Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pheaturing Tiffany Thompson

Hello, welcome to the last September entry of the Phile. At least for this year. This year is flying by. Blockbuster video filed for bankruptcy. Experts say it had something to do with the fact that no one in America has rented a video since 1999. Now, where are we going to get a bag of microwave popcorn for $9? There are bedbug infestations all over the country. I always thought bedbugs were imaginary, like Eskimos. Then I found out they’re real, and they bite — like Eskimos. “Sesame Street” announced that it’s pulling a music video featuring Elmo and Katy Perry because her outfit was too revealing, even though these Muppets are running around naked all the time. Those lucky Muppet bastards. They are the right height to see everything, if you know what I mean. Actress Kelly McGillis married her girlfriend. I can’t believe the star of Top Gun is gay. And so is Kelly McGillis. I just learnt that owls are very interesting creatures. They’ve got tiny bodies and giant heads and they vomit out little hairy pellets. They’re exactly like the cast of “Desperate Housewives.” It’s not true that owls can turn their heads around 180 degrees. Unless they’re possessed by Satan. Conan O’Brien’s drummer, Max Weinberg, will not be returning for Conan’s TV show. And it gets worse, because Jay Leno has started drumming lessons. The Octomom is facing foreclosure on her house, so she had a yard sale. It might be time to get that woman a reality show. The owner of the Segway company died when he drove his Segway over a cliff. It’s kind of like George Foreman grilling himself to death. A 3-year-old boy here in Florida showed up to school with 20 ounces of pot. The school board was outraged but the kid’s teacher was like, “Hey, it beats an apple.” In Kansas, a delivery truck carrying 10,000 snack cakes was stolen. Police are looking for that 3-year-old boy from Florida. Christine O’Donnell doesn’t believe in evolution. She asked why monkeys aren’t still evolving into humans. I was like, “It doesn’t happen that fast.” So, you know I like inspirational posters, right? Well, I found a new one, but I don't know if I want to show it. I have never made a joke about Chuck Norris on the Phile before because so many people already have, but then again I joke about Palin and Lohan and everyone makes fun of them as well... Anyway, here is the new Chuck Norris inspirational poster.

And now for a new pheature on the Phile.

And now for the sad part of the Phile...

Arthur Penn
September 27, 1922 - September 28, 2010
Penn Stationary.
George Blanda
September 17, 1927 - September 27, 2010
Great football player. Ugly as a mud fence, but a great football player.
Eddie Fisher
August 10, 1928 - September 22, 2010
Dumped Debbie Reynolds to marry Liz Taylor. Fucking GENIUS.

Okay, today's guest is a fantastic singer song-writer who has a really good four song EP available on iTunes. She'll be playing at Goose Island Brew Pub in Chicago, IL on October 16th from 9 to 10. So, Chicago readers, please go to the show and tell her the Phile sent you. It'll only cost 8 bucks. Anyway, please welcome to the Phile, the lovely and talented... Tiffany Thompson.

Me: Hello, Tiffany, welcome to the Phile. So, how are you?

Tiffany: A little under the weather this weekend, sadly. I think the DC allergies might have finally found their way to my home. But, I spent a lovely day songwriting, which soothed many wounds.

Me: You have a great stage name, Tiffany. Did anybody tell you that when you were growing up?

Tiffany: Sometime people would comment on the alliteration in my name, Tiffany Thompson.

Me: Did you always want to be a performer?

Tiffany: I remember feeling comfortable in front of people even at a young age, and singing has always been something I loved! So I think the building blocks for being a “performer” started a long time ago, though I don’t think I would have said my dream was to be a singer.

Me: I purchased your four song EP off iTunes called "Tiffany Thompson". Why did you choose to self title it instead of giving it a name?

Tiffany: I suppose because it is only four songs, and kinda an introduction to the produced version of my music… it felt appropriate to simply leave it as a self-titled EP.

Me: I liked all the songs a lot, and can hear them easily on country radio. My favorite song is "Till That Day Comes". Did you write all four songs?

Tiffany: Yes, though other musicians influenced them in different ways I played then with for the years preceding the record as well as the producer I worked with, Brian Whitman.

Me: That EP came out last year, right? Are you working on a follow up or a full length album?

Tiffany: I am actually in a serious artist development/songwriting season. I would love to have a new, full length album out sometime in mid 2011, and I am currently in the process of talking with some producers in Nashville as well as doing some major homework on what type of album I want to create. In the meantime, I am releasing a few single tracks on my Facebook page for people to download for free.

Me: Tiffany, where did you grow up? You live in Virginia now, right? Do you get to travel and tour often?

Tiffany: Well, I moved around a few places during my “growing up” years. I was born in Dubuque, IA, moved to Moscow, Russia for five years, then on to Austin, Texas for a while and now my parents live in West Chicago, IL, near where I went to college. Now I live in Northern Virginia, and I went on one week+ tour this summer back to the MidWest, which was wonderful.

Me: I was introduced to you by Joy Ike who has been on the Phile twice. When did you first meet her? You recently did a show together, is that right?

Tiffany: Joy and I met at The 9 at the DC9, a great singer/songwriter showcase in Washington, DC. Then I invited her to come play at a showcase I host at SOVA Espresso and Wine in DC. Our most recent concert together was her “Chicks with Picks” show at the Istanbul Grill in Pittsburg. Good times!

Me: Joy is a really good piano player, Tiffany. What instruments do you play?

Tiffany: I alternate between piano and guitar, depending on what the emotions of the song demand.

Me: Would you two ever record together?

Tiffany: Ohhh… I would love to record with Joy. I simple love her rhythms and the ideas she communicates.

Me: Joy is a big fan of Brooke Waggoner who just recently was on the Phile. Who are you a fan of and do you have a suggestion on anybody I can interview?

Tiffany: Brooke Waggoner is simply wonderful, a pronominal pianist and arranger. I am also a huge fan of Adele, U2, The Temper Trap, and most recently The Snow Patrol. As for potential interviewees… Mr. Ace Elijah recently came across my radar and I love his sound. You should for sure check him out:

Me: Hey, go ahead and give a shout out to your band.

Actually, I play almost all my shows solo at this point. But, I recently recorded a great track with an artist/producer out of San Diego named Danyew. People should for sure check out his stuff on iTunes:

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile. I am a big fan and know one day you'll be seen on CMT... you are a fan of country music, right?

Tiffany: Sure … ;-) I do love Taylor Swift!

Me: Before I let you go, do you have anything to tell the readers of the Phile? And go ahead and plug your website and anything else you can think of.

Tiffany: Thanks! I really love getting people’s feedback on my lyrics and song ideas, which I post regularly on Facebook: and my blog: People can also learn about shows and music videos on my website: and download my most recent song for free at:

Me: Continued success and come back to the Phile soon, okay?

Tiffany: Thanks so much for the invite and great questions. I would love to come back anytime.

There, that about does it. Thanks to Tiffany Thompson for a really good interview and to Joy Ike for hooking us up. The Phile will be back next Thursday with Alumni Crissi Cochrane and then the week after that it's another Alumni... John Bentley from Squeeze! That's what so great about doing a successful blog weekly with so many interviews. Guests return. They wouldn't return if they didn't get anything out of this little thing. Anyway, thanks to you readers in helping that. So, until next week, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye love you bye.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pheaturing Doris Brendel

Hello there, welcome to another entry of the Phile, which is a proud sponsor of...

"Bargofaxis" may be the first 1960's style concept album of the 21st century. Much in the tradition of classic rock of yesteryear, the infectious melodies hooks and beat reminds one at times of the Kinks, Beatles, Dylan and more. Jeff's first new studio album in 15 years, featuring the three surviving members from the original Jeff Cameron group. Interspersed between the 13 catchy songs are spoken vinyettes describing the story of "Bargo and his band" Bargo was a singer who disappeared from Haight Ashbury in the 60's only to come back decades later to sing about peace and love. Okay, what else is going on? A man in Texas has created deep-fried beer. In my younger days, we had a word for a man like this: genius. Sarah Palin tweeted a warning to Christine O’Donnell that the national media is seeking her destruction. That is ridiculous. If the media wanted to destroy her, they would just douse her with water. I like Christine O’Donnell. She’s good-looking and she’s hilarious. I haven’t had this much fun since Cheney was in office. O’Donnell said that Hollywood needs to re-evaluate what they’re doing because movies these days are all filled with gay sex and extramarital affairs. I thought, “Have fun in Congress then.” Justin Bieber was spotted at a Hooters restaurant in Canada. I don’t think 16-year-olds should be hanging out at Hooters. They should be dabbling in witchcraft, like Christine O’Donnell. An arrest warrant was issued for Lindsay Lohan after she failed a court-ordered drug test. Maybe that’s what she meant when she said she wanted to be “more positive.” Speaking of drugs: After pleading guilty to cocaine possession, Paris Hilton was ordered to pay a $2,000 fine, which is what one of her shoes costs. A new list of words were added to the Oxford American English Dictionary. I guess they have to sell dictionaries and if you leave the words the same every year, there’s no reason to buy one. “American Idol” announced its new judges are J.Lo and Steven Tyler. If you add Ryan Seacrest to that, it’s starting to look like “The View.” J.Lo and Steven Tyler are different. One is a street kid that turned into a beautiful woman and the other is J.Lo. Hey, it’s the autumnal equinox. I aways celebrate by wearing a shimmering jumpsuit. I call it “the sequinox.” Okay, remember The Little Mermaid posters I revealed here on the Phile? Well, it seems there's a also Beauty and the Beast one as well. And here it is.

Leonard Skinner
January 11, 1933 - September 20, 2010

Today's guest is a talented singer and musician based in England whose lastest album "The Last Adventure" is due for release on the 1st November on Sky-Rocket records. She'll be playing next on September 30th at Water Rats in London, England. Please welcome to the Phile... Doris Brendel.

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

Doris: Very well thank you. Busy as ever.

Me: Should I call you Doris or Doz?

Doris: It's Doz to my friends.

Me: You're from London, right? What part? I was born in Balem, gateway to the South.

Doris: Actually originally I'm from Austria. I was brought up in Vienna and came to England when I was 12. I've mostly lived in London (North West) but have lived in a few other towns as well.

Me: Let's talk about your CD "The Last Adventure". Will it be available on iTunes here in the States?

Doris: It should be - it has recently been submitted to iTunes for a 1st November release. It's already listed on Amazon US.

Me: Where does the title come from? It's not really your last adventure, is it?

Doris: Nope. Not mine. The song itself was inspired by the death of my mother and all the musings of what may or may not be waiting for us afterwards that such an event promotes.

Me: Doris, you weren't originally a solo act, right? You were once in a band called The Violet Hour I believe. What made you go on a solo career?

Doris: The Violet Hour split up because we didn't get on very well anymore. Following that I have had numerous projects, some solo and some with other bands. "The Last Adventure" is my 6th album, though I've done some dance records as well under stage names.

Me: And you were in a bunch of cover bands as well, am I right? What bands did you cover?

Doris: I still am, though I've scaled things down considerably. Our playlist is huge covering most well known artists old and new. We specialise in party material, audience participation and medleys. You name it we do it.

Me: I know you've been doing shows in London and England as a whole, but are you planning on coming to the States?

Doris: I would LOVE to tour in States. It's all down to budget at the end of the day and how well the album does - touring is expensive. Things are particularly bad for the music business and musicians right now. CD sales are at an all time low and people don't go out midweek as much. Here's hoping.

Me: You must have a lot of influences, Doris, because you play a lot of different instruments and played a lot of different kinds of music. Who are your influences?

Doris: No one artist. I have very eclectic tastes and I guess it shows. I was brought up on a classical diet; then discovered the Beatles which changed my direction completely. Once I came to England I found much more: Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Led Zep, Free. Then later U2, Alanis, Skunk Ananse, Sting/ Police, B52s, Peter Gabriel, and and and...

Me: And how many instruments do you play anyway? What is your first and main one?

Doris: My first instrument is my voice of course. Then acoustic guitar - I'm a decent enough rhythm player, though don't ask me to play solos. Not bad at the flageolet either (Irish whistle) which features on several albums. I play fiddle, though not very well - I work on the principle that if you play really fast people can't hear the bum notes. With the covers band I also play saxaphone - again I'm not a great player; I just learn tunes on a requirement basis - seems to fool most people. I also play piano, but only as a song writing tool - ie I work it out, then get a good player to do it properly.

You have worked with Dave Beeson for a while, right? When did you first meet him and do you write songs together?

Doris: I met Dave many years ago - he lives nearby and has had a great reputation as a guitarist for a long time. Initially he played the occasional covers gig with me. Then Dave built his first studio and I approached him about doing a song writing/ recording project. At that time it was not meant to be anything too serious - we both were incredibly busy with other projects - but a great release for some ideas. The song writing was and still is all mine - it's what I do. Twiddling nobs in a studio on the other hand isn't, and what Dave is so good at, as well as having a great talent for instrumentation. Our 1st work together became the DB 'driving' album and features only the two of us. Apart from a bit of acoustic guitar, Dave played all of the instruments. "The Last Adventure" on the other hand was rehearsed in with a full band before we recorded it. I had a lot of instrumentation ideas I wanted to try out and it has made for much more interesting arrangements.

Me: I was excited that you worked with Sam Brown and her dad Joe. People over here probably don't know who they are, but I do, and my British readers will. I loved Joe's album that he released over ten years ago. When did you work with he and Sam? Are you still friends with them?

Doris: I first met the Brown family before getting signed to Sony. Pete Brown (brother of/ son of) produced our final demo and then went on to produce the Violet Hour album on which Sam did background vocal's. Pete Brown became my partner for several years, hence close ties with the whole family. I sang On Sam Brown's 3rd album (and played flageolet too), she in turn sang on my album "If" and we wrote a few songs together, and she used to be part of my acoustic live project. Similarly with Joe - I sang and played on a few tracks at his studio and Joe played fiddle on one of the "If" tracks. Once Pete & I split up I didn't see much of the family anymore - I last saw Sam last year at her house, but we don't see each other regularly.

Me: You should let them know I would love to interview them, Doris.

Doris: Sam is notoriously bad at returning calls and emails... Someone else wanted to interview her and I don't think it ever happened. You're best sending her a message on her Myspace page.

Me: Anybody else you worked with? Jools Holland, Eddi Reader?

Doris: I've supported a few good bands - Marillion, John Farnham, Nils Lofgren, Steve Marriott. Recently Bryan Ferry nicked my drummer! Lots of sessions, some film tracks, duets - all kind of blends together. Recently I've been getting some song writing commissions which I really enjoy - theme tune for a new film & a song for the charity Reunite which will be coming out soon. Dave Ball (Soft Cell) has just done some dance mixes of "Latest Fantasy" which will be released around the same time as the album.

Me: Okay, Doris, go ahead and mention your websites. We can find you on Twitter as well, right? Do you have lots of followers?

Doris: Oooh do I get to plug myself. Main website is Then there's Facebook is Twitter: and (there is another if you enter my name on search) . Both Twitter and Facebook are not run by me though (I don't have the time) - lovely Julie from Canada is in charge of those. Myspace I do myself.

Me: Thanks very much for taking time out to be on the Phile. I wish you continued success and I enjoy your music. Thanks again. Take care.

Doris: Thank you too! XXXXXX

There, that about does it for another entry. Thanks to Doris... or Doz Brendel for a really good interview. Also, thanks to you for reading the Phile. It will be back next Thursday with a new entry with guest Tiffany Thompson who is a very talented singer who has a four song EP on iTunes. Until then, spread the word, not the turd, don't let snakes and alligators bite you, bye love you bye.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pheaturing Brooke Waggoner

Hello, welcome to the 330th entry of the Phile, how are you? Before I start I have to let you know Jeff Cameron's new CD "Bargofaxis" is now available on iTunes and You know I am a big supporter of the album (I even posted a review of it on iTunes). It kicks of with the brilliant "Getting Into gear" which should be the single. Through the album of brilliant songs you have a little story about the return of Bargo. Jeff's lyrics are really clever and he put a lot of work into it... so go and purchase the album. If you are a fan of the Beatles and the Who, even NRBQ you would LOVE this album.

Okay, that's done. A research company used avatars of men dancing to determine which dance attracts the most women. They’re saying this research could finally lead to a cure for virginity.
Lindsay Lohan is in talks to make her first post-jail/rehab appearance on “Oprah.” I just hope Oprah doesn’t give her a car. On his way to Asia, Gov. Schwarzenegger posted a picture of himself saying that he was flying over Alaska but couldn’t see Russia anywhere. Not only is Schwarzenegger a fellow Republican, but Sarah Palin had a “Conan the Barbarian” poster on the wall of her igloo. It was reported that President Obama wasn’t wearing his wedding ring at a press conference. I guess that makes the press conference the second-most difficult speech he’ll give this week. A Playboy centerfold was tackled when she tried to open the emergency door on an airplane flight. She must have put up quite a fight because it took all 156 men on board to subdue her. A new study found that Facebook users tend to be more narcissistic than others. When Facebook users heard that, they said “Are you guys talking about me?” My wife would say I am probably the most narcissistic member of the lot. So, who saw the VMA's the other night? I watched "Big brother" instead. Lady Gaga (who could've been on the Phile) won eight awards at the VMAs and showed up covered in actual meat. This Atkins diet is getting out of control. It was a long show. She came wearing meat and left wearing jerky. It’s a bad week for George Michael. He’s going to jail because he crashed his car under the influence. The judge gave him eight weeks in jail. He said he’ll appeal for a longer sentence. George Michael once hit three parked cars with his one moving car. It’s why he named his band “Wham” in the first place. Health experts say hand-washing in public restrooms is on the rise. I think that’s just what health experts say when they’re arrested for loitering in public restrooms. Last week, Australian scientists discovered tractor beams and this week, they discovered that bats have regional accents. Is there anything Australian scientists can’t do? New FBI statistics say that crime in the United States fell 5 percent from last year. You see what happens when we put Lindsay Lohan in jail? You know things are bad when even criminals can’t find work in this country. Experts say the decrease in crime could be due to the aging of the population, increased incarceration, and many criminals finding jobs in the banking industry and on Wall Street. Hey, did you see the new Burger King ad?

And now for some sad news...

Harold Gould
December 10, 1923 - September 11, 2010

Kevin McCarthy
February 15, 1914 - September 11, 2010

And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's...

Top Ten Least-Popular College Courses
10. American History, August 2010 - Present
9. Introduction to Middle-Management Douchebaggery
8. Alaskan State Government 101. Required text book: all of them.
7. Geek Mythology
6. English 380: How To Write A Novel Without Vampires
5. Basic Anatomy of Rosie O'Donnell
4. Study Abroad: Chilean Mine University
3. Palintology
2. Obamanomics 101 Trillion
And the number one least-popular college course is...
1. Jewish History with Guest Lecturer Mel Gibson

Joy Ike, are you excited? Today's guest s an American singer-songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee. Her new album "And the World Opened Up" will be out on September 29th, and she has a bunch of singles being released week by week on Itunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Brooke Waggoner.

Me: Hello, Brooke, how are you? Welcome to the Phile.

Brooke: I'm doing well, thanks!

Me: I just purchased your album "Heal For the Honey" off from iTunes and what a beautiful album. Very relaxing. You must be proud of it. When was it recorded?

Brooke: Recorded winter, Jan. '08. and thx for purchasing it!

Me: What does the name "Heal For the Honey" mean?

Brooke: It's about being patient and preparing for the prize that's ahead. Not selling out and being short-sighted. Wait til it's right.

Me: You also have an EP called "Fresh Pair of Eyes" which I also purchased. Was the EP a learning curve for you?

Brooke: I guess you could call it that. It was my first real project. I did learn a ton and got to finally record what I'd been dying to record for years.

Me: When you perform live do you take a band or just perform with you and a piano?

Brooke: Depends on the show. A lot of times I play solo and always have a cellist with me. other times I have a 5-piece. And for really big shows, I'll have up to 18 players!

Me: Did you grow up listening to Tori Amos? Who did you grow up listening to?

Brooke: Never really listened to Tori. I grew up listening to ELO, classical, lots of film scores, Simon & Garfunkel, and whatever else my dad was into :)

Me: You are based in Nashville, right, but are you originally from there?

Brooke: Not from Nashville; grew up in South Louisisana.

Me: How do you go and write your music? Lyrics first or music first?

Brooke: Music. Always music first. Lyrics come last.

Me: I read your influences, Brooke... Mary Tyler Moore, trapeze artists and mermaids. Tell me about those three. You should make a video starring MTM, with you swinging on a trapeze and then swimming like a mermaid.

Brooke: Perhaps!

Me: Speaking of video, I LOVE the video for "Live For The Sounds". Where was that made? It looks like it took a long time filming with all those shots. The orchestra in it, do they play on the album?

Brooke: Thank you! That was made here in Nashville with lots of friends. Some of the girls do play on the album... it only took us a day to actually shoot it all (lots of prep time leading up to it, though..)

Me: Congrats on being voted number one for the Faith Inspired Album of the Year by Patrol Magazine. Was that a big thrill for you? Do you consider your music to be faith inspired?

Brooke: Thanks! I was very honored by that and not expecting it at all. My music is definitely faith-inspired. It's apart of my life and that doesn't go away in my writing.

Me: Do you have a website you would like to plug? Anything you wanna tell the Phile readers?

Brooke: go to for updates, videos, and a new webstore filled with new merch and such...

Me: I wish you all the best, and I hope this was fun. Thanks for doing this.

Well, that about does it for this entry. Thanks to Brooke for a good interview. Next Thursday the Phile will be back with British recording artist Doris Brendel. Once again, go and download or purchase Jeff Cameron's new album "Bargofaxis". Wait a minute, Jeff is here.

Me: Now "Bargofaxis" is released are you happy?

Jeff: Yes, I am.

Me: Where can a Phile reader purchase it?

Jeff: It can be purchased at or at iTunes or

Thanks for mentioning me and the Phile in the liner notes, Jeff.

Jeff: You're welcome, Jason, my pleasure.

Me: There's major advertising out about it, right?

Jeff: There are current or upcoming ads in Billboard magazine Sept 25 issue. Goldmine Magazine current special Lennon issue , and another ad in two weeks? And Myspace online ads... possibly more coming.

Me: Thanks for the update, Jeff.

Jeff: Oh thank you, Jason. Listen, there's a Shemp Howard festival about 35 miles from
here, could I borrow your car for a little while? Do you have any cash on you? Oh, I forgot my sunglasses, who's are these? Oh yes, fit perfectly. Oh, do you have any soda? "Bargofaxis" the first sixties concept album of the 21st century... 13 brand new songs and five spoken vinyettes about the story of Bargo. What kind of cheese is that, Jason? Do you have any Ritz crackers?
Mmm these are good, have one.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pheaturing Alumni Ernie Halter

Hello, welcome to the Peverett Phile, if you're in Temple you shouldn't be reading this. The first ads for medical marijuana were aired on television. They were quite expensive. It costs a lot of money to buy 30 seconds during “Spongebob Squarepants.” The Department of Labor has launched a new website to help unemployed Americans. President Obama said the website is amazing and he can’t wait to check it out in a few years. Speaking of Labor, did you have a good Labor Day sitting on a beach chair — made in China? Barbara Walters was back on “The View” after heart surgery. The doctor said she’ll make a full recovery as long as she avoids stress, loud noises, and arguments. Lady Gaga is on a magazine cover wearing a bikini made of raw meat. I’d be grossed out if that was on my skin. And the meat is pretty gross too. I will tell you a true story about Lady Gaga... when I first started doing the interviews I sent a request to her Myspace page asking if she'd like t be interviewed. This was before she became a huge star, right. Well, I got a reply that yes, she'd love to be interviewed. Well, it fell through the cracks and by time it was her turn for the questions to be sent to her she became pretty popular so I never sent the questions. Stupid, right? Anyway, animal rights activists are mad at Lady Gaga for using meat like that but Larry King is like, “Be on my show, I love brisket.” Paris Hilton was arrested for cocaine possession, which is like arresting Bill Cosby for eating Jell-O. Okay, you know about those Silly Bandz, right? Logan and I are Silly Bandz crazy, we have about 300. I was so excited when they released a Silly Bandz of me falling off a Segway.

Last week I revealed a brand new "Little Mermaid" poster and it seemed so popular they released a second. Can you believe that? The power of the Phile. Check it out.

And now for the depressing part of the Phile.

Paul Conrad
June 27, 1924 - September 4, 2010
So long, cartoon boy.

Robert Schimmel

January 16, 1950 - September 3, 2010
He beat cancer and then died in a car accident. What a comedian!

Okay, today's guest was last on the Phile almost a year ago on September 28th. His new album "Franklin & Vermont" is now out and available on iTunes and he'll be playing this afernoon at Merrimack College-Private in North Andover, MASS, on September 11th he'll be at Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles, CA and on the 29th at The Bitter End in New York City. Please welcome back to the Phile... Ernie Halter.

Me: Hello, Ernie, welcome back to the Phile, sir. So, how are you?

Ernie: I'm great, thanks for asking.

Me: Did you get a lot of good feedback from the last time you were here?

Ernie: You know it! Thank you for the love, as always.

Me: You're based in California, right? Are you still living there?

Ernie: Yes sir. I live in Los Feliz, a neighborhood of LA just east of Hollywood.

Me: Let's talk about your new album "Franklin & Vermont". Where did that title come from? I am guessing they are pets of yours, or street names or something.

Ernie: Not pets, but wouldn't that be hysterical! Actually named after an intersection near my house.

Me: How long did it take you to record that album?

Ernie: The tracking for the record was done in 3 weeks at Mix One in Orange County, which is a small studio attached to the house of Engineer Spenser Bishop and Carson Licciardi.

Me: I downloaded it from iTunes and when I played it I got very excited, Ernie. You do a great cover of "Black Coffee In Bed". I am a huge Squeeze fan and just recently flew up from Orlando to New York to see them live. Are you a big Squeeze fan?

Ernie: My older brother Alex was pretty influential in what music I listened to as a kid. When I was 7 I heard Squeeze's record "East Side Story", and I've been into it ever since.

Me: What made you do that particular song?

Ernie: It was a suggestion from my manager and label president Jason Spiewak. I don't know that Jason knew I was a big Squeeze fan, he just thought I the song would lend itself to my style and make a nice addition to the record. Something well known, but not too well known.

Me: Have you heard from the Squeeze camp on what they thought?

Ernie: Not yet, but that would be amazing.

Me: I interviewed John Bentley the bass player from Squeeze and hope to interview him again. I will mention your kick-ass version.

Ernie: Please do.

Me: Have you ever seen Squeeze live?

Ernie: Sadly no, but would love to.

Me: Let's talk about the other songs on the album. Did you write them all? There's not one weak song on the album.

Ernie: Thank you! I wrote or co-wrote most. The 2 obvious covers excluded ("Black Coffee", and Coldplay's "In My Place"). I also covered my friend Melissa Polinar's song "Meant To Be". Originally I'd wanted to collaborate with her for the record, but due to time constraints didn't work.

Me: Did you produce it yourself? Who plays on the album with you?

Ernie: I did get invaluable feedback from engineers Spenser and Carson as well as friends and the folks at my label, but this is the first record I produced entirely on my own. I play guitar, keys, ukulele, and do the lead and backing vocals. Steve Venz played upright bass and cello, Zack Rudulph played the electric bass, Spenser Bishop and Kurt Hamernick played drums and percussion. Guest vocalist Amy Kuney and Tony Lucca joined on "This Beautiful Ache". Hope I'm not missing anybody.

Me: I know you're on tour right now, Ernie. Any plans on coming down to Florida? You gotta come visit Disney.

Ernie: On this tour, sadly no, but looking forward to playing in Orlando again!

Me: Are you still involved with Mocha Club? For the Phile readers that don't remember what Mocha Club is, you wanna remind them quickly?

Ernie: Very much. Mocha Club is a charity I raise funds and awareness for. For the cost of two mochas a month ($7), goes toward education in Africa. Its an amazing cause, and one I witnessed in action first hand last year when I travelled to South Africa with Mocha Club.

Me: What are you planning on doing next, Ernie? I wish you lots of luck and I look forward to hearing new music from you. Take care, and you are welcomed back anytime you want.

Ernie: Lots of college show in the fall and playing a weeklong residency at TAB in Singapore. Through all of that, looking to lay low at home when I'm not working, and spend time with my son. Thanks for listening and supporting what we do! Cheers Ernie.

That's about it, kids. Thanks to Ernie for another great interview. Next week... Brooke Waggoner. Yes, Brooke will be a guest on the Phile next Thursday. Until then, spread the word, not the turd, don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye love you bye.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pheaturing Alumni Gabrielle Louise

Hello, welcome to the Phile, I am your host, Principal Peverett. Paris Hilton was arrested for cocaine possession. In her defense, it was in Orlando. Paris says someone else left their cocaine in her purse. In legal circles, this is known as the Lindsay Lohan defense. Tiger Woods just bought an apartment in Manhattan. What better place to practice golf and resist the temptations of single life? New York is facing an infestation of disgusting and impossible-to-kill pests. That’s right, the cast of “Jersey Shore” is in town. Millions of bed bugs were found inside the Empire State Building. That’s one step too far, bed bugs. Bed bugs can live up to a year without feeding. They’re like supermodels. Beaches in Italy are now training dogs to become lifeguards. That should work as long as someone throws a tennis ball at you while you’re drowning. Okay, you know I like inspirational posters, right? It seems the creators of them are running out of ideas. Check it out.

Speaking of posters, did you see the new poster ad Disney put out about The Little Mermaid? I have it here on the Phile.

Batman and Robin still haven't gotten the stink of Joel Schumacher's Batman and Robin off of their dynamic duo, even after 13 years. I'd imagine there's little chance of Christopher Nolan using Robin in his next Batman film, and Batman himself has a notoriously high turnover rate for boy wonder sidekicks (he's now on his fourth). So, is there a market for Batman and Robin sneakers? Probably so, since Adam West and Burt Ward are both still alive and kicking. That's at least two customers right there if the shoes ever come to market (the comic book-inspired shoes are strictly prototypes right now). But what about you? Do you own the perfect pair of green-scaled underwear that would go great, bare-legged, with a pair of Robin shoes from Brass Monki?

Okay, today's guest was last on the Phile on February 27th this year. She has a brand new album out called "Mirror the Branches" and she'll be playing on September 5th at the Westcliffe Ampitheatre in Westcliffe, CO. Please welcome back to the Phile, one of my favorite singers, the lovely and wonderful Gabrielle Louise.

Me: Hello, Gabrielle, welcome back to the Phile. It's only been a few months you were here, but how have you been?

Gabrielle: Great, Jason, thanks for asking. It's been a busy season so far, but I love what I do, so that's ok with me.

Have you gotten any good feedback last time you were on the Phile?

Gabrielle: Yes, I think people really enjoyed reading the last interview.

Me: Last time we talked you were living in Spain or somewhere... Argentina, right? You're back in the States now, right?

Argentina, yes. I was there writing new songs and learning to sing in Spanish. It was a fantastic South American summer! I plan to go back again this winter (summer there) as well.

Are you living back in Colorado?

Gabrielle: We are. Although we're not here much. It's been soo much traveling and touring this year that I start to wonder where I live!

Me: When you came back what was the first thing you did?

Gabrielle: Hmmm... I'm trying to remember! I had a homecoming concert at a swanky jazz club called Dazzle, and after that set out for the east coast on a tour that ended in a couple recording sessions.

Me: You've been busy working on your new album "Mirror The Branches". How is that coming along? What does the name mean by the way?

Gabrielle: Yes! Those aforementioned east coast recording sessions yeilded the musical portion of my new record, "Mirror the Branches". The name comes from a song lyric in "Strange Summer Snow," one of my favorite cuts on the new CD which talks about the cycle of life. (I'll water the Almond tree/ it's roots are my own/ mirror the branches/ where sweet blossoms grow/ come gather the petals/ in the pale moon they glow/ shaking down on the green grass/ a strange summer snow.) Thematically speaking, the record is really inspired by old American romantic poetry. An Edgar Lee Masters poem called "Samuel Gardiner" and an excerpt from a Whitman's "Song of Myself" specifically influenced me when writing. I'll paste the Masters poem here, and I think it will help you understand the context of "Mirror the Branches" a bit more.
217. Samuel Gardner
I WHO kept the greenhouse,
Lover of trees and flowers,
Oft in life saw this umbrageous elm,
Measuring its generous branches with my eye,
And listened to its rejoicing leaves
Lovingly patting each other
With sweet ├Žolian whispers.
And well they might:
For the roots had grown so wide and deep
That the soil of the hill could not withhold
Aught of its virtue, enriched by rain,
And warmed by the sun;
But yielded it all to the thrifty roots,
Through which it was drawn and whirled to the trunk,
And thence to the branches, and into the leaves,
Wherefrom the breeze took life and sang.
Now I, an under-tenant of the earth, can see
That the branches of a tree
Spread no wider than its roots.
And how shall the soul of a man
Be larger than the life he has lived?

Me: Did you record it with your band The Gabrielle Louise Show or did you get other musicians to play on it?

Gabrielle: I worked almost exclusively with a great friend and musical collaborator, David Rynhart. David is a multi-instrumentalist, and was able to come into the studio and record nearly everything we needed save a little upright bass, which I hired Rob Jost (get this, of the Sesame Street Band) to come and play. David and I recorded almost everything live, with no click, but organic and raw, the way you'd see us singing and playing together at a live show. Then David added a splash of Rhodes here or there, and a random Glockenspiel sparkle. It's pretty sparse all in all, but I love that kind of record, and it's what we were aiming for. Raw emotional delivery, and room to breath.

Me: How long did it take you to record it?

Gabrielle: About three days. We'd average about 4 songs a day.

Me: Are there any covers on it?

Gabrielle: Yes, as a matter of fact. I covered a song of David's that I love, called "Midnight Molasses'. It speaks volumes about the value of life, and sheds one's self pity when listening to it. (Sing me an old song/ people sang all day long/ in the chain gangs/ on the rail roads/ in the cotton fields/ in the mines/ in the hard times.) You know, the record all in all isn't about the cycle of life, although it touches on that, it's about the value of it at the end of the day. I love that Thoreau quote that you see on mugs and magnets: "Live the life you have imagined!"
David and I also do a duet version of "The House Carpenter," which is an old English folk song with a sea-faring story of a maiden and a sailor. Dave and I always argue about whether or not he's actually the devil, because he comes and woos her away from her house carpenter husband and new baby, promising gold and riches. It's a classic tune. My mom taught it to me when I was very young and it's stuck in my head all these years.

Me: Will it and the other albums you recorded be available on iTunes?

Gabrielle: Yeah, probably some day. I've been holding out so far, though. Right now I've only got my first CD up there, even though I have a handful of records. I prefer if folks buy it from my website because then Itunes doesn't take a large cut for simply providing the download function. Think of it as buying local as opposed to through a corporate distributor.

Me: I interviewed Joy Ike for Alumni Month and for her new album she had her fans help fund it. You're doing something very similar, am I right?

Gabrielle: Right now at my website, you can pre-order the new CD by donation, and instantly download all the Mp3s. Your donation helps fund the artwork and printing of the record. When it's all done and printed in September, I'll mail out physical CD's to all those that donated. A lot of my contemporaries seem to be hip to this. It helps a lot on our end, because many creative beings aren't backed my record labels these days- so we need to reach out to our fans. It helps us not cut corners, you know--hire a great artist for the cover, or simply do things to a major label standard, without signing over our creative freedom!

Me: Let's talk about your van, Gabrielle. How is it running, and did you ever name it? Remind the readers of the Phile what is so special about it?

My tour van's name is Vita. She runs on Waste Veggie Oil. We love her.

Me: And what about your blog? Are you still working on that?

Gabrielle: I am. I got a monster posting up there after the studio sessions. It's been fun to have an online journal. I am a journal freak- I have a whole bookshelf of filled ones. Switching to journaling online is much more public, obviously, but it saves space in my living quarters!

Me: I have to ask you about something you do that I would never do, even if my life depended on it. And now, it's not tango dancing. We'll talk about that in a bit. Cliff diving. When did you first start doing something crazy like that? Did you ever get hurt? Why can't you dive in a pool like a normal person? Ha ha! I love it. I don't know why. I have been hurt. Twice. And I'm still nutty enough to do it. I like to practice kung foo moves in the air as I fall. I grew up on a river, so I keep myself feeling young by doing stupid sketch ball moves like that.

Me: How deep is that water you're diving in to? You couldn't do that in Florida... there's no cliffs, but if there were, they'll be alligators in the lakes.

I think you must be talking about some photos I posted recently online... the water in that place is crazy deep. You don't have to worry about hitting bottom, but you do have to worry about someone not paying attention and jumping on top of you. We were in Oregon on the Deschutes river, and in this particular spot you can jump off from many different places. Kids and adults all around me were just flinging themselves in from different directions. I'd never seen something like that before. Usually it's best to go one at a time!

Me: Speaking of Florida, are you planning on coming out here?

Gabrielle: (laughing) Yeah, man. I'd love to. I've been meaning to get a southern tour on the books for a while. Hopefully in 2011.

Me: Hey, you're friends with Megan Burtt, right? I am trying to get her on the Phile, so next time you see her, tell her what a blast it is to be here. It is a blast, right?

Absolutely. Mostly because your questions are so well researched! (they usually go something like this: "What kind of guitar do you play?" "What inspires you to write a song?" "How did you start playing music?" All valid! But less fun. more common.)

Me: Gabrielle, thanks for coming back to the Phile so soon. I'll have you back anytime you want. Go ahead and plug your websites and everything and I can't wait to hear the album. Be careful cliff jumping and take care.

Gabrielle: Thank, Jason! Thanks for having me back. My web is Thanks for supporting independent music. Cheers!

There you go. That about does it for another entry. Thanks to Gabrielle for another wonderful interview. The Phile will be back next Thursday with Alumni Ernie Halter. Then the week after that is Brooke Waggoner. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye love you bye.