said, "Ted, that's this song that this guy sent in. I kinda reworked it a little bit." He went, "That sounds so cool, let's do it that way." Ted then said, "I've got some ideas. Let's sit down and work on these songs." I was like fantastic, brilliant. We worked on five songs like "Don't You Want My Love," not great songs but songs that were okay to be on the album.

Me: So, once the album was recorded what did you do?

Brian: I said to Ted's manager, "Doug, what do we do about the songwriting? I've wrote a couple of songs with Ted." He said, "Don't worry about that, we'll sort that out a bit later on. Your name will be on the credits." I'm happy as pig in shit. I tell my parents that I actually co-wrote a few songs on this thing. The record comes out and I get sent a promotional copy of it and my name's not on the credits. I called up Doug Banker and said, "Doug, I don't know what happened but my names not on the writing credits for those songs." He said, "It's not? Hmm. Let me look into that. It'll be on the next pressing. This is only the first pressing, Brian. Don't worry, it'll be on the next pressing." Of course it never appeared on the next pressing. Ha ha ha. Then I heard from Derek St. Holmes who was a previous singer before me with Ted and he had the same story to say. He never got credit for writing songs. It was a bit of a blow but the record came out and was relative successful and we had a song that was a big radio song called "Tied Up in Love" which I thought I had written but apparently I haven't. Ha ha ha.

Me: Okay, so, how did you get the Bad Company gig, Brian?

Brian: Well, I was still at Ted's hose up in northern Michigan. It was a nice house but nothing extravagant. It was a log cabin... anyway, the phone went and it was Mick Jones from Foreigner. It was really weird because I wasn't sure if Ted was on the other extension, so I was a bit panic stricken. Mick asked me, "Where are you? What are you doing up there?" I was like, "I'm starting to work on another bunch of songs for the next Ted Nugent record." He said, "No you're not. I got some people in London that are interested in having you as the singer. Would you be interested?" "Mick, I don't know..." "You heard of the group Bad Company? They are going to reform without their old singer. I've put you up for it." I've known Mick since 1973 and we actually tried to put some songs together back in 1973 when he was in Spooky Tooth. His parents and he lived in Portsmouth for a short period of time. His parents lived there pretty much full time in my home town. We kind of hung about a bit and I will always look up to Mick. He's the epitome what a guitar player should be and I was just fortunate that he thought enough of me to team up with Mick and Simon. "What do you want me to do?" He said, "You need to be in New York next weekend." "Why?" "Because you're gonna have a meeting at the Mayflower Hotel with Mick Ralphs, Simon Kirke and you're gonna see if you can work together." The time came, I arrived in New York, and we met at the Mayflower and we had a chat and I thought these guys seemed cool. The thing was they said they want me to write and it'll be like a real band. I'll be a part of it and not just paid a wage. I'll be the third member of the band and they wanted to get going on this. I had to work out how to break this to Ted because I thought he was going to shoot me and I'll be on his plate tomorrow. I didn't give my decision right then, I asked if they can give me a day to think this through. I took a big gamble to come to New York to be with Ted, and I worked hard and put my nose down. I didn't know if I wanted to walk away from it, as I was just beginning to get the fruits of my work. I walked around Central Park for hours and I was due to go back to the Mayflower to let the guys know my decision. Of course during that time I weighed up the pros and cons, freaked myself out, gave myself all these scenarios, and in the end I thought I was going to do it. I'm going to take another risk, take a gamble and leave the five hundred pounds a week, leave that security behind and pitch in with these guys. That's what I did. I agreed to join them and a few days later I flew back to London and we began to work.

Me: So, were you a Bad Company fan, Brian? You didn't know who Ted Nugent was but I presume you knew who Bad Company was. Haha.

Brian: I knew who Bad Company was because I knew the song "Can't Get Enough." You couldn't avoid that song on the radio, it was a huge song for a debut single. I didn't follow too much after that because that seemed to be their biggest hit in England. They had others, like "Feel Like Making Love." That was a bit later of course. They had a good singer, and I though crikey, I replaced Derek St. Holmes with the Ted Nugent band, now I was being asked to replace a guy who is supposedly one of these rock gods...

Me: That would be Paul Rodgers, who to me is one of the best singers in the history of rock... next to my dad. Haha. Did you ever feel pressured replacing Paul or did you not think about that at all? 

Brian: Well, first of all I was never in Paul Rodgers' shadow because I'm taller than him. Ha ha. But ultimately I knew I was putting my head on the block and several people in the business said, "Brian, you don't want to do this. You're going to be compared and you're not going to have the success that they had. This could be a real backward move for you. This actually could kill your career." I sat down and thought about that as well and thought I love proving people wrong if I can. Paul is recognised as one of the great rock and roll singers but most singers that I've spoken to have the same opinion as me. He hs a great tone to his voice, he has no range at all. He sings in one style, he doesn't have what we call an adaptive voice, he just sings in one key pretty much and he can't go much further than that. Most singers that I know can do some octives. By the way, I'm not knocking Paul in any way. Amongst singers he's very respected but we are all aware that he has a very limited range. 

Me: Ummm... okay. So, when you started to write for Bad Company did you write by yourself or with the other guys?

Brian: With the first album which was called "Fame and Fortune" I had written a song already with a buddy of mine, Andy Fretwell, before I joined Bad Company called "This Love," and they liked it, we recorded it and it became the first single. With the other material on that record I tried to collaborate with them but already it had come a bit strange. Mick would give me some riffs, and he gave me a cassette full of guitar riffs and chord sequences and sent me home with them. I'd come back to his house on a Monday after the weekend with a melody and this idea for this. There was one in particular that was a really good idea, it had the basis of being a very workable song. I brought it back and played to for Mick and he said to me with a straight face, "Wow." I thought he was happy. "Wow, man, you write exactly what I wrote for it." "What?" I thought oh no, this is going to be another Ted Nugent story. That was before we started work really on the first album, I knew then something was not quite right with this story. Later on of course I learned a lot of things I wish I hadn't. It's very sad.

Me: Wow. Man. You still had a big success and a lot of hit records. When I saw you guys it was on the "High Water" tour and you were playing at the Arena in Orlando. So, that's pretty good, right? You stayed with the band.

Brian: What happened was, and I'll be candid with you, we had a big meeting at Waldorf Street in London before "Dangerous Age," after "Fame and Fortune," came out came and we got a tiny bit of recognition from "Fame and Fortune," nothing much, and we knew we had to make another record as we were contracted for five so we sat in the office and our American manager had flown for the meeting. After the meeting we dispersed and I happened to see our manager walking down the road and I walked along with him and he said, "Okay, Brian, what do you think about this?" And I said, "You want the truth or you want me to lie to you?" He said he wanted the truth and I said, "If you don't get someone in to help me write songs this band is finished because they are not going to write songs. They're going to go home and do what they do and they are not going to put any work in. They're going too turn up with a bunch of ideas that are old fashion, boring, pretty much worthless. I'm telling you right now we are just wasting our time." He said, "Okay, let me think on this and I'll be in touch." He went back to New York and he called me a few days later and told me he's been thinking about that I said and I'm going to hook me up with somebody who he thinks I might be able to write with and his name is Terry Thomas. He's a producer who actually lives in London so I'll be able to see him and work with him. See if we can come up with three songs. If were get three good songs we'll know that would carry the album. I was given a CD by Tommy Shaw of Styx that Terry produced, I don't know which it was but it was a very good album. I was very impressed. It was exciting and the songs sound well constructed, Tommy of course sings like a bird. I thought wow, this is the real deal. I could work with this guy. We hooked up and worked on a song on the first day. It was a song called "Dirty Boy." We were only supposed to write three songs but we ended up writing about eleven. It was moving very well.

Me: This sounds very familiar. Hmmm. Did you feel you had the whole band on tour shoulders, Brian?

Brian: I didn't understand or realised at the time but along with that came success and resentment. For some reason and luckily I was lucky enough to have written some songs that people liked, and they didn't like it one tiny bit.

Me: When you went on tour you were singing the old Bad Company songs, right?

Brian: Yes, of course.

Me: Do you think they are out there now with Paul Rodgers singing your songs?

Brian: Absolutely not. That just goes to show how much they resented me. There was success, but I was the new kid that came into town and in their minds I had stolen their thunder. In reality all I have really done is did my best for them, the band, the team. They just didn't like it. Mick Ralphs in particular was very destructive, he refused to come into the studio and play on some of the songs which is why Terry Thomas played guitar on all of the albums I made with Bad Company. The only thing Mick Ralphs played on was the solos.

Me: Then you did the album "High Water." What happened there?

Brian: After "Dangerous Age" I said I was leaving the band, I couldn't take it anymore. "No Smoke Without Fire" was such a big song, it got us on MTV. A band of our state it was phenomenal to be on MTV. That was the big record selling vehicle. I just had enough and I went to the record label and I said, "I'm done, I just can't take any more of this abuse." I thought I was going to go away and write some songs with Terry Thomas and make a solo record. They said alright, and I went off and I went off and wrote these new batch of songs with Terry like "Holy Water," "Walk Through Fire," and stuff like that and a song called "If You Needed Somebody." I finished the demoes and I sent them to Derek Shulman, who was a very astute boss off Atco, He flew back to England to meet with me at my house in Portsmouth and he said, "Brian, I've got to talk to you, dude. I love the new songs, but it doesn't have the name Bad Company on it it's not gonna sell." My ego said, "But... but... but..." He said, "I know what's going on with Bad Company, I know what they're trying to do, I know they're trying to force you out. They're jealous. But please make this the next Bad Company album. If you do, I've got your back. I'll send them off and we'll have a new album with this." So reluctantly I went alright. He's the record label boss, he's going to be watching this. So, low and behold, "Holy Water" comes out and it's the biggest smash Bad Company had in decades. It was huge, and it was good. Even on that record Mick Ralphs refused to turn up and play on it. He didn't want to play on it at all. He only played the solos and Terry did all the rest.

Me: Okay, so, when you left Bad Company and went solo did the fans follow you or was it hard to win fans over? Because before you weren't a solo act, but now you were.

Brian: Yeah, they did. The trouble with following someone such as Paul Rodgers is we never had a publicity agent to speak of who never promoted who was in the band. They were certainly not going to hire someone to promote me as their new singer because we were already in the world of jealousy. I hate to use the word jealousy because it's an unnecessary trait in humans but it was. They were so fearful about the band, it was their baby. Suddenly I was taking it away from them. But I wasn't. Like I said earlier, I was purely and utterly a team player. I was shocked at how they were treating me. I just don't understand the logic, people that would cut their own nose off in spite their face, it's just illogical to me. When it come to my going solo wise was I was prepared to go out and a whole new catalogue of songs which I had written and thought they were damn good songs. Of course then I entered the arena of people that buy the shows, the people that want to promote the show, and they want to sit people in seats, so they don't want someone coming in whose name isn't as promotive as other people. The first question the agents ask is am I doing the hits. Of course the hits mean "No Smoke,,,," "Holy Water," Walk Through Fire," "Boys Cry Tough," "Can't Get Enough," "Feel Like Making Love," the old hits and the new hits. If you don't do them they won't book me. I was still lumbered with having to do Bad Company songs.

Me: Yeah, my dad kinda went through the same thing. Too bad they wanted to use the name Bad Company still, which sounds like they really were bad company, Haha. But if they got you as their new singer and decided to use a different name... such as Taboo Hooves... hahaha, it might be easier and you could of continued with that name after Simon and Mick left. Do you think that's right? 

Brian: You are right. Here's another little story that goes back to 1996, the recording of "Fame and Fortune." We were going to call ourselves a different name. We were going to call ourselves Automatic. We were pretty much set calling ourselves that but then we get a phone call from Ahmet Ertegun from Atlantic Records who was a very famous mogul in the business. we hadn't quite signed the contract yet although we were in the studio so a pre contract had been signed, but he said in a conference call through a speaker in the middle of the room, "Listen, guys, do you have a name yet?" "We kind of do, we are not totally sure of it yet but it's Automatic." "Listen, here's what I'm gonna propose to you, guys. I want to listen to me." Oh, okay doke. "We'll give you four hundred thousand dollars if you call yourselves Automatic, make the record and pay for everything, or we'll give you eight hundred thousand if you call it Bad Company." The first person who said let's do that was Mick Ralphs. The second person was Simon Kirke. I was the one that did not want to do that. But of course two to one I'm outvoted. I was the new guy and it was that moment I knew my head was firmly on the block. That was fine, it's part of what we do.

Me: Wow. Okay, so, let's talk about your new single "Hot Tin Roof." Is this going to be on a new album?

Brian: I'm very fussy about how things are mixed and produced so I'm taking a lot of time and care over that. Then after what happened with me late last year I put the record to bed and was going to leave it for a few months. Let it settle and then listen to it fresh. But I wrote a song that I was going to add to the record which is called "Piano Song" but is now called "Going Home." It was a very strange song. I just had this burning wish to write a song about somebody contemplating their own death, and the things that go on in the mind everybody facing their own death must ask certain questions. There has to be these questions. The questions are of course is there going to be something after this. Am I going to see angels? Am I going to see relatives that have died years ago? Is this going to be the end? Anyway, I wrote the song pertaining to that.

Me: Did you write it after your heart attack?

Brian: I wrote it just before the heart attack. It was freaky and odd. I didn't realise how odd until after I gained consciousness. I actually died twice. I woke up in intensive care not knowing where I was, not knowing what had happened. Then I came across this song again which was on my phone and I listened to it again and I though oh, my goodness, this is so prothetic. It was almost like I knew what was down the road for me. I'm very proud of that song, it's not the happiest song in the world.

Me: You live here in Florida, right?

Brian: Yeah, I live on Fort Myers beach which is a beautiful part of the country. I'm a very lucky fortunate guy and I still think I got things to do. I'm going back on tour this year, so I'm really looking forward to going back on the stage and singing my heart out.

Me: Okay, like I said, I saw you on the Holy Water Tour... what was that tour like?

Brian: It was extremely successful. It was one of the biggest grossest tours of that year. On the last day of the tour I was depressed... because it was stopping and I wanted to do better. When I had my first platinum record with Bad Company I didn't celebrate that, I was like there's one, now I want another one.

Me: Was it weird going out with the Damn Yankees with Ted on that tour?

Brian: No, it was wonderful. We rib itself even now. Ted bought a condo about three miles from me in Naples, Florida so we still hang out, we still get together. He was one of the first ones to contact me when I had my heat attack.

Me: That's good. Have you been offered to be the lead singer of any other band?

Brian: I was brought into the office of our manger and he asked me, "If I was gonna offer you the job of being the lead singer in Foreigner what would you say?" I said, "Bud, categorically no." I just replaced the singer for Ted Nugent... like Charlie Huhn, who you know who is in Foghat now and is a great singer, and there is Derek St. Holmes who has a classic voice, then I had to replace Paul Rodgers and now he was asking me to replace Lou Gramm. It's just too much. It came up twice and I wouldn't want to sing the songs exactly like Lou sung them and that would of been a problem. I didn't try and copy Paul Rodgers when I joined Bad Company. It wouldn't of worked with me as a singer. 

Me: It's funny... Bruce Watson from Foreigner will be on the Phile in a few weeks coincidentally. Brian, thanks for doing this interview, I am glad you are well, sir. Go ahead and mention your website and please come on the Phile again soon.

Brian: Thank you very much, you made it very easy. Take care, Jason. Good questions.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Brian Howe for a great interview. The Phile will be back on Thursday with Phile Alum Jeff Daniels. 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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