Thursday, February 21, 2019

Pheaturing Jann Arden

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Thursday. How are you? Man, Lady Gaga splits from fiancé and the Bradley Cooper romance rumors are born. Roughly four months after announcing their engagement, Lady Gaga and her ex-fiancé Christian Carino have officially ended their relationship. In a statement to People, Gaga's rep shared, "It just didn’t work out. Relationships sometimes end,” before adding that the pair technically split “a bit ago.” “There’s no long dramatic story," they said. While the rep didn't explicitly say when Carino and Gaga went their separate ways, fans started speculating about the split following the Grammys on February 10th, because the singer was no longer wearing her engagement ring. These breakup speculations only grew when Gaga posted a tattoo inspired by A Star is Born on Valentines Day, rather than a picture with Carino. Naturally, given their electric chemistry in A Star is Born, and the widely known friendship between Gaga and Bradley Cooper, a lot of fans are hoping the two are secretly dating. In fact, now that the news of her breakup has hit the Internet, people are barreling down on their theories that Cooper and Gaga are a full-fledged item. Of course, at the time of writing this, neither Cooper nor Gaga have said anything indicating they're a couple. It's all speculation at this point, coupled with their undeniable chemistry both on and off screen. While the rest of us wait to see how this plays out, and whether Cooper and Gaga will end up living the real life version of their on-screen love, I can't imagine any of this is easy for Carino. Hopefully, regardless of what is going on with Gaga and Cooper, Carino is able to grieve the relationship in relative peace.
While "First Daughter" Ivanka Trump™ is gallivanting around the world getting trademarks for her big fashion comeback in China, cool Harvard student Malia Obama has been spotted being cool during a vacation. The Daily Mail "reported" that not only was the 20-year-old Obama spotted with a $20 bottle of rosé, she also expressed disdain for a certain current president who spent years spreading racist, xenophobic bullshit about her father and whose only consistent policy position is to undo everything he did. Poor Malia is surrounded by snitches ready to sell her out at any moment. Obama's friends are like the Meghan Markle's dad of friends. I, for one, feel compelled to go easy on Malia Obama. It couldn't have been easy growing up the way she did... with such hot parents.
Roger Stone, the Trump advisor who's always just one pair of dice away from starring in a regional theater production of Guys and Dolls, was indicted in the Mueller investigation. Nicely-Nicely Johnson pleaded not guilty to lying about his efforts to conceal communications with WikiLeaks, and is enjoying his freedom right now because he was able to afford bail. Ever the Trumpist, Stone couldn't help but use Instagram to threaten the judge presiding over his case, posting a picture of Judge Amy Berman Jackson next to a crosshairs with a blurb about how he insists that she's compromised. Threatening a federal judge might seem illegal, but only because it is. Stone (or his lawyers) might have had some inkling that inciting violence against the judge was wrong, because he (or his lawyers) formally apologized on Instagram and in a letter to the court. Roger Stone’s attorneys have just submitted a court filing. Well, the apology's not accepted, according to Judge Berman Jackson. The judge ordered Stone to appear in court today and explain why he shouldn't be subjected to pretrial detention. It's going to be fun when Don Jr. is indicted... there's no way he doesn't meme himself into solitary confinement.
Joke's on you, libs! An actor claimed to have been victim of a hate crime... and you had the audacity to CARE ABOUT IT? Two Nigerian brothers and unnamed sources are claiming that the racist and homophobic attack on the "Empire" actor was a big, fat hoax. There's a special place in hell for somebody who'd empower Donald Trump for attention. Smollett told Chicago Police that on January 29th, two men attacked him while yelling racist and homophobic slurs, and the latest theory is that he paid acquaintances to stage the entire thing. In the midst of the controversy, TMZ is reporting that the case isn't going to any regular old jury but a GRAND jury to determine the credibility of the claims. Smollett is also already (allegedly) facing consequences at work, with his scenes on the "Empire" episode currently filming have been cut down and his musical number completely scrapped. One thing is certain: you know it's dire when you've lost Cardi B. Cardi said she was "disappointed," and that if fake, Smollett "fucked up Black History Month." Cardi, however, is still giving Smollett the benefit of the doubt. "Until he says out of his mouth that it was fake and this shit was staged, I don’t want to completely blame him because, you know... police in Chicago are racist so they might probably try to frame him and make him look like he’s a liar," she said. Until then, be very, very careful on Twitter.
Billy Ray Cyrus got an earful from critics after he tweeted a photo of his wife next to what appears to be a shit ton of marijuana. Casual.

People weren't upset about the content of the photo, but rather the context. Seeing as Cyrus is a white, wealthy, famous man, he is able to post this photo without consequence. People were quick to point out the double standard here, and how people of color are serving time in jail for marijuana possession at this very moment. The argument here is that Billy Ray Cryus is only able to flaunt this pic on the Internet because he has white privilege. Or, to put it in laymen's terms: Yo, Billy Ray... your white privilege is showing, bro. Like, we get it Billy, you're chill as hell and not like the other dads. You're a cool dad.
Recently I stayed at a hotel and sure glad I didn't see this...

If you can't see it that hotel that tricks you into drinking $4 water. If I had a TARDIS I would go and try to meet Jennie Macgregor but knowing my luck she'd be arrested by Minneapolis police for dispensing alcoholic beverages from life-preserver flasks.

I wouldn't even get to see her face. If you go to the beac this year you might see some new warning signs, such as this one...

They tell me at Walmart I could see some weird sites. I didn't believe it until I saw this...

I'm just jealous I can't so that. Hahaha. At the State of the Union address a few weeks ago some Democrats sure gave some shady looks. Like Senator Kamala Harris for example...

Do you guys like Steve Carell? Have you seen his new look? If not check it out...

Hahahahahaha. Alright, it's Thursday. You know what that means, right?

That's not that bad of one. That's not a real baby by the way. So, a magician friend of the Phile just did a show this past weekend and I was curious to how it went. So please welcome back to the Phile...

Me: Hey, David, how are you doing?

David: I am okay, Jason, how are you?

Me: Not too bad. So, how was your past show? Anything "crazy" happen?

David: Well... I had a volunteer, and when I asked he to pick an even number she picked 11.

Me: Hahaha. So, what did you do?

David: In complete seriousness I asked her if she wanted to change. I said, "You can think of another EVEN number if you want," but she was adamant with number 11. I just looked at the audience and smiled the smile you put on when you know you're screwed.

Me: Hahahaha. That's not good.

David: Nope.

Me: Sorry, David. David Coppafeel, the world's worst magician. Even though that time it wasn't his fault I don't think.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. This one os quite stupid. So, do you ever wonder what Socialism is? I do sometimes. A friend of the Phile knows exactly what it is so I thought I'll have him here to explain it. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man. You know what time it is...

Good morning, phuckerz. The reason Socialism is appealing: People are led to believe that everything they desire and/or require will be provided for them, by their government... free of charge... without having to work for it. The reason Socialism hasn’t worked, nor will it ever: People are no longer motivated to work hard... or even work, at all. Production, commerce and resources dwindle. People are forced to wait in lines for substandard supplies and services. Infrastructures crumble due to poorly paid and unmotivated workers. The economic gap between the haves and the have-nots widens. Governments and politicians become even more corrupt than before Socialism was introduced. They become more powerful as their constituents become further subjugated and have less and less of a say in what goes on in their own communities. All of this takes place nearly unnoticed by the people. Almost like a lobster being placed in a pot of room temperature water... as the water warms, the lobster doesn’t notice the change until it’s too late and he is served up with butter and a glass of wine. Don’t believe me? Take a look at any country throughout history that has embraced Socialism as a way of life... the numbers don’t lie. #ThinkForYourselves.

We all know that some farts are silent but deadly, but have you ever wondered why sometimes your farts make no noise while other times they’re loud enough to wake the dead? Well, it depends on how much gas you’ve got bottled in, the force with which it comes flying out and how tight the sphincter is. Huh, huh. I said sphincter.

Okay, so, ever get into a fight for no reason or at all or some crazy reason? Well, there's this guy that always ends up getting into fights and he demanded he come on and say something. I didn't wanna say no so for the first time ever on the Phile here is...

Me: Hey there, sir. How are you?

Porkchop Eddie: I am fine considering I just got into fight.

Me: You did? With you and why?

Porkchop Eddie: I was lounging on the couch watching TV, minding my own fuckin' business. My brother puts a bagel in the toaster, takes it out, and places both scorching hot bagel halves on my nipples.

Me: Damn. Ouch. So, what dd you do?

Porkchop Eddie: I fought him of course. My nipples still hurt.

Me: Well, go put ice on them and chill.

Porkchop Eddie: I will. Damn fuckin' bagels.

Me: By the way, what show were you watching?

Porkchop Eddie: "The Bachelor."

Me: Hahahaha. Porkchop Eddie, kids.

A hunter was rushed into the emergency room with a bear trap clamped onto his testicles. As the horrified doctor was examining him, he said "Man, how did this happen?" The hunter explains that he was out in the woods and felt the call of nature. Bending down by a tree, the bear trap was triggered and snapped shut on his testicles. "Oh," exclaims the doctor, "The pain must have been excruciating!" "It was," said the hunter. "The second worst pain in my life." "Second worst? What could have been worse than that?" "Coming to the end of the chain." said the hunter.

Today's pheatured guest is a Canadian singer-songwriter and author of "Feeding My Mother: Comfort and Laughter in the Kitchen as My Mom Lives with Memory Loss," the 93rd book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Her recent CD "These Are the Days" is available on Amazon, iTunes and Spotify. Please welcome to the Phile... Jann Arden.

Me: Hi, Jann, welcome to the Phile. How are you doing?

Jann: I'm good, thanks for letting me have my book "Feeding my Mother..." in your book club.

Me: No worries, Jann. I'm a big fan. I wanna talk to you about your new CD but have to talk about the book first. How long have you been feeding your mom?

Jann: Gosh, it has to be going back 8 or 9 years at least. When she was 73 she just started forgetting things and I just chalked it up as "garden variety" stuff, but then I saw my parents kind of struggling. My dad was still alive I'd be like what we're having for dinner and she'd say, "I'll open a can of soup and I'll make some toast." Then the next night I'll ask him and she'd say, "I'll open a can of soup and I'll make some toast." Then the next night I'll ask what are we having and "I'll open a can of soup..." I'd say, "You guys had soup quite a bit this week." Finally the bells went off and I started to have them over once a week for dinner or lunch or something. It turned into seven days a week and I started feeding them and bringing them lunches. I would make a big pot of soup and bring that over to them.

Me: Was there an other clues your mom had Alzheimer's?

Jann: Yeah, they started lying about stuff they couldn't remember. There's so much shame with memory loss that the brain knows it can't show it's weakness so it tries to cover it up. So we watched that for quite awhile but I just had to learn to be a better cook.

Me: Was it stressful then? I'm sure it was.

Jann: It was fun, we had a blast. We'd always watch a movie too. We'd sit in lazy boy chairs downstairs and throw a film in. My parents loved that because what happens with memory loss diseases they both lost their licenses. They couldn't drive anyway. I live in the country and we'd just make it work out there and watch movies and talked and they walked home.

Me: Did they live close to you?

Jann: They lived a 100 yards from me. On my property they built a granny cottage. The house is still sitting there but it's empty, so that's a little depressing. Do you need a house because I could move it to where you live.

Me: No, thanks, that's okay. I lost both of my parents from cancer back in 2000, and I am glad they both didn't get Alzheimer's as I wouldn't know how to handle that. When they were both sick we lived with them for a while to take care of them, and it was like a role reversal with us taking care of the parents, when it was always the other way round. What was it like with you?

Jann: It's so gradual. What's that adage about putting a frog in boiling water and he'll jump out? But put a frog in cold water and slowly heat it up you'll kill the frog. I feel like the frog. It is so gradual, things are changing and getting complicated and I just refused to accept it. I really protected my mum, especially after my dad past away. She's forgetful but she's okay. My mother had full-blown Alzheimer's.

Me: Does your mom still live with you?

Jann: Nope. She passed in December last year. Before that she lived in a memorable care centre. I had full time care at the house for the last three years and once she started asking me where she lived I realized she didn't even know she was in her house. I was like, "Oh, you and dad built a house." "Oh, I'd like to go back there some time." So my little brother and I decided we needed to do something and make some changes.

Me: I'm so sorry. Was that a hard decision?

Jann: Oh, it was so awful. I felt so guilty. I felt ashamed somehow, I know that's a weird... I don't know what the word is. I don't what English word fits my grief. I felt ashamed I couldn't look after her.

Me: So, what made you decide to write the book and did that help you at all?

Jann: The book was such a triumph for me because it resonated with so many people. I really didn't expect to sell 50 copies and it was such a resounding success for me and I talk to people more about that than I do music now.

Me: When you were going through all this, taking care of your parents were you still writing music? 

Jann: Yeah. I think writing music saved me. I think as a creative person I know I was dealing with low-grade depression all the time and I was dealing with an enormous anxiety. The thing that is important to know about that is I had a reason why. So with a lot of people who are depressed and have anxiety, when they identify the source of it it's very frustrating, at least I had that. I knew why and I thought I had to help myself from getting really down. I wrote a lot, I wrote it down.

Me: Did you notice the songwriting was changing?

Jann: Yeah, I noticed my mum was sneaking in there a lot. I was like, oh, there she is again! "A Long Goodbye" is one of the songs on the record, she's in that, that song is completely about her. "Leave the Light On" is all about my mother. I think even songs like "Come Down the River With Me," my mother sneaks in songs like that. It's a metaphor song about a river being liken to a human being. It's a lonely thing being a human being, it's isolating. Having said that there's a lot of strength being a river. You can take a lot of people with you, voluntarily or involuntarily you can drown entire towns, you can take people down with you. I like idea of it. I found my mother sneaking in that line of thinking. She's very tenacious, she's very intrepid.

Me: How have you changed do you think?

Jann: I think I'm a much better version of myself. I think it makes me very humble. I think I actually have to bow down to the idea of knowing everything and feeling like I could control things to succumb to Alzheimer's, because it's going to win every single time. I'm a very competitive person, I'm not used to losing. I'm used to getting my way. I've been in a business that is very self serving, which is about me all the time. Like I said, I think it's been very humbling. My mother has taught me so much about patience and the virtual of tolerance and understanding and forgiveness. I think I'm a lot better daughter. I just let go of so many things, I think I finally understand the idea of living in the moment. I think for years with my job it's not that I did, it's what I will do. That is my job, so I can never rest on anything. I can no more rest on "Good Mother," or "Insensitive," or "Could I Be Your Girl," or any successes I had, any award, cannot rest on that because that's not the way the arts work. I could be only constantly pushing forward. It can be exhausting, I don't know who said it but "if you're not appearing you'e disappearing." As an artist it's a freighting thought.

Me: What was your mom's name?

Jann: Joan. Joan Mary, but we called her Joanie.

Me: How long have you been a musician, Jann?

Jann: I've been doing this a long time. I've been writing music for 40 plus years. I've been with my record label, Universal, for 26. I think this is my 14th or 15th record that I've released.

Me: So, is working different for you now?

Jann: I love my work, I love my job, and I love the people I work with, but I approach it in a very different way. I think I say "no" much more than than I say "yes." I'm just way better about being who I am, enjoying my friends. I've kind of been there "anti-Christ" of pop music anyway, I don't really have much to do with it. I do a record every couple of years but I'm not in any kind of scene, I live in rural Alberta.

Me: Do you think you bucked the system? Haha. 

Jann: I don't know if I bucked it, I circumvented it.

Me: Okay. So, one of your big hits is "Good Mother," like you said. Are you still able to sing that song on stage?

Jann: Yeah. When my mom was really sick I did some Christmas shows, I was on the road for three months just before Christmas and I sang it every night. I had to really think about not crying. The thing about my mom to, is I don't worry about crying anymore. I cry about my mum quite a bit and I've never been a cryer. My mum said it was a very frustrating thing as a child, she'd say, "I would spank you because that's what you did back in the day. Now parents would be arrested for that. And you would not break." "What do you mean 'break'?" "Well, you wouldn't cry. It's frustrating. I could only paddle a kid's butt for so long before I just started to feel terrible about it."

Me: Have you ever cried on stage? Probably not, right?

Jann: I haven't yet. I could get a little bit upset, but I always feel the show must go on kind of attitude and I just sort of motor through it. It's very hard for me to look out at the audience because I could see 200 people crying because it's upsetting for them. But I think also they're attaching their own memories and own experiences to the songs.

Me: So, this is a depressing question, but when your dad passed how did you and your mum take it? 

Jann: Ha. He died on my mother's birthday. He had pneumonia. He almost lived to be 80-years-old. We were sitting in the comfort room and he was heaving and he'd stop breathing for ten seconds and he'd start again. She looked at me and said, "Would it kill them to give him a lozenge?" When he passed away I said he's gone. She said, "He's dead?" I said, "Oh, yeah, he's dead, mom." She said, "Oh, well, he ruined my birthday." I said we'd celebrate it later on. Alzheimer's takes the sentimentality away. Thank God, she would of been crying!

Me: In the book you talk about your dad's struggles with alcoholism. Was that hard to write about him after he passed like that?

Jann: I don't know. I'm still dealing with my dad, we had a very contentious relationship. Good things come out of bad things, I would never have been a songwriter if it had not been for my dad's alcoholism. We needed to steer clear of him. My mum would say, "Don't bring kids home from after school, because I don't know how your dad is going to be." We never did. The worst part of alcoholism is it makes people unpredictable, we didn't know if we were going to have good cheery drunk dad or volatile violent dad. I just went in the basement, played records, the guitar was down there, the turntable, all the Columbia House Club records, and I learned how to play songs. I spent thousands of hours learning how to play songs. My dad was a hard working guy, he taught me a lot. I'm a lot like him, very stubborn. 

Me: Is there one story that sticks out about him that is good or bad?

Jann: I remember by mum bought me a pair of pants at the Co-op, I was 12-years-old. I bought them home and they didn't fit right and so I had to take them back. Of course it was an errand she asked my dad. I didn't have the bill or anything so my dad waited in the car on the curb and I ran in with the pants and the lady basically said, "No, I need the bill or I can't refund you. I'm sorry." My heart was already pounding, because I knew he'd be mad. I came out with the pants and he saw me and his face just went blue. He grabbed my arm and he kind of wrestled me in the car and he grabbed these pants and he marched into the place. He came out with the money. So that tells you something about my dad. There's no way this woman was going to be able to say, "Sorry, sir, you need the bill." He probably threatened her with an inch of her life. We just drove home in complete silence. Those are little snippets I remember of my dad but I never had a conversation with the man. Maybe in the last few years of his life but he always yelled.

Me: Man, oh, man. I'm so sorry. What did he think of your music or career?

Jann: He told me he was proud of me quite a number of years ago.

Me: Let's talk about your new album... by the way, I love the cover. I'll show it here...

Me: I like the whole album, actually. You must be proud of it, am I right?

Jann: I think this is the best record I've done in twenty years.

Me: Did you write all the songs on it?

Jann: I wrote with Bob Rock. I'm not used to co-writing but Bob only does grooves and chord work. Riffs... we wrote them very quickly. We wrote five songs in four hours. He would leave and I was like I don't know what we just did.

Me: What was the first song you guys wrote?

Jann: "The Long Goodbye." It set the bar very high for me to where we were going. We surprised each other a lot.

Me: Did you get very personal with him, Jann? Your songs on this album are very personal, right? 

Jann: Yeah, but this is our 4th record that we worked on together. The second original record that we worked on together but we didn't know it would work but he was great.

Me: What is he like to work with? He has worked with some great acts and great albums.

Jann: He's a wonderful eccentric human being and super talented. He works lightning fast which I liked.

Me: Okay, so, I have to ask you a question I ask all my Canadian musician guests... one of my all-time favorite bands is from Canada... Barenaked Ladies. Do you like them?

Jann: Of course! They're good friends and they got indicted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, which is well deserved. I just saw them last year at the Junos.

Me: Cool. So, what's this you are gonna have a TV show?

Jann: Yeah, I will play a "fictionalized version of myself" in the 2019 CTV series "Jann," which follows a newly single singer-songwriter looking to revive my career while grappling with my mother's early stages of dementia.

Me: Cool. Thanks so much for being on the Phile. I hope this was fun and I hope you will come back again soon.

Jann: Thanks, Jason, this was exhausting, but fun. I will come back.

That about doers it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim and of course Jann Arden. The Phile will be back on Monday with musician Jeffrey Gaines. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Pheaturing Brian "Damage" Forsythe From KIX

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Sunday. How are you? Doing good I hope. Do you want the good news or the bad news first? The good news is that there won't be a government shutdown, as the government has done the bare minimum and agreed on a budget to continue operating! The bad news is that because Congress' spending bill does not appropriate funds for his beloved "Game of Thrones" tribute wall on the Southern border, Trump is set to declare martial law and just do it anyway! That sounds like hyperbole, but no, it's just a description of what's going on. As a testament to just how much thought they put into declaring an emergency over "Sicario 2" fanfiction, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released the White House's official statement as a screenshot from the Notes App, an iPhone feature most commonly used when a celebrity has to apologize for being racist. Not only did Huckabae not release the news on official White House letterhead, the announcement has a random black dot on it. You know who would not be happy to see the president circumventing the democratically elected legislature to impose his will upon the country? Donald Trump (in 2014). Before examining the legality of the president declaring a national emergency he can't pass a law democratically and his fanboys love chanting so much, let's take a second to laugh at the absolute insanity of this whole thing being kicked off on the NOTES APP.

Who knew authoritarianism was so #basic?
So, yes, three days ago, President Trump declared a national emergency. Yesterday he brunched in Palm Beach without a care in the world, and the Internet has reactions in spades. Let's rewind. On Thursday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed via Notes that Trump would forge ahead with funding his border wall, Congress and its budget be damned. Though we're supposedly in the midst of a national crisis, Trump's been spotted in Palm Beach ordering omelettes and chillin' like the villain that he is. I can't blame him. He works hard and wants to relax with some brunch! Just kidding. He's fundamentally averse to work. He probably opposes it for religious reasons. Look at this fucking image, which would make an incredible lower back tattoo...

Let the communal dragging commence!
Separation of powers as enshrined in the Constitution be damned: President Trump went and declared a national emergency because there are brown people on the border with Mexico. You'd think that human pitchfork Ann Coulter would be impressed by Trump's egregious power grab in the same of erecting a massive "fuck you" monument to Mexico, but the pile of toothpicks is surprisingly skeptical. Coultergeist was pissed that Trump's emergency declaration came in tandem with his signing the budget that Congress did approve, which didn't include the billions he demanded for his fence. Ann Coulter slammed Trump's emergency declaration as a charade to appease "the stupidest people in his base" and now people are in the very uncomfortable position of agreeing with Ann Coulter. To Donald Trump, all words are fighting words, and the president must have seen Coulter's take on his morning toilet Twitter scroll. He decided to burn her from his podium at the Rose Garden, a place most famous for hosting the signing of a declaration of peace between Israel and Jordan. Asked if the conservative media circlejerk informed his decision... as it did with last month's shutdown... Trump riffed on his friends Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh before taking the opportunity to burn the witch known as Ann Coulter. That's right, he PULLED A MARIAH CAREY!!! You might be surprised to learn that Trump... wait for it... LIED! He does, in fact, know Ann Coulter! If you think that's how petty the Rose Garden presentation got, you should hear the president describe how the constitutionality of his actions will be challenged in the courts! Speaking of court, expect to hear a lot of lawsuits mentioning the fact that Trump admitted himself that this "national emergency" is hardly an emergency. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted about the comment, so you know it's important. Amazing how everything can be both so scary and so dumb.
A common refrain on this blog is how much Meghan Markle's dad frickin' sucks, and sure, it's better to cope with a shitty dad while sitting in a literal palace, but not even keys to a kingdom can spare you from daddy issues. Last Sunday, The Mail on Sunday published a handwritten letter that former calligrapher and current Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle sent her father, and the fact that we're reading it at all is so sad. Last August, a few months after her wedding to Prince Harry, the duchess wrote, "Your actions have broken my heart into a million pieces... not simply because you have manufactured such unnecessary and unwarranted pain, but by making the choice to not tell the truth as you are puppeteered in this. Something I will never understand. If you love me, as you tell the press you do, please stop. Please allow us to live our lives in peace. Please stop lying, please stop creating so much pain, please stop exploiting my relationship with my husband. I realize you are so far down this rabbit hole that you feel (or may feel) there’s no way out, but if you take a moment to pause I think you’ll see that being able to live with a clear conscience is more valuable than any payment in the world." Mr. Markle leaking the letter didn't just betray what little trust in him she had left, but opened her up to scrutiny from the thirsty British press's handwriting experts. There's nothing the British tabloids love more than hating Meghan Markle, so congrats to Thomas Markle on making bank. And congratulations to Prince Charles for being the Royal Baby's favorite grandpa by default.
Ariana Grande fans truly know no chill. And now that it has officially become the year of Ariana Grande, they are very busy taking their fandom to the next level. So much so, that they are now boycotting one of her songs in an attempt to make one of her other songs go to number one on the charts. Say what now? Just to recap here, Ariana Grande recently broke the Internet when she debuted the iconic "thank u, next" music video. Like, literally YouTube froze momentarily because so many people were watching it. Needless to say, the refreshingly positive breakup anthem had everyone talking, and it quickly made its way to the top of the charts where it became the pop singer's first number one hit on Billboard Hot 100. Ari didn't stop there. She continued to grace us with more singles from her album, which eventually led to a second legendary music video release. This time the single attached to the video was an anthem to herself, her riches, and her bitches. "7 rings" also rose to the top of the charts, because as I covered, this is the year of Ariana Grande. Then, Ari finally dropped the entire album. And because she also knows no chill, she released yet another amazing music video with the song "break up with your girlfriend, i'm bored." Was it an instant hit? Take a guess (hint: yes, duh). Okay, now we're all caught up. As we speak, "break up with your girlfriend, i'm bored" is climbing its way up the charts. And Ari fans are determined for it to hit number one so she can break records by being an artist with three top hits at once. So they've decided that in order for it to get there, it has to surpass "7 rings," meaning they need to stop listening to "7 rings" and start listening to "break up with your girlfriend, i'm bored." Ow, my head hurts. Ariana Grande fans literally live online, so they have taken to Twitter to get their message of boycotting "7 rings" out to the public. Ariana loves her fans, but even she seems to realize how crazy this shit is. If you need me, I'll be doing what any rational person would and listening to both "7 rings" and "breakup with your girlfriend, i'm bored" on repeat until the day I die.
So, it's Sunday, and some churches sure have the best signs...

Who's the moron? So, I was thinking of getting a new tattoo but some one had the same idea as I did...

Hmmm... hahahahahaha. So, if you're thinking about breaking up with your loved one you might wanna think twice after seeing this...

DANG! Wow. So, they told me that I could see some odd sights at Walmart. I didn't believe it until I saw this...

Yup. A few weeks ago was the State of the Union address and some Democrats sure had some shady looks. Like Senator Cory Booker for instance...

So, one of the best things about the Internet is you can see porn so free and easily. But if you're at church, work or home I don't want you to get in trouble, so I came up with a solution.

Man, I did such a good job covering up that breast, didn't I? Hahahahaha. Moving on... let's laugh, shall we?

A little girl was sitting on her grandfather’s lap as he read her a bedtime story. From time to time, she would take her eyes off the book and reach up to touch his wrinkled cheek. She was alternately stroking her own cheek, then his again. Finally she spoke up, “Grandpa, did God make you?” “Yes, sweetheart,” he answered. “God made me a long time ago.” “Oh,” she paused. “Grandpa, did God make me too?” “Yes, indeed, honey,” he said. “God made you just a little while ago.” Feeling their respective faces again, the little girl observed, “God’s getting better at it, isn’t he?”

Ha! This is easy. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so, apparently myself and some of you have been using common expressions that were homophobic AF. A friend of the Phile wanted to come on and tell us about one we have been using. So, please welcome to the Phile once again...

Hello, people. The terms “Nellie,” “Nancy," and “Nancy’s Boy” were often used to describe being gay back in the day. It was usually directed at overly effeminate homosexual men. So when people use the term “Nervous Nellie” it’s actually a homophobic term referring to an ineffectual, timid, and worrisome gay person. It also assumes that gay people are weak or cowardly. In reality, to be an out and proud gay person takes courage, so the term is pretty meaningless.

So, today is the NASCAR Daytona 500 here in Florida. A friend of the Phile wanted to come on and talk about it. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man. You know what time it is.

Good afternoon, phuckerz. Today is the Daytona 500 (always been kinda like the Super Bowl for my family). This is, in my opinion... the greatest stock car driver of all time... the King Richard Petty. There is a young man named Ryan Preese (in the 47 car) racing in the 500 today, who’s been racing with my oldest son Jim Jr. for years at Riverhead Raceway. We wish him (as well as the 71 car, sponsored by Riverhead Raceway) the best of luck and are very proud that Long Island drivers are being represented in what’s considered to be the crown jewel of stock car racing. #LongIslandStrong.

The 93rd book to be pheaturdd in the Phile's Book Club is...

Jan will be the guest on the Phile on Thursday. So, a friend of the Phile seems to have some bad luck. I wondered how he was doing this year so I thought I'd invite him back. Please welcome back to the Phile...

Me: Hey, Dindo, how are you, sir?

Dindo: Hello, my friend. I am okay... I think.

Me: You think? What have you been up to?

Dindo: Well, I was so excited for health insurance that I failed to properly read the paperwork before signing.

Me: What?! Dindo, always. Read. Paperwork! What the hell happened?

Dindo: I got a part-time job that miraculously offered health insurance. Unfortunately, the paperwork they gave me when I started only listed the insurance rates for full-time employees, something like $60 a paycheck. I didn't even realize there would be a difference for me until I got my first paycheck and it totaled about $20. I called HR in panic mode, certain that there must be some mistake only to be informed that for the number of hours I was working, health insurance was $400 per paycheck.

Me: Couldn't you cancel your enrollment?

Dindo: No, I couldn't cancel my enrollment unless I had a "qualifying life event."

Me: So, what did you take home?

Dindo: I took home $20 paychecks for four months until open enrollment when I could finally cancel. Luckily I had another job at the time so I wasn't out on the street, but it certainly taught me a lesson about carefully reading paperwork.

Me: I bet. Take care of yourself, Dindo. Be good.

Dindo: Thanks, Jason. You too.

Me: Dindo Nuffin, kids.

Phact 1. Downtown Seattle actually sits on top of the original city from the 1800s. It was rebuilt on top of 20-foot high walled tunnels following a great fire, in order to prevent floods from high tide and sewage. You can go underground to see the original city remnants.

Phact 2. Beneath the streets of L.A. is a complex network of pedestrian tunnels that stretch several blocks. They’ve been used for secret transportation of mobsters, murderers and more than a billion dollars in cash; designated as fallout shelters and homeless shelters and used as backdrops for movies.

Phact 3. The oldest subway tunnel in the world has had it's only entrance welded shut, and it contains a 100 plus year old steam engine.

Phact 4. Due to a compressed air leak, a worker in a subway tunnel under New York City’s East River was blown out of the tunnel, through the mud at the bottom of the river, up through the water, and 25 feet or so into the air. He received no serious injury.

Phact 5. In 1963, a man knocked down a wall of his home. Behind it, he discovered a mysterious room and soon discovered an intricate tunnel system with additional cave-like rooms. What he had discovered was the ancient Derinkuyu underground city in Turkey.

Today's pheatured guest is leas guitarist KIX, an American hard rock band that achieved popularity during the 1980s. Their latest album "Fuse 30 Reblown (Blow My Fuse 30th Anniversary Special Edition)" is available from iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Please welcome to the Phile... Fuse 30 Reblown (Blow My Fuse 30th Anniversary Special Edition)." Please welcome to the Phile... Brian "Damage" Forsythe.

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

Brian: Great.

Me: Last year you guys rereleased the album "Blown My Fuse" and changed the name to "Reblown Fuse 30." What made you guys redo this album if it was redone?

Brian: Well, for one thing it was the 30th anniversary. Mark Schenker was the one, I wish Mark was doing this interview instead of me, Mark was the one that sort of jumped upon that and sort of pursued that whole thing. We had no idea where the masters were or anything and a lot of times when bands rerelease stuff it's just a remastered thing and this is actually a full remix.

Me: So, how did this project happen then?

Brian: It's interesting because we are still in contact, especially Mark... Mark hooked up with Beau Hill and he and Beau do deep sea diving and all that junk together, so Mark just sort of threw it out there to Beau to remixing it and Beau really liked the idea but we weren't sure how to go about getting the master tape and all that junk or who had them. So Mark went and checked into it and had Madalyne at Loud and Proud Records to help him out to. We ended up finding them they were available so we got a hold of them. 

Me: So, once you go the masters what did you guys do then?

Brian: They were sent to Beau. There's a lot of other processes that happened in the meantime but to make a long story short Beau got them and just to see what happened he didn't listen to the actual record. He just took the master tapes and he just remixed it himself without being influenced by the original mix. So it was kind of interesting how it turned out. Then of course the other half of that little box set are the demos that we did before we went in to record the record. It's really cool. We did that in our own little studio in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania and it's interesting to see how the songs developed. Some of them almost sound exactly the same and some of them were completely rearranged quite differently and it's just a kind of a cool thing to look at.

Me: Were you aware of the demos, Brian?

Brian: Yeah, I was definitely aware of the demos. Back when Donnie was still involved because Donnie's the main songwriter he was relentless with these demos. I have boxes of tapes up in one of my closets of demos. Especially with the set that was released I have other demos that have different versions of demos. I might have four or five different versions of "Blow My Fuse," the song. And they're all slightly different.

Me: I got to listen to a few demos that were sent to me and on the song "Red Lite, Green Lite TNT," was that a drum machine or an actual drummer on the demo?

Brian: On the demo?

Me: Yeah.

Brian: That's a good question. I'm trying to remember back now. It could've been a drum machine. I don't think Jimmy played real drums in our studio because it was a tiny little studio we had. He had sort of a drum pad with triggers. It might've been that.

Me: Okay, just wondering. My dad's demos he did for Foghat he used a drum machine. When the CD version of the original album came out were you guys unhappy the way it came out?

Brian: Not at the time. I'm trying to think back. Listening to the original mix of that record, that's kind of the way things were at that time. It sounded like it was supposed to at the time. Now when I go back to listen to it, there's so much more, especially with the delay and the effects were just overblown. There were somethings I didn't notice until Mark pointed them out. There's one delay on the song "Dirty Boys," right at the beginning. I guess because I always listened to it on speakers, when I put the headphones on I noticed the delay wasn't in time with the song so there's this big jumble of a mess at the beginning. Those were the kind of things we were hoping to fix on this remix.

Me: Do you ever go back and listen to the other old KIX records?

Brian: Well, I do, I make it a habit to go over the sets a few times during the week leading up to the show, just to imbed it into my brain. So I do play along with it. Every once in awhile I stop and actually listen to it just to make sure. A lot of times when I'm playing a song over time little subtitles will change and I'll forget, I'll play it a certain way and I'll forget the real way that I should be playing it. If I go back and relisten to it at some point I'll go oh, wow, I forgot I used to do it this way. Then I'll just tweak it a little.

Me: Why would you change the way you recorded the song when you play live? Just to have fun? 

Brian: With me it's the initial recording that something just bugs me about the way I played. So when we play it live I'll fix it and play it the way I would really liked to have played it.

Me: When you recorded the album did you guys plan out the solos or just play it that way on the spot? I always wonder about guitarists and how they come up with their solos.

Brian: Well, it depended on the song. Some songs were worked out, especially if it was playing the guitar and harmonica thing. we would work it out. Or if it was Ronnie and I playing harmony guitar or something of course that would be worked out. But there are other places where I would put the solo on a demo just to sort of fill it in and when I got to the studio I tried different things. Just the way I work the best solos are the ones where I just wing it and I would do that, I would go in there and do a few different solos and I would just start at a different spot on each take and then go back and usually it'll be the first or second take which would end up being the solo.

Me: As you didn't totally rerecord the album and just remixed and remastered it does your original label, I think it was Atlantic, own the rights to the recording?

Brian: Yeah, I suppose so. I don't really know exactly. Yeah, it seems that's the way it would be. I don't know if they own it but I know Donnie still owns the publishing rights to his songs. Yeah, I'm not really sure how that works.

Me: I think they do. I know Graham Parker and Squeeze rerecorded some of their songs to keep the rights. Okay, so your last studio album was "Rock Your Face Off," and that came out in 2014, five years ago. Any plans for you guys to record a new album?

Brian: We have talked about it. Of course this release put that off a little bit. Everybody has been working on their own ideas on their own, but we haven't gotten together yet and sort of thrown things together what we have. But we've talked about it, but there's no time line but I'm sure at some point in the future they'll be another record. It's funny because this last record had been so long since we put one out and I think there was sort of a fear factor because Donnie wasn't in the band anymore, so we kept putting it off and putting it off and we finally did it and it turned out so well. Now the other part of the fear is trying to follow that up and do it again.

Me: So, you being a guitarist and I know I have a lot of guitar fans that read this blog and will get mad if I don't ask, you play the Telecaster quite a bit, were you using a Tele much in that era?

Brian: No, I actually wasn't. I didn't really get into the Telecaster 'til I left the band in '93, and I switched over. The Tele that I play I had it back then and I had it sitting around my living room so that was my guitar I would pick up, just to noodle around on when I was watching TV or something. Back in those days my main guitar was my Melody Maker, which is not a truly Melody Maker because it's got Humbucker pick-ups in it but it's got a thin body, so it's probably closer to an SG or something. That's what I mainly use but I also have a Stratocaster that I used on a few songs, and a Les Paul. I had a Les Paul Special with a P90 pick-ups which I loved. So I was always leaned to and loved the single coil sound and I discovered the Tele. Actually the first time I played the Tele on stage was right after "Cool Kids," we jumped up on stage to do a set. There was a band in Florida called the Kids that we made friends with while we there recording it. When we finished that record we asked them if we could jump up there and do a few songs, just because we haven't played live in a couple months. So they let us get up there and this was the band that Johnny Depp was the guitar player and he had a '56 Telecaster and a 50-watt Marshall and it was like the old style Marshall, it wasn't a modern Marshall. So I got to play his Tele and I couldn't believe the sound the Tele had through the Marshall. I never thought it could sound that good. So I think that planted the seed. I always knew there was this magic sound with a Tele and a Marshall. So when I finally picked up the Telecaster and started to use it I realized there's something about a single coil pick-up and just a cranked up amp, I still get the sustain and everything I need but there's still this clarity that comes through and I think I just fell in love with that tone. It's almost bigger than an Humbucker that has more output, the single coil almost has a bigger sound because it has such clarity.

Me: That's cool. So, I have to ask you how you got the nickname "Damage." How?

Brian: I actually got that name during the “Midnight Dynamite” recording. Yeah, Beau Hill kind of coined that. I would show up to the studio with a really bad hangover. So I would be laying on the couch in front of the mixing console. So Beau’s nickname for me then was “Brain” but, with the letters I and the A reversed. So he would call me Brain anyway. And then one day I’m lying there moaning and groaning on that couch, and he goes, we should just call you “brain damage."

Me: Haha. Brian, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Please come back again and I hope this was fun.

Brian: It was, Jason, I really enjoyed it. Thanks.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim and of course Brian Forsythe. The Phile will be back on Thursday with Canadian singer Jann Arden. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you.

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

Thursday, February 14, 2019

A Peverett Phile Valentine Pheaturing Tracy Hightop From Jane Lee Hooker

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile. Happy Valentine's Day! Saint Valentine was eventually imprisoned, beaten, stoned, and beheaded. They don't tell you that on the cards. Ladies, are you single this Valentine's Day? Just think... the best part of being single on Valentine's Day is not having to shave your legs.
Valentine's Day caters to stable, long-term couples while the rest of you are just counting the minutes until the nightmare is over and the chocolates go on sale. The streets are crawling with couples in love and the pharmacy aisles are crawling with romantic gifts and sappy cards for people in committed relationships. But what if you're single? Just started seeing someone and haven't had "the talk"? Or you're just bored of the same old "card & chocolates" routine? Then the Bronx Zoo's Name a Roach program might be just what Cupid ordered. Veering from tired tradition, the program lets you name one of the Zoo's Madagascar hissing cockroaches after your sweetie (or ex-sweetie), who will receive a digital certificate of confirmation. All for the tune of only $15. This is a gift that works for everyone... whether it's a guy you met on Tinder, your husband of 88 years, your dirtbag ex Ethan, or even you! Why a roach, specifically, you may ask? Because roaches invade your life and never leave no matter how many times you fumigate the house. Just like love!!!!!!!! As the website explains, "After the chocolates have been eaten and the flowers wilt, roaches remain thriving and triumphant. If there was ever an outside-the-box way to immortalize your thriving and triumphant love (or hate), it's this." And no worries if you're currently swinging single, this gift also works for past sweeties. No matter how messy your breakup, naming a cockroach after your ex is the perfect way to say "just wanted you to know, even though we broke up years ago, I still think of you and wish you nothing but the worst." And for those willing to dish out more than $15 for the person who makes your heart go badump-badump there's also a VIP package which includes an adorable roach beanie and roach mug along with the naming certificate. Can you think of anything more romantic????????? If you're lucky enough to have someone to name a roach after, head over to the Bronx Zoo website before every roach is named. I might order a roach for my ex... Ha!
For the first time in forever, fans have been treated to new footage from the Frozen universe, and the true love is thawing even the most cynical tweeters' hearts. Since the first Frozen was released in 2013, it inspired countless YouTube videos of kids singing "Let It Go" and a #GiveElsaAGirlfriend hashtag campaign to make the coming out anthem canon. The teaser shows a superheroic Elsa, in pants, taking on the WHOLE DAMN OCEAN, which, as you may recall, was the force of nature that killed both her parents in a shipwreck. Not only does Elsa wear pants, but she also wears a blazer. Fans are also taking the opportunity to pray that Queen Elsa will be openly gay.  Co-director Jennifer Lee hinted at possibly making the Queer Elsa dream a reality, telling The Huffington Post that she was at least open to the idea.  "I love everything people are saying [and] people are thinking about with our film... that it's creating dialogue, that Elsa is this wonderful character that speaks to so many people. It means the world to us that we're part of these conversations," she said. "Where we're going with it, we have tons of conversations about it, and we're really conscientious about these things." The trailer also features a glimpse at new characters checking out the foliage in what appears to be an autumn in New England. Did Elsa enroll at liberal arts college and meet her autumn equivalent? Kristen Bell, the voice of Anna, replied to a Give Elsa A Girlfriend tweeter with an intriguing "Hmmmm."

If not Elsa's girlfriend... could it be Elsa's niece? People skeptical that Disney would actually have the balls to include an LGBTQ love story. The live-action Beauty and the Beast made headlines for featuring the first ever "gay moment" in a Disney movie. The much-hyped "gay moment" turned out to be a two-second dance between LeFou and a French guy, but maybe Josh Gad's latest Disney movie will give us more to work with? The excitement over the trailer, however, is enough to piss off homophobes. Mike Pence is inevitably going to call Frozen 2 "liberal propaganda," so they might as well just go full-on gay.
Speaking of Disney trailers... In general, movie teasers are supposed to generate excitement and get people stoked to flock to the theaters opening weekend. But this isn't always how things go down, particularly with the advent of Twitter where people can critique and roast movies before they've even seen them. So, when a trailer dropped for Disney's new live action Aladdin movie, people had a lot of feelings, mostly about Will Smith's appearance as the genie. Obviously, the animated Aladdin genie (RIP sweet Robin Williams) was blue and rather absurd looking, so I doubt people were expecting Smith to be trotting out his sex appeal for this role. However, his blue body paint get up nonetheless startled the Internet with just how corny it looks. Twitter really went to town with the roast jokes and comparisons. You can't revamp a childhood classic and not expect people to have charged emotions and high standards. For many, Smith's genie lewk is true nightmare material, and may ruin their ability to enjoy the movie at all. I have a feeling Smith's genie is going to be the centerpiece of more than a few therapy sessions. While Smith's CGI genie aesthetic wasn't sparking magic for a lot of the Internet, there are still people who genuinely think the trailer looks good. And let's be honest, a lot of us roasting Smith's haunting blue appearance will still end up seeing the movie for nostalgia and curiosity's sake.
Twitter is ablaze this week over the fact that Esquire ran a cover story on what it's like to be a straight white male in America right now. It's important to note that they chose feature this story during Black History Month. How do you think that is going for them so far? I'll give you a hint: not well, bitch! After posting the profile, Esquire immediately began getting dragged, roasted, called out by Twitter users. Ouch. Here is the cover...

Many were quick to point out the lack of social awareness this cover possessed, especially since it is Black History Month. Others were quick to point out how redundant the story of a white kid in America is in a time when there is still a lack of diverse representation across all forms of media. Some saw this as an opportunity to direct people's attention to publications who were featuring diverse and marginalized voices. Esquire Editor-in-Chief Jay Fielden penned a response to the backlash, claiming that he wanted to avoid "echo chamber" thinking and opinion sharing, and that this story was the beginning of a series of profiles about different voices and experiences in America. His response epically backfired, and he was... as you could have guessed... roasted in the comments. Welp, I imagine it's been a very busy week for whoever runs the Esquire Twitter account.
Just in time for Valentine's Day: it's the greatest love story of our time. ABC 17 News reports that a woman in Iberia, Missouri has been accused of poisoning her husband with antifreeze and then setting their house on fire, all in the name of love. Joshua Murray was found dead, and while his house burned, his wife Amy Murray was chillin' at a local McDonald's with their son and dogs. According to court documents, Amy Murray is a nurse at Jefferson City Correctional Center who had a romantic relationship with an inmate, and in recorded phone conversations, she told her prison bae that she could marry him because Joshua was dead and "out of the picture." The prison lover, Eugene Claypool, was serving time after pleading guilty to second-degree murder. You know what they say: the couple that murders together, endures together.
If you want to give your Valentine something for a gift how about this?

Break ups may be messy, but this playful, creative kit helps a girl cope with style. The 32-page book offers empowering advice about moving on, and comes with a heart eraser, self-affirming mirror compact with a comb, stickers to "deface" old photographs, a "Do Not Cross" caution tape for tying up the telephone when temptation strikes, and a poster to remind her of the top 10 reasons she is better off without him. Okay, I guess that is an anti Valentine gift. 
If I had a TARDIS I would probably end up on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Spencer as it destroys the Nazi submarine U-175 on April 17th, 1943...

Wasn't that a movie with Jon Bon Jovi? At the recent State of the Union address some Democrats sure had some shady looks. Like Senator Chuck Schumer for instance...

I was gonna get a tattoo but someone had the same idea I had...

It's okay, I am not completely bald now anyway. Man, there were some creepy Valentine's Day cards in the pass...

Let's hope there's no one inside this burning house of love. It's Thursday and you know what that means...

Yeesh. Wanna laugh?

Two elderly ladies are sitting on the front porch, doing nothing. The redhead turns to the other and asks, "Do you still get horny?" The other replies, "Oh sure I do." The redhead asks, "What do you do about it?" The second old lady replies, "I suck a lifesaver." After a few moments, the redhead asks, "Who drives you to the beach?" 

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. I can't even figure it out. What a load of bullshit. Hahahaha.

Now for some sad news... 

Lyndon LaRouche 
September 8th, 1922 — February 12th, 2019 
He ran for President eight times. He was the FIRST proof than any crazy nutbag can run for President.

Marriage is a legally recognized union of two people who aren't, under any circumstance, allowed to watch the next episode of a show alone.

The 93rd book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

I said in the last entry that Jann will be a guest on the Phile on Tuesday. Wrong! There's not gonna be a Phile on Tuesday. I meant Thursday. So... Jann will be the guest on the Phile next Thursday. Now for some Valentine's Day...

Phact 1. In Japan for Valentine’s Day, instead of giving chocolates, men can have gummy bear replicas of themselves made to present for their partners to eat. 

Phact 2. Valentine’s Day is banned in Saudi Arabia. 

Phact 3. Valentine’s Day is associated with romance because, during the middle Ages, it was believed that birds paired couples in mid-February. The holiday is literally for the birds. 

Phact 4. Valentine’s Day was promoted by companies such as Hallmark to boost purchases in February... the time of year sales revenue was the lowest. 

Phact 5. Thirteen billion dollars are spent on Valentine’s Day every year in the U.S. alone. An average man spends about $158 every Valentine’s Day!

Today's pheatured guest is a guitarist far the blues rock band Jane Lee Hooker, whose latest album 
"Spiritus" is available on Amazon, iTunes and Spotify. Please welcome to the Phile... Tracy Hightop.

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

Tracy: I'm great, Jason, thanks so much for having me.

Me: I love the new album "Spiritus." When I first got the interview request I got really excited and thought that Jane Lee Hooker was John Lee Hooker's daughter or granddaughter and I'd be interviewing her. Hahaha. I'm an idiot. Anyway, it's a cool album, you're a great guitarist in a cool band. How would you describe Jane Lee Hooker's music, Tracy?

Tracy: You're funny. It's like Muddy Waters meets Joey Ramone.

Me: What is your drive and vision for the band?

Tracy: Well, basically it was an opportunity for myself and the other lead guitar player, Tina Gorin, to get together and bond over some guitar solos. It's funny, the other day I was reading to one of your blog entries and you were interviewing the guitar player from Foreigner and you were talking about having two guitar players in bands and sometimes three. We just wanted to take an opportunity to play guitar together and have a lot of fun. So, we put a band together so we could play a lot of solos. Somehow it just morphed into a band I always wanted to be in my whole entire life. It just happened with very little effort and came together perfectly and everything fell into place. The next thing we knew we had a rock band that that exceeded our expectations of fun and shows and excitement and response. We got very lucky.

Me: Where did you find Dana, your singer? She's great, right?

Tracy: She truly is in every sense of the word. I've never been in a room with anyone who could sing like her. She plays almost every instrument and she's an unbelievable lyricist. Again when I say we just got lucky, we just got lucky. We had another singer for a bit and it wasn't working out well and a friend of a friend said to us, "Your friends and Jane Lee Hooker should check out this girl I just saw at this club." It was just as simple as that. He got her name and passed it onto his friend who contacted us. I went on Facebook and looked her up and we had one mutual friend. I contacted that friend and I said, "Hey, this guy said we had to get in touch with your friend to sing for our band." In a couple of hours we connected and I said, "Hey, can you come down and come sing with the band?" It was an audition really. I remember walking into that practice, I was about ten minutes late, I opened the door and she was already in the room. It was like opening that door and we've been in that room for years together. It was like a punch of deja vu, I felt like I have known her all my life and it felt like the most normal thing in the world to be in that room with her. It just felt very familiar.

Me: When you first heard her sing what did you think?

Tracy: Our hair just stood up on our arms. It was crazy. She still has that affect on us. Sometimes she sings so great on stage I will stop thinking about everything that I'm doing and I'll catch myself and think, oh, yeah, I have to play another chord here. She captivates all of us still.

Me: That's cool. Has the band always been very tight? Sometimes with an all girl band there could be a lot of disagreements I feel.

Tracy: The band has been always tight. It's always hard, not knowing what the chemistry between people is going to be. Dana and all of us fit together like peanut butter and jelly. All we do is laugh together, we don't have to use words anymore. We understand what the other one is thinking. It's really a beautiful thing and we're extremely lucky.

Me: Before this record you had another record called "No B!" How are the two records different? 

Tracy: We went into the studio and recorded nine covers and one original.

Me: It was on another label, right?

Tracy: Yeah, it was just a demo to get gigs and stuff. This was early on.

Me: You're on a European blues label now, am I right? How did that happen?

Tracy: A friend of the band sent it to a bunch of different blues labels... one of them being Alligator and one of them being Run Records. One day I got a call from this German guy whose name was Thomas Rui and he said, "I want to tell you I got your CD and I've been driving around listening to it for the last sox months. I'm planning to come to New York and I'm going to sign you." We're all New Yorkers so we were like sure, yeah. He was true to his word, he got on a plane, he came to New York and we met with him, we liked him, he made us laugh, and he signed us. Again the magic for this band in every way just has been a stroke of luck.

Me: Are they a new label this Ruf Record?

Tracy: No, they've been in business internationally for about 25 years. They're the real deal. Our gratitude is immense.

Me: With the new album are these songs you've recorded for the album or have you been playing them for a long time?

Tracy: Some of them have been around for a while like "Later On," which was the second song that we wrote tougher us a band. We've been playing that one out for at least two or three years. The rest of "Spiritus" I say is maybe about a few years old we started incorporating those songs on the road when we went to Europe the last few times. We were actually supporting "No B!" but putting about five songs in our set from "Spiritus."

Me: Is there any song you wrote for the album after you were signed?

Tracy: One song we literally never played together before from beginning to end, it was just a vague idea. It's "The Breeze," the last song on the album. We were like should we try it? We were like we haven't really finished it. We weren't exactly sure where it was going. Our producer, Matt Chiaravalle, just let the tape roll and we got it. I love it. It turned out so great now we play it in our set as well. 

Me: Tracy, when you go into the studio do you all do your stuff separately?

Tracy: We record as a band. We do very few overdubs, we try to get a good take of something, then if there's a blatant era we punch in. We punched in very few times with "No B!" With "Spirtitus" it was just the band rocking out live. Certain songs we get a great rhythm track and Tina and I would go into the control room together. With "The Breeze" Tina and I had so much fun together we had no idea what was gonna happen next. We were all just crammed into a control room altogether and we bought Dana into the control room to sing so we just got the energy. We never talk or think about what we're gonna play, we just let it happen.

Me: You guys have done a lot of shows overseas. Would you say the band is doing better more in Europe or in the states?

Tracy: We haven't intentionally focused on Europe more, but our label has greater contacts in Europe. It seems like this music is going really strong in Europe, people come out doesn't matter what night of the week, they just embrace live performance. I think more than I'm seeing in the United States. Without even trying we certainly have a bigger following out in Europe. A lot more press, it is just a completely entirely different scene. We have the force of our label helping us in Europe as well, they're great. We're getting booked in clubs, have great guarantees, I have found that's pretty lackluster for us in the U.S. It's very hard to get a confident booking agent that isn't busy with other acts. It's very hard for booking agents to make money, it's very hard for bands to make money in the U.S. It's just a different scene.

Me: So, in a few years where do you see the band, Tracy?

Tracy: Opening for the Rolling Stones, I always dream big. I'm not gonna dream small, I want the big stuff. It's always been our goal to get an opening act slot with a band that does very well in the U.S.

Me: Well, I hope that happens. Tracy, thanks so much for being here on the Phile. Please come back again soon and tell the other girls they should be here as well.

Tracy: I will, thanks, Jason.

Well, that about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Tracy Hightop for a cool interview. The Phile will be back on Sunday with Brian "Damage" Forsythe From KIX. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Happy Valentine's Day.

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