Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Tuesday. While the rest of the world is arguing over whether or not "Game of Thrones" had a satisfying ending, lawmakers across America are fighting to strip women of their rights and overturn Roe V. Wade. Cool cool cool cool cool. Naturally, women across the country are outraged, and aren't being shy about it. And while women/those who can get an abortion's opinions are the most relevant here... since it is your bodies being threatened... you do need men to stand by your sides for this. You don't need them to grab the microphone from you and monopolize the conversation, and you certainly don't need them explaining your own bodies to you, but you do need them to acknowledge that they also benefit from abortions. Abortions don't just effect women... they effect everyone. And to pretend they don't leaves women alone at the front lines of a battle meant to undermine your existence and your freedom. Thankfully, writer Carvell Wallace decided to step up to the plate and share a story about how his life was saved by an abortion. Other men followed by example and shared their own stories. Louder for the people in the back! No, seriously, keep telling these stories.
It's very hard to write a satisfying finale for a beloved show that people aren't ready to say good-bye to. You're caught in a catch-22 where you either systematically tie up every conceivable plot line in what seems like a try-hard finish, or you leave fans confused about the purpose of certain story arcs. The difficulties being acknowledged, it's safe to say that a lot of fans were disappointed by the "Game of Thrones" finale. Naturally, since the show was based on, and inspired by George R. R. Martin's series A Song of Ice and Fire, the world was eager to get his thoughts on the finale. On top of that, fans eagerly waiting for him to finish the book series are hoping that readers will get a different ending than the show. In a post on his Not A Blog, Martin praised show runners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, and clarified that the book ending will be very different, for a myriad of reasons. For one, as he pointed out, the show only had 8 hours to fit a whole final season's worth of writing, whereas Martin's last two books alone will take up at least 3,000 pages. On top of that, the books have killed off different characters and include characters not present in the show, so it's a different animal, or dragon, completely. As for when his final books will be released, and how he feels about the ending itself, Martin managed to be eloquently vague about it all... "I'm still here, and I'm still busy. As a producer, I've got five shows in development at HBO (some having nothing whatsoever to do with the world of Westeros), two at Hulu, one on the HIstory Channel. I'm involved with a number of feature projects, some based upon my stories and books, some on material created by others. There are these short films I am hoping to make, adaptations of classic stories by one of the most brilliant, quirky, and original writers our genre has ever produced. I've consulted on a video game out of Japan. And then there's Meow Wolf..." As of now, it looks like readers will have to practice patience, and accept that the books and the show function on completely different timelines. For better or for worse.
Alabama is in the news again. First they passed an extreme anti-abortion law aimed to challenge Roe vs. Wade in the supreme court. Then Hank Williams Jr. offered the public $6,000 to help him find is "possibly missing" grandma's shotgun. And now, according to AL.com, Alabama Public Television (APT) refused to air an episode of "Arthur" featuring same sex marriage. In the episode “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” which aired nationally on May 13th, Arthur and his friends attend their teacher Mr. Ratburn’s wedding to his same sex partner. APT chose to air a re-run of Arthur that didn't feature the wedding. APT also chose not to run an episode of Arthur where Buster Baxter has a playdate with a girl who has two mothers. Mike Mckenzie, director of programming at APT said in an email, “Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television for more than 50 years to provide children’s programs that entertain, educate and inspire.” “More importantly... although we strongly encourage parents to watch television with their children and talk about what they have learned afterwards... parents trust that their children can watch APT without their supervision. We also know that children who are younger than the ‘target’ audience for 'Arthur' also watch the program.” Alabama: Where they're making women give birth and getting uptight over a gay wedding of anthropomorphic children's cartoon characters. Roll Tide, War Eagle, whatever the fuck...
Society loves to tell women what we can and cannot wear. I'm sure you're over it, ladies, and so is Katey Johnson, who runs popular blog The Mother Octopus. So during a girls' trip with her BFF, she decided to stick it to convention by rocking a little black dress she claims she has "no business wearing." "When I tried it on I knew the dress wasn't made for my 5’2″ body, 160 lb. body, but I felt great in it," writes Johnson, 40, in a viral Facebook post. "I’m not known to wear form-fitting clothes. At all. But I wanted it, so I bought it. And I was proud of myself for it." And now the Internet is proud of her, too. Because Johnson shared a photo of her wearing the LBD on Facebook, along with a powerful post about body positivity, and it's racked up over 4,000 shares in three days. Here's the pic...
In the post, she explains why it's important to her to let go of self-image and the restrictions you put on yourselves, and "start being kind" to yourselves. Commenters are applauding her newfound confidence AND telling her she looks great in the dress. Wow... judging from everyone's reactions, it's almost as if... it's no one else's "business" what you do, or don't, choose to put on YOUR bodies. Which is why I say, ladies, wear pajamas to work.
Nigel Farage, the Brexit hype man famous for racist demagoguery and a face as rubbery as Mr. Bean's, got a milkshake poured on him by a protester and it's a laugh and a half. Will taxpayers have to pick up the dry cleaning bill? The act of "milkshaking" is sweeping the United Kingdom like Beatlemania, and Scottish police are trying to put an end to it by cutting off protestors' supply. The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a milkshake is a good guy with a milkshake.
If I had a TARDIS I would, knowing my luck, probably end up on a boat with Fidel Castro and El Che...
I didn't see "Game of Thrones" but apparently a gay wedding is not just on "Arthur."
I have no idea who those people are. Wait. isn't one of them Jon Snow? Did you know that Avengers: Endgame was gonna have another title? Here is the unused poster for the movie...
That's so stupid. That's as stupid as...
One of the best things about the Internet is you can see porn so free and easily. But if you're at work or school you can get in trouble, plus I want you to keep reading the Phile so I came up with a solution.
You're welcome, kids.
Me: Hey, Pork Chop, how are you?
Pork Chop Eddie: Pretty good, Jason.
Me: So, I was wondering, how did you get the name "Pork Chop"?
Pork Chop Eddie: This friggin' kid challenged me to a fight over where my friend group was sitting at lunch. When it came time to fight after school, he said his mom had called and told him it was “pork chop night” so he had to go home. I then said, "Here's a pork chop," and punched him out. My friends called me “Pork Chop Eddie” for the rest of the school year.... and it stuck.
Me: Ha. I knew it was something like that. Get into a fight recently?
Pork Chop Eddie: Yeah. I told my friend Vanilla Ice ripped off Queen with "Ice, Ice, Baby." He proceeded to punch me in the mouth.
Me: Oh, man. What did you do then?
Pork Chop Eddie: I knocked his fuckin' lights out and carried on as if nothing happened.
Me: Of course you did.
Pork Chop Eddie: Yup. Alright, gotta go, I'm thirsty for a beer.
Me: Pork Chop Eddie, kids.
All your hair belongs to him now. BOW TO THE HAIR KING! So, there's this inventor who likes to come on to the Phile and tell us what his inventions he's working on. He said he has three more that he invented, so I'm interested in what they are. Please welcome back to the Phile...
Me: Hey, Mak, so, what are your latest inventions?
Mak: Hi, Jason. My first one is powdered water.
Me: Powdered water? What for?
Mak: Because we all know water isn't completely pure H2O.
Me: Ummm... okay. Next?
Mak: Do you like jelly beans?
Me: Yeah, some, why?
Mak: How about flavorless jelly beans?
Me: That's dumb. Okay, what's your last one, Mak? Make it good.
Mak: Okay. How about an igloo that keeps you cold?
Me: Sure. Whatever. That's it?
Mak: Yup. I have a few other ideas. I'll letcha know.
Me: Alright, then. The world's greatest inventor, kids, Mak Asterborus. He's ridiculous.
The 99th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is,..
As I said yesterday obviously Leonard Cohen won't be on the Phile as he passed away about three years ago but his son Adam will be the guest on the Phile in a few weeks.
One day a little cat was walking through the park when he came across a pond. He peered into the pond and noticed that at the bottom of the pond there was a little cocktail sausage. The cat was feeling quite happy so as the water wasn't that deep he reached in with his little paw, hooked the sausage out and ate it. The next day the cat was walking through the park again and peered into the pond. There was another sausage in the pond but this time it was a normal sized one, so the cat reached in. This time he had to put his whole arm into the pond. The cat hooked the sausage out and ate it. The next day things go basically the same and the cat again looks into the pond. There he found an enormous Cumberland sausage at the bottom for the pond. It looked so delicious but it was so deep that he had to really stretch to get it, then SPLASH... he fell in. The moral of the story is: the bigger the sausage, the wetter the pussy!
Today's guest is an American bassist and founding member of Return to Forever, one of the first jazz fusion bands. He has composed music for films and television and has worked with musicians in many genres. Please welcome to the Phile... Stanley Clarke.
Me: Hi, Stanley, welcome to the Phile. How are you doing?
Stanley: Okay. Let's get this going.
Me: Sure. Haha. when I read your bio I was excited to read you worked with some guy named Paul McCartney. Haha. You also worked with Brian Epstein on something, is that right?
Stanley: Yeah, the first record label I was signed to was Nemperor Records and it was run by a lawyer named Nat Weiss, who was a lawyer for Brian Epstein, so that was always there. When I worked with Paul that kind of sealed it. I used to live a couple blocks from George Harrison.
Me: You are listed a co-write on Paul's song "Hey Hey" from the album "Pipes of Peace" which is pretty cool. Do you think it's cool?
Stanley: Yeah, I'm one of the few guys that actually written with those guys. I read in a book, one of those books with all the Beatles tunes, and their songs, it's funny, not too many writers are in there but you'll see my name.
Me: How did that get to happen, sir?
Stanley: Paul was generous. We were working on a song and it was a bass line I came up with, it was a slap bass line that they would know it's me. It was very generous of him to credit me in that and it was very nice.
Me: What do you think of Paul's bass playing?
Stanley: I always admired his bass playing because it was melodic. I've always liked the melodic bass players back in those days. Paul McCartney and James Jamerson.
Me: You have worked with soooo many people. Was Chick Corea the first major player you played with?
Stanley: I first met Chick in 1970 or '71. It's a little hazy back then. I met Horace Silver before I met Chick. I was still in college but in the summer time I would drive up to New York from Philadelphia and I remember going to an audition with Horace Silver. I was eventually able to play with him, we traveled a bit, mainly in the summer. I met a lot of people because obviously a lot of people came to see Horace. When we played in New York we played a real seedy club called Slugs. It had all those kind of guys in there, low scoundrel New Yorkers. But I thought it was exciting.
Me: Did working and being friends with Chick had an impact on your writing?
Stanley: Yeah, we both recognized we were writers. Chick really encouraged me to write for bands. We were together, we did one album and Chick mainly did the majority of the music on the first album... I think he did it all. Then he said to me, "You know what? I know you write music. Why don't you write something?" I said, "Nah, I don't feel like writing something. You know you got that together." He said, "Look, if you write the song I'll name the album after the song you wrote." He titled the album "Light as a Feather" and kept his word. That was a very good thing, even though he was really young, in his 20s, he had the insight as a band leader to be generous. I always tell the guys that have their bands to encourage the younger players to do things and don't be stingy. Chick could very easily said, "Alright, I'll write everything." I wouldn't have written anything as I really was not interested writing music for bands. I was really a bass player, that's all I wanted to do. But I got into composing and many other things like film composing, jazz songs, pop songs, R&B songs, all kind of things.
Me: When you write do you just jam or write everything down on paper?
Stanley: In those old days it was all paper because we had nothing to put it down. We had cassettes and there are very few musicians other than Frank Zappa that owned a studio, that was uncommon back then. The good thing for me was I was actually studying to be a classical bassist. I played a LOT of classical music and was preparing I was going to play for the Philly Orchestra then I met Chick and he kind of talked me out of that. I've listened to a lot of classical music so using music with that stuff as a backdrop is actually kind of easy. I remember the song "The Magician," that's probably the craziest thing I've ever written. There's a lot of composers I referenced in that, just things that went through my head from influences and things like that. It's very cool.
Me: You had a band called Return to Forever... was it hard to get musicians who could "keep up" with you?
Stanley: The beauty of Return to Forever, especially when Al Di Meola came to the band was they could play anything, at any speed. He was at 19-years-old a really accomplished technically. It's funny, his musicality had to catch up with his technical prestige actually. That was true for all of us, except Chick... Chick was pretty full blossomed by the time we played with us. We were young guys that had a TREMENDOUS amount of technique. It didn't matter hat he wrote or what anybody wrote we could play it and read it. That was fun for a composer. Lenny didn't read music but what was cool about Lenny was he's one of the few drummers that actually has a photographic memory. What we used to do with our complicated pieces we could say okay, this is at the end. We'll show him the end and say this is the third section. Then we are going to rehearse the fourth section then the first section and then the second section. He'd string it together in his head and lay the whole thing down. Then he would end up writing music and he would get me to notate it. He wasn't just a guy that owned the melody and said fill it in. He actually hummed all the parts, all the words, so it was very difficult writing with him at first because he knew EXACTLY what he wanted. If you played the wrong note he'll say that's not it. Later when the music software came out he would sit down and spend forever putting the chord down and that was great. That actually was cool.
Me: You are recognized as one of those pioneers of the electric bass. Do you hear people copy your playing? Mark King from Level 42 comes in mindful me.
Stanley: Oh, to me I don't know, I read somewhere that was the highest form of flattery. I just always had that in my mind. I remember hearing a record that Mark did and it's funny, I was in Spain and at this house where I used to go for holidays and I turned on a radio station and I thought I heard one of my songs and it was Mark. I thought it was cool, because he's always been very respectful of me and I'm very respectful of him. He is a great, great bass player. It's nice, I like it. When I came along and Jaco came along and Lenny Graham, it was a great time for the bass because a lot of things changed. Each one of those guys had their own thing they brought to the party. It must've been great to be a young bass player at that time, other than us. I sometimes wonder what it'll be like me listening to me and Jaco and Larry Graham and the other guys. It must've been fun because there's a lot of thins to reference. The bass, I believe out of all the instruments had a quantum leap as far as what people did with it. It literally went from an instrument not totally an obscurity but almost.
Me: Who was the first electric bass player you remember seeing or hearing about?
Stanley: Bill Wyman from the Rolling Stones. He was standing there and didn't look happy to me. I always had that kind of thing, I'm sure he was happy... maybe. He was just kind of cool, like most bass players just stood in the back. So it went from that in a short period of time to guys doing their own records, standing in front of bands, writing songs for the bass.
Me: Have you seen your bass player, mother, standing in the shadows? Hahaha. What did people think of you when they saw you playing bass on stage?
Stanley: When I took my band out for the first time headlining theaters and things like that people used today to me, "Man, this is crazy." I remember I was in Indiana and a promoter said my show was sold out. There was about 2000 kids there and we were playing, and this promotor stood on the side of the stage saying he didn't believe it. The rest was history.
Me: Do you think the bass instrument has changed and become more popular, or people choosing that instrument differently now?
Stanley: Yeah, there's thousands of bass solo records... not all of them are very good but "A" for the effort. It's a normal thing for a bass player to go to school now to learn an electric bass... that was a no no, the electric bass was not even considered a real instrument. Now it is, someone can go to college, they've got books on electric bass which they didn't have when I was growing up. I think Carol Kaye had one book but she just had whole notes in there, not a whole lot. Now there's method books and all kind of things. There's bass soloists that go out and play solo bass, there's all wild bass players now. So for me it's really fun and expanded a lot.
Me: How did you get to learn the style of playing you do?
Stanley: It was really natural because there wasn't much then. I started doing it then Jaco came on the scene, he had a whole other scene with a fretless bass, with a different tone and he played the way he played. It was stamped as a style. I don't think myself, or even Jaco, was calculated or anytime thought behind it, it was just it. A lot of it had to do with the instrument to. I remember talking to Jaco and he said he pulled his frets out or couldn't put them back in or something. That's the way it sounded. Me, when I finally got the Alembic bass the technology let me play a note and just cut like a laser beam though a band. I said shit, man, I'm out there, the note is out there, let me do something with it.
Me: I listened to the album "School Days" and like the title track, sir. I always wondered how instrumentals get their names... so how did that song and album get its name?
Stanley: I was watching the Grammys, I was very excited and happy... there was Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Tormé, and we won this Grammy. I got very excited and it took me 5 minutes to write "School Days." In the morning I finished it, rounded off, put it on paper, put it in the closet and later that year brought it out again to record it.
Me: Did you think of putting a vocal on it?
Stanley: I was thinking about it but I didn't have time or money so we left it as bass solo. We used a great engineer, an Englishman named Ken Scott who also was connected to the Beatles, he did the "White Album" and a couple of other things. He did David Bowie and so many other things. He is an interesting guy you should interview, because he single handily framed the deep jazz rock sound. He did the first Mahavishnu Orchestra record, he did Spectrum with Billy Cobham, all these important iconic bass rock albums. That's what everyone copied. We went over to England to mix those albums because we liked the English sound opposed to the R&B sound in the states.
Me: Your music genre you played has changed over the years, Stanley. Why is that?
Stanley: As a musician, especially as a guy like myself, who loves a lot of different types of music, I couldn't find myself saying in one niche, so I moved all over the place. I was lucky to be able to in many ways experiment. My first 5 albums were a lot of experimentation. The first 3 are like a trilogy for me. They grow step by step and culminate with "School Days." Then I started going off in other directions, some of it was good, some of it was not so good. Not that it was bad but it was different, but it was all done in the spirit of experimentation. That kind of has to be there for me.
Me: You did a song with Louis Johnson, what can you tell us about him?
Stanley: Louis was great, a lot of times I used to record songs just to play with friends of mine. Some of my friends were outside the circle of jazz. I don't really believe in that circle anyway. Louis was a friend of mine, he came up later after me, he was a younger guy and was really funky and really took what Larry Graham did and really took it to his own thing. We used to gang out a lot, I used to hang out with a lot of different type of musicians... funk, R&B, country music.
Me: You also worked with George Duke, what can you tell us about him?
Stanley: Well, George was a really, really big force in music. He could do so many things well. He can come on the stage and play but he did 8 other things behind the scenes. He was a great engineer, amazing producer. Around the time when George started producing, I guess it was always there, be it with female singers or male singers that were great singers but they couldn't write nothing. They had no ability to write a note. So they would have to be put in the bands of a producer and the producer would literally have to come up with songs and fully produce that person. George was like that, he was a great songwriter and an amazing producer. I used to love to record with him because as a benefit not just him as an artist but as a producer. Our Clarke/Duke records were tremendous because of that angle. I learnt a lot from George. It was a tremendous loss when he passed away. A huge skill set disappeared in Los Angeles. I remember at the memorial I was standing next to Jefferey Osborne, the singer and a few other singers and he looked at me and said, "What am I gonna do now?" I said, "I don't know, don't look at me." George was a guy that a lot of those singers looked up to. Anita Baker, Jeffrey Osborne, Philip Bailey, a lot of singers, man, that he produced like Aretha Franklin. He could come on the scene and you'll know you were coming out with good songs. Not that there are not any good producers now but when he left he left a big space there.
Me: With all the different people you worked with from George Duke to Jeff Beck, is it all the same to you no matter who're you working with?
Stanley: You know what it is, I never really studied to be a "jazz" musician. I just studied to be a great bass player. I'll play some country music and play the hell out of it. Or I could play rock music, jazz rock fusion, whatever, classical music, pick up an acoustic bass and do whatever. I think there are many other musicians that are like that. I think that happens because of commerciality if I sell a bunch of records and they say they're jazz records then I'm a jazz musician.
Me: What was it like when you first met Jeff Beck and worked with him? I so what to get him on the Phile.
Stanley: After my "Stanley Clarke" album came out on Nemperor, I was sitting alone at home on Long Island, this huge limousine pulled up. It was a long stretch and this guy came out with a rooster haircut and came and knocked on the door with this other guy, he had a heavy English accent and asked, "Is Stanley here?" I said, "This is Stanley." Jeff came in and told me he was playing a song from that album called "Power." He was playing it live and just wanted to come in and meet me. He was playing in town in New York and before his soundcheck he wanted to meet me. He got my address probably from Nat Weiss and he just showed up and we talked for half an hour. I didn't know much about him. I knew he played in a band called the Small Faces or the Yardbirds, but I knew something about him. I said, "Hey, man, let's play sometime." The next album I did, "Journey to Love," I had him play on a tune. The tune was called "Hello Jeff." Then we started a relation, we recorded, went on the road, we did some really fun tours. I'd actually like to play with him again before we both get too old. I don't want to come out on the stage with walkers but he's very exciting to play with, we have a natural thing when we play together.
Me: I saw on YouTube a video of you and Gregory Hines on "The Arsenio Hall Show," I have a screen shot of it here...
Me: What was the story behind that performance? It's kinda odd, Hines dancing and you playing the bass.
Stanley: There was no rehearsal for that because that's kind of an old jazz tradition. The hoofers in New York and Harlem used to play, sometimes they'd be dancing and playing with a piano player for nickels. Sometimes a guy would have a guitar or even a saxophone and a guy would be dancing. It was a very traditional African-American thing, so it was normal. I knew his timing was great because he was a drummer, not a lot of people don't know that. His timing was impeccable, so I knew he could dance with anybody. When we played together I felt like I was playing with a drummer, because he is a drummer. I'll never forget when we showed up at the Arsenio Hall studio be brought his own floor in. All the technicians were like what is going on here. They all thought Arsenio was crazy anyway because all the weird acts he had on there. We did a short sound set but we didn't do anything. We sort of tapped our instruments, got sound and that was it. He didn't know what we were going to do. Arsenio was cool, he said just go out there and hit it. That was a great moment in television actually, I miss Gregory, he's another one. I really miss him.
Me: You mentioned earlier your film scores, you did like you did the score for Passenger 57, which was filmed in Orlando. What was it like doing film scores?
Stanley: I'm not sure if anyone can teach this or not, people have an ability to embrace the human condition. That's what film composers have. Why, I don't know. All I can say is I can see a visual and I can come up with some music. I have the ability to manipulate the visual. I remember many movies I've done where some of the most boring scenes in the movie are the love scenes. If I put the right music in the right place... there's all these different conditions that people are in and I have to be able to spit each one and I have to be able to write music for each one of those things. I also had in mind with Passenger 57 that this was Wesley Snipes' first action picture. I knew Wesley. Wesley saw me in a restaurant and said, "Hey, man, you better get it right." It was important to me because he was a like a black action figure, so I wanted to make sure that I got it right, rhythmatic enough that it would go long with his character at the same time which I think they missed out on what they call black exploitation films. Guys making love, you hear the wah wah pedal, he's running, you hear the wah wah pedal, he's upset there's the wah wah pedal. I wanted to change with that way of scoring with people of color, I wanted to to still have the rhythm that those the of actors need but at the same time have some musical stuff to create emotion because they are human beings. It worked out really well, so a lot of people know that, a lot of guys copied that.
Me: Are you still doing film scores?
Stanley: I don't so as much as I used to. I like touring, but every now and then, maybe every 2 years I'll do a film.
Me: Ahh. Okay, so, you're from Philly, you're clearly an Eagles fan... blah. Haha. Where do you live now?
Stanley: I live in the mountains in a city called Topanga, which is near Malibu. There's nothing there but coyotes and snakes. What is your football team, Jason?
Me: The Giants. I grew up on Long Island. When you do film composing do you write on bass?
Stanley: I do very little on the bass. Although all the directors, every single one of them, want me to play some kind of bass. If you listen to all my scores there's some points where there's bass in there. Sometimes a lot, sometimes very little. I did a movie called Transporter and that movie has some very interesting bass in there. It's subtle but it's in there as the director wanted me to do that. There's a lot of bass in Passenger 57. Wesley wanted that.
Me: Stanley, thanks for being on the Phile. This was such a great interview. Please come back soon.
Stanley: Cool. Good talking to you, Jason.
That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Stanley Clarke for a really good interview. Okay, so on Friday I am going to have a procedure done. They are gonna put one of these next to my heart...
I don't want you, cook my bread, I don't want you, make my bed, I don't want your money too, I just want to make love to you. - Willie Dixon