Monday, June 27, 2011

Pheaturing Dax Norman

Hello, welcome to another entry of the Phile, the second for this week. What the hell, right? Man, I don't know about where you live, but here in Central Florida it's hot. It's so hot, they are landing planes in Lake Eola just to cool off. So hot today that the crack dealers in Orlando switched to Klondike Bars. Do you know who is in a lot of trouble? No, not me. I’ll tell you who’s in a lot of trouble: Mitt Romney. He’s supposedly the Republican presidential contender front-runner. Here’s what happened: He created a successful healthcare plan in Massachusetts. Are you kidding me? Come on! What a dope. Former governor of Utah, Jon Huntsman, is running for president. He's one of those guys that can do everything — he speaks Chinese. In a couple of years we’ll all be speaking Chinese, so who cares? In a short period of time the Republicans have come quite a long way. The last Republican president wasn’t even fluent in English. This is big news, I guess, New York City legalized same-sex marriage. Until it becomes official, the only place in New York City where gay couples could actually marry was backstage at the Tony Awards. Newt Gingrich announced he was running for president. His top advisers quit, and then his campaign fundraisers all quit. Newt was thinking, “I don’t need this, I’ll just put it all on my Tiffany’s credit card.” A postcard originally mailed in 1912 was finally delivered last week. On the back it was signed “Can’t wait to get on the Titanic!” No, that wasn’t it, it was actually signed, “Best Wishes, thanks for watching. Regis.” There’s a light bulb in Livermore, Calif., at a fire station that’s been burning constantly day and night, for 110 years. Isn’t that crazy? First turned on in 1901 — coincidentally I think that’s when Barbara Walters was first turned on. Okay, I mentioned the gay marriage law being out through in New York, right? The whole city is going gay nuts. Even the Empire State Building turned gay. Take a look.

Then there was this chalkboard outside a restaurant.

This is weird, did anybody see the new Facebook ad that was put out?

So, I had a great idea for a movie, and I want to tell you what is is, get your opinion. It's about a rat who dreams of becoming a chef in Paris. What do you think? It'll be called Ratatoing and here's what the DVD cover would look like. LOL, that is so stupid.

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

Top Ten Newt Gingrich Presidential Campaign Slogans
10. Isn't It Time For An Old, White President?
9. A Perfect Fit The For The Oval Office, Literally.
8. Troubled Times Demand A Truly Troubled Man.
7. Someone Get Me A Double Cheeseburger.
6. A Vote For Me Is A Vote For An Ethics-Violating, Religion-Switching, Sanctimonious Gas Bag Working On His Third Marriage.
5. At Least My Name Isn't Mitt.
4. If There Was Anything Positive To Say, We'd Put It In This Slogan.
3. National Debt? We'll Charge It To Tiffany!
2. Please, I'm Not Getting Any Younger.
And the number one Newt Presidential campaign slogan is...
1. Hey, Where'd Everybody Go?

Lightning McQueen and his best friend Mater are back to address all of your unanswered questions from the first Cars movie. Oh, what? There were no unanswered questions from the first one? Well, you're getting another movie anyway. This time, Lightning McQueen is taunted into participating in a race that's meant to showcase the wonders of natural fuel sources. Obviously, that's only a front and the car entrusted with bringing the whole facade to a crashing halt is the super spy Mater. Wait, you mean the wacky tow truck who can't seem to get anything right? I LOVED this movie but... uh… nothing about this movie was understandable except Disney's desire for more Cars merchandise revenue. I get uncomfortable when I am left scrambling to comprehend the plot of an animated movie, so I have a bad taste in my mouth over this flick. If I had to guess, I would say that people criticized the original film for being too simplistic, so for this one, they hired the entire staff of MIT and some quantum physicists to make the script as convoluted as possible. The movie does have tons of cool gimmicks. The 3D looks amazing, the races are pretty fun, cars fly, and have the usual impressive spy tools that help them achieve their missions. After the film was over, there were plenty of hyper kids bouncing around the lobby calling this the coolest movie they had ever seen. And I was one of them, and so was Logan. I politely refrained from asking any of them or my son what it was actually about, though. My favorite part of these movies is seeing cars doing normal human things ("Oh look, he thinks he's people!"). There are some good laughs in here about bidets and wasabi. Of course the cars have fun names like Holly Shiftwell and Brett Mustangburger. But now that I have typed that sentence I just realized I am praising a movie for "fun names." Unless you have a kid in tow who wants to see about 75 new cars that you'll later have to buy for them in toy form, this movie isn't a must-see. Showing before the film is Pixar short Toy Story: Hawaiian Vacation, which created a longing in my heart that can only be satisfied by watching all three Toy Story movies again. From 1 to 10, it gets a 10 anyway, and yeah, I will buy it when it comes out.

Today's is a contemporary artist who primarily works in painting and animation. He is the first artist to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Art Gallery as well. Please welcome to the Phile... Dax Norman.

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

Dax: Hi, Jason, so glad to be here. Thanks so much.

Me: I have to say, I love it when I get to interview different artists, as that is what I wanted to be when I was a kid. I still love to doodle to this day. Anyway, did you always want to be an artist?

Without a doubt. The best thing about being an artist is, you don't need anyone's permission for it. If you make art, then you are one.

Me: Did you used to doodle in your school books like I used to do? I used to get in trouble with that all the time.

Dax: I did that as well, but never got in trouble for it, though. At least that I can remember, anyway.

Me: Where are you from, Dax? You went to school in Florida to study art, is that right?

Dax: Originally, I am from Houston, TX, but now I reside in Austin. I went to Art School at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida.

Me: All I can say about your art work is WOW! Your brain must work like a millions times over. When you start to work on a painting, do you know what you are gonna paint or draw, or does that all come as you are doing it?

Dax: Thank you. When I start a painting, I like to create unexpected things, letting my subconscious take control. Part of the fun for me is not knowing what will happen next. Mostly I am on auto pilot when I create. Whether it be in coming up with the design, or using color.
I do, however, usually start out with a distinct image, which becomes buried beneath many layers of personal iconography. My goal in doing this, is to create images that can be a new experience upon each. Multiple worlds existing on one plane.

Me: You also do animation as well, right? What do you prefer, painting or animation?

Dax: Currently, painting and animation are equal forms of expression for me. When I began to learn animation, one of the main goals I had was to be able to create the vision I had in my paintings, but in motion. They very much are related, as now, as my animation skills have grown, I find that no longer do I just do animations that are rooted in ideas from my paintings, but I create paintings based on animations I have done, as well. They feed and grow from one another, making me a much more assured artist in the process. Drawing things at 24 frames per second doesn't hurt my draftsmanship skills, either.

Me: Are there any cartoons you watch now, or any forms of animation you like best?

Dax: I love to watch others' independent animations on the internet, they are a big source of inspiration for me. My favorite animated movie of all time is The Tripletts of Belville, and historically, I love the animations by Fleisher Studios, ie: old Popeye cartoons. There is an inherent sense of fun and surrealism in those old cartoons. I also find inspiration by the DIY ethos of animators like Ralph Bakshi and Bill Plympton.

Me: On the Phile most of the people I interview are musicians, Dax. You have worked with some bands and musicians on music videos. Do you get to do what you want for the videos, or does the music artist have an idea and direction to go?

Dax: I do what I want for the videos. Creative freedom is an absolute for me. I am very hesitant to do a project if someone is barking orders at me for what they want visually. Often times, musicians will approach me online, asking If I'll do them a video. If I like their music, I gladly do it. I find that music videos are a great place for me to explore experimental animation ideas that I have. Also, hopefully, the musicians enjoy what I create for their song. I enjoy the process the most when there is a back and forth between myself and the musician/band I am collaborating with, where each of us is free to build upon what the others work inspires.

Me: Do you like to do that kinda thing, or would you rather do your own thing?

Dax: I see it the music videos as genuine collaborations, ans as a way of doing my own thing, and hopefully, also helping to get some music out there in a creative way, in the process.

Me: I noticed you also have some apps out as well on iTunes. I have to tell you, I always downloaded my guests music from iTunes so I downloaded your apps. For the readers that haven't yet, but will as soon as they read this, explain what each app is. I want to call them games, but there's more to them, right?

Dax: Thanks. Yes, I like to call them "interactive art pieces," as all of them are based in some way off of one of my paintings or animations. Like I said before, I aim to create a cohesive visual identity through multiple media, and these games are a part of that. The four iPod and iPad games are called "Daxterpieces", "Daxterpieces II", "Jigsaw Kiss", and "Puzz". "Daxterpieces", and "Daxterpieces II": these are unique puzzle games, where each touch of different parts of the screen reveals a new image, if you touch the different interlocking pieces in the right combination, you reveal a hidden image, and little animation loop plays. There are 15 levels in each of these games. Most of the fun, however is not about solving the puzzles, but exploring unique image combinations that you can create. The imagery in these games was originally based on my 2004 painting, "The Cunning Linguist." (it is a hidden portrait of Shakespeare, get it?) "Daxterpieces" is recently free to download now, by the way. "Jigsaw Kiss": This game uses the accelerometer. There are 2 puzzles, that you can either move pieces into place, or rotate the iPhone/iPad to move them. When they are finished, a longer animation plays, basically bringing the puzzle that you solved to life. The imagery is based on animation that appears in the "Juicy" music video. "Puzz": This one is probably my most straight forward game, but also the most challenging to play. Here, here you try to order the numbered tiles into place, then revealing an image at the end. The imagery in this game is based upon my classic 2005 painting: "The Courtship, by Satan, of a Fire Breathing Poodle."

Me: When did you get the idea to do an app, and will you be coming out with more, Dax?

Dax: I wanted to do an app whenever I first heard about the open development platform for the app store. Although, believe me, I have plenty more ideas for them, and originally intended on expanding into more complex territory, I will not be coming out with any new games for the forseeable future. I made these at a point when I was unemployed, and had high hopes of success. For anyone that has made an app, they can probably attest to how easy it is to get lost in the shuffle. I do feel terrible, however, for the people who collaborated with me, that these games were such a commercial failure. They are some of the coolest, albeit least downloaded, games out there.

Me: Speaking of apps, are you addicted like I am to "Angry Birds". Damn the Finnish.

Dax: I've never played that one. I'll have to check it out. My favorite is "Line Rider".

Me: Your artwork has been featured in different galleries and shows, which must be cool for any artist to have their artwork shown in a gallery. One of the galleries was in Switzerland I think, right. Is your work popular in Europe?

Dax: I love trying to get my art out there however I can. It's a quite a struggle. Currently, my paintings are exhibited in San Francisco at Gallery 444 in Union Square. I have been talking to a gallery in Switzerland, which shows some posters of my work, but an official show of my paintings hasn't materialized there yet. Ringling College purchased 3 of my paintings, which are on display in Florida, including the 9 foot wide "Daxterpiece". Also, I am supposed to meet tomorrow with a gallery here in Austin about showing my work. I'd love to get my work shown somewhere locally. Animation wise, though, my toons have been shown the world over many times at film and animation festivals, many times in Europe. Last year alone, my animations showed publicly in over 20 countries worldwide. Two weeks ago, I rented a projector and screened my animations for 3 hours on the side of a theater bulding in downtown San Antonio. The images were 60 feet wide, it was great. That was my first attempt at DIY distribution.

Me: Is there a gallery or place you would love to have your work shown in?

Dax: No place is too big, or too small. Just two weeks ago, my abstract animated short, "Argyle Kabuki", a collaboration with composer Dave Merson-Hess, played at the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain! It was part of the world tour for the amazing Punto y Raya festival.

Me: Let's talk about your paintings. What tools do you use mostly? I would think oils, but I wouldn't know. I use mostly Sharpies for my work. LOL.

Dax: Sharpies are great! I really enjoy drawing directly with pen or marker, too. Their permanence vs. a pencil is liberating to me. For the paintings, I use oil and/ or acrylic. Sometimes I'll start with acrylic, then go over it in oil after it dries, other times I use one or the other.

Me: You have a bowling pin series as well, which is fun. Where do you buy the bowling pins and where did that idea come from? It's clever, you paint over a bowling pin making it a person. How many of those have you done, and which one if your favorite? They are mostly real people you painted on the pins, right?

Dax: Originally I just thought it was a funny idea. I have done hundreds of them. I started doing them in 2003, I think. The first ones I did were of characters from my favorite movie, "The Big Lebowski". Ironicly, I got the ideas for doing the Lebowski pins while watching another Coen Brothers masterpiece, "Raising Arizona". For years I bought them from someone I met through the internet, until 2008, when I approached the Lebowski Fest about doing them as prizes for their festival in San Francisco. They hooked me up with the alley that was hosting the event, and the bowling alley let me have as many pins as I wanted. I took about 4 carloads full of pins back to my garage. At one time, I had about 500 pins to work with. When I finish the last of those, I don't plan on painting any bowling pins ever again. Not that I don't enjoy it, but I think there will be enough out there by then. People really get a kick out of them, so it makes me happy. I try to relate to others with doing different types of art, this is yet another one of them. My version of folk art. It is hard to say which is my favorite. There are so many great ones. I enjoy mostly doing cohesive sets that relate to each other thematically, such as 1980's Pro Wrestling Superstars. Mostly they are cartoon versions of people, or imaginary characters. Sometimes I make them of someof my animated characters.

Me: I have to ask you, Salvadore Dali would love your work I am guessing. I am also guessing you are a fan of his. What other artists do you like?

Dax: I love Salvador Dali's stuff. Some more of my favorites include: Heironymous Bosch, MC Escher, Max Ernst, Max Beckmann, Frida Kahlo, William Eggleston, Edward Hopper, Basil Wolverton, Paul Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec. Also, I recommend two books for aspiring artists: "The Mission of Art" by Alex Grey and "Concerning the Spiritual in Art" by Wassily Kandinsky.

Me: What do you think of Van Gogh's work?

A: Vincent Van Gogh is my all time favorite artist. As I have yet to find someone that I can talk with/ relate to about art, I talk to him and other artists from history that I admire, and I think that they speak through me at times. I find inspiration from his story and dedication to his vision. I read many books on his life, and his "Letters to Theo" (the compilation of letters that he wrote to his brother, Theo) offer terrific insight into the misunderstood artist.

Me: All your artwork seems so complex, colorful and with a million things going on. How long does it take you do one painting? And do you only work on one at a time?

Years ago I only worked on one at a time. I would sit there for a long time, not doing anything, until the images revealed themselves to me. In the past few years, I work on multiple paintings at once. I go from one to another, exploring different ideas and techniques. I don't want that all of my work should look the same, so I try and explore ideas from different angles so to speak. Animation is the same way, currently I am working on five cartoons at once. By "at once" I don't mean literally, but rather working on multiple projects simultaneously, and not waiting until I finish one before starting another. I think this is how I have managed to be so prolific in painting and animation.

Me: I checked out your merchandise, and was surprised you have your own sneakers. My dad who was a musician used to buy Chuck All-Star high-tops and paint them for stage? Is that what you do? Not for stage, but buy Chuck's and paint on them?

Dax: Do you have any of your Dad's old sneakers? Those sound cool. The ones with my art are a bit different. The company I use to get posters, t-shirts, etc made for my work, also lets anyone upload their own designs to put on sneakers. I got a pair for my wife, and they are her favorite shoes. They came out really nice quality.

Me: Has anybody ever approached you to do an album cover?

Dax: Surprisingly, not really. I did one once, but I don't think the album ever came out.

Me: What about a logo for a blog?

Dax: Are you hinting at something? LOL... I'd be happy to.

Me: Speaking of blogs, I see you have your own blogspot. How often do you update it, and how long have you had it?

Dax: I update it on average probably at least one time a week, sometimes more. I will put paintings there, embed my animation videos, stuff like that. I don't go into much detail, in words, about my own meanings behind the work, as I hope that the artwork can speak for itself.

Me: Dax, are you working on anything presently? I bet you paint something everyday, am I right?

Dax: Yes, I definitely strive to paint every day. Painting is so relaxing for my mind. Currently, I am working on a giant painting in my garage, putting the finishing touches on one narrative animation, and ramping up/ in production on four others. Stay tooned for more.

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile, sir. Go ahead and plug your website, blog, merch site and anything else you wanna. Thanks again, and please come back on the Phile soon. Your work is amazing.

Dax: Thanks again so much for having me. My website: is a digital hub for all of my online pages. Youtube:, Twitter: @daxterpiece, Facebook: You will also find links on my site to the iPhone games, bowling pins, T-Shirts Posters, etc. Thanks again, Jason! I loved your thoughtful questions. Talk to you soon.

Well, that about does it for a second entry this week. The Phile will be back next Sunday with jazz musician Richard Nelson, and then next Monday on July 4th the Phile will be back again on July 4th with the 200th interview, reggae singer Toots from Toots & the Maytals. Yep, you read that right. Freaking cool, right? So, spread the word not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Drawing by Logan Peverett.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pheaturing Michael Lee From The Michael Lee Band

Hot time, summer in the city...

Hello, welcome to the Phile, and it's Summer! I don't know where you live but here in Florida it's been hot. It's so hot, everyone on Facebook updated their status to "moist". It's so hot, the guy in the Mickey costume died of heat stroke. That's not true, by the way. It's so hot, Kim Kardashian came to Florida and lost 6 pounds in her butt. It's so hot, there's now a new show at Disney World called, "The Man with the Ceiling Fan". The worst thing to me about summer is all the reruns on TV. Like today I was watching and they had this old episode where Lindsay Lohan goes to court for probation violations. I think the show was called "The News." I’ve seen that one like 10 times now. I’m tired of it. President Obama and John Boehner played golf against Joe Biden a week ago or so and they won $2. Just 7 trillion more rounds like this and we’ll pay off that deficit in no time. The Florida Marlins named 80-year-old Jack McKeon their new manager. It wasn’t a great start. The first game he had to make four trips to the mound and 12 trips to the bathroom. Krispy Kreme is adding healthier items to its menu, like oatmeal and yogurt. Or, as their customers put it, “Krispy Kreme is selling some new dipping sauces for the donuts.” A new study found that most Americans will have to work into their 70's and 80's to be able to retire. But don’t worry. After that, they’ll have plenty of time to enjoy their golden year. A 51-year old actor named Doug Hutchinson has married a high school student. Yesterday, Doug and 16-year old Mrs. Hutchinson announced that they were married in May. Steven Tyler is suing him for lifestyle infringement. The couple insists there’s nothing strange about their relationship, except for the fact that when he was her age, she was minus 19. Even Hugh Hefner was like, “That’s gross.” Most Americans know Jon Huntsman as “the candidate most Americans don’t know.” Gov. Huntsman’s announcement puts him somewhere between Ron Paul and Count Chocula as the favorite to win the GOP nomination. To no one’s surprise, on the "Today Show" John McCain said he will not be running in 2012, or walking for that matter. He’s just going to get one of those Rascal scooters and drive around. President Obama announced that progress is being made in Afghanistan after the death of Osama bin Laden, which means we’re going to be bringing 10,000 troops home by the end of this year. Here’s what I don’t understand about Afghanistan: With all that opium lying around, you’d think it would be a mellower place. Bristol Palin released her much-anticipated memoir called “Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far.” Bristol said that Levi Johnston cheated on her but then made it up to her by buying designer rain boots. Things are different up there, I guess. If that was my wife and I, guess where those boots would end up. Speaking of the Palin's, Sarah Palin, who I want to interview on the Phile so bad, has abruptly ended her bus tour of the United States. The idea was to drive around the country giving speeches in front of historical landmarks. Reportedly, she’s back in Alaska at home, which is weird because it’s not like her to quit something. Like I said, it's Summer. Did you see the new Summer inspired inspirational poster? It's not the nicest picture. I still let them take it of me. LOL. Take a look.

And have you seen the new Green lantern inspirational poster?

So, kids, it's Sunday, so here is my wife's least favorite pheatures on the Phile.

I mentioned earlier about Obama's speech on Afghanistan, right, well, I don't totally understand what is going on. I was gonna invite my good 'friend', the GOP Chairman to explain it but he would probably use this forum to bad mouth the President. so, I thought I would invite someone different. So, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Phile, Mister Patrick Gaspard Executive Director Democratic National Committee in a new pheature I will call...

Me: Director Gaspard, welcome to the Phile. For those that didn't see the speech or those that don't know, can you tell us what the speech was about?

Patrick: President Obama gave a speech about the future of our military engagement in Afghanistan and the role America should play in the world.

Me: He wants to bring the troops home in a year? That is really cool.

Patrick: Yes, friend, the President talked about his decision to bring thousands of troops home from Afghanistan.

Me: Didn't the President say a few years ago as well he would bring the troops home and never did?

Patrick: In 2009, when President Obama announced the Afghanistan surge from West Point, he said that he would begin the process of bringing troops home by July of this year. Now, that's exactly what will happen. For almost a decade, we've been fighting in Afghanistan, but as of last night, there's a new way forward.

Me: Director, thanks for being on the Phile and clearing that up.

Patrick: Thank you.

And now for some sad news...

Peter Falk
September 16, 1927 - June 23, 2011
"One more thing, St. Peter... Where did you get those sandals?"

Ryan Reynolds is a cocky Top Gun Jr. test pilot with a lot of teeth and a habit of walking away from commitment. That makes him the perfect choice to be the first human member of the Green Lantern Corps, an intergalactic brotherhood of space police who battle evil wherever it lurks. In order to fit into the fold and launch a new Warner Bros./DC franchise, he has to go on a by-the-numbers hero's journey and fight a fear-fueled something called Parallax which looks like a huge floating monkey head surrounded by dreadlocks made of moon tar, smoke and space feces. Blake Lively plays a pilot/aeronautics executive who really just wants to be rescued by a superhero. Way to score there, team of comic book adaptation experts.
I'm only speaking for myself here, but I want superhero movies to involve something more than setting up a marginally interesting premise so that there can be more sequels and snack food tie-ins. I want to feel like something real is at stake. Even if the threat is nothing more than a monster from space, I want that monster from space to be scary enough to create doubt in the hero's ability to fight it. I want the hero to be the right combination of old-school steel and new-school wit. I want female leads directed to give confident swagger instead of vacant stares. Special effects that weren't rush-jobbed to post-production houses that a) are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy from undercutting their price and b) don't provide health benefits to their employees. Maybe an ending that feels resolved instead of one that comes fully loaded with a post-credits bumper full of nefarious sequel bait. I'm rambling. This movie has none of that stuff. Mark Strong and Blake Lively try hard. So does Ryan Reynolds, even though he seems sort of lost as to what kind of man he's supposed to be. The only person who really survives the movie is Peter Sarsgaard, living it up in Elephant Man makeup as the nerd-villain using the Parallax fear-goo to turn himself into a merchant of doom. One of the best parts of the movie, and this counts as a spoiler so if you're opposed to that kind of thing then turn back now... seriously, quit reading... okay you obviously want to know, there's a spectacular and scary helicopter crash sequence that, if it were to happen in reality, would decimate everyone in the vicinity. But that's where Green Lantern comes in, saving the moment with a sincerely goofy Hot Wheels track composed of energy, one that turns the entire death-machine scenario into no-hands theme park ride. GL isn't a dark, overly damaged hero. He's not a mouthy, edgy hero. He's just a straight-up do-gooder. There has to be a way to salvage that type of guy with excitement and joy and make audiences cheer for him. Somebody has to be able to deliver that to a movie screen. Who's going to try next?

The artist currently being pheatured in the P.P.A.G. is Dax Norman, and this is one of his pieces. Dax will be a guest on the Phile in the next entry.

Today's guest is the lead singer for the band The Michael Lee Band whose new EP "Hold On Till Heaven" is available now on iTunes. Please welcome to the band... the one and only Michael Lee.

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

Michael: Hi, Jason. I'm freaking out, but that's normal for me. How are you?

Me: I'm good, and just came back from church and shopping. Anyway, I just downloaded your two songs that are on iTunes "In My Dreams" and "Lost In Touch". Did you write both songs, Michael?

Michael: Ah cool! Thanks! Yes, I did. I wrote "In My Dreams" a few years ago about an unattainable love, and felt a sort of Roy Orbison influence on that one. For "Lost In A Touch," I have an interesting little side-story to that one. Believe it or not, Michael Jackson was my influence... but not because of "Thriller." Right after the King of Pop died, CNN and all the news outlets kept showing the only clip of his rehearsal AEG released, where he's dancing alongside blond guitarist Orianthi on "They Don't Really Care About Us." I was mesmerized by her, to say the least! But the riff to that part of the song was pretty cool, and I had never played it before. So I started playing it, then as I'm sometimes apt to do I started improvising from that and created my own riff that became the heart and soul of 'Lost In A Touch." I built the song around that riff, and the vampire's confessions sort of just came to me from there. It was very organic. And now I actually have my "Hold On Till Heaven" EP on iTunes and a pop single called "Find Me," too.

Me: I have to ask you who is in your band, man. One of the guys has played with The Who, is that right?

Michael: Well, I could say "me, myself, and I" but I don't want you to think I'm schitzo. For recording purposes, I have played a lot of the instruments and laid down various vocal tracks. My co-producer/engineer/drummer is Steve Bundrick, and he's done multiple instruments on there, too. His uncle is "Rabbit," who has been called the "fifth member" of The Who. He has played with them since original drummer/showman Keith Moon was alive. Rabbit contributed keyboard parts on some songs as a 'guest artist,' but technically he is still with The Who and appeared courtesy of them on my album. (They are waiting/hoping Pete Townsend finds some relief for a hearing condition he suffers from so that The Who can resume touring.) Since acronyms are so popular these days, we sometimes go by 'MLB' for "Michael Lee Band," but that 'B' could just as easily stand for 'Bundrick' instead of "band." I have had some other session musicians involved, but I have some other bandmates who have joined in to support live shows... Mike Riley on bass and Lost Boy bandmate Andrew Richardson on keys.

Me: What made you decide to record under The Michael Lee Band and not just Michael Lee?

Michael: I actually do use both, but for one thing I'm more of a "band" kind of guy. I like the creative energy and chemistry that comes from being in a band per se instead of just being a stand alone solo artist. And there are actually some other Michael Lee-named artists out there, though in other genres. Hopefully, we're not all related to Tommy Lee... that wouldn't be good!

You from Texas, is that right? What part?

Michael: Yes, I'm from the Alamo City, San Antonio. I was born and raised there, though I've lived and worked literally all over the world. San Antonio has been called the "heavy metal capitol of the world," and so that explains some of my harder rock tendencies, I guess.

Me: I interviewed a few bands and musicians from Texas and they all seem close knit, and know each other. Do you know and hang out with other singers and bands in Texas a lot? Or do you do your own thing?

Michael: I think all musicians share a bond, even though sometimes they feel a need to be competitive with one another just like athletes, actors, etc. And some are so busy that they never make time to hang out. I try to find a happy medium where I can, and I think when I come across real artists we all try to support one another. It's a mean world out there, after all!

Me: Michael, I am impressed with your resume. Not only are you a musician, but you are also an actor, an Emmy-nominated television producer, director, ghost hunter and an... alleged vampire? What the hell? You don't dress like a vampire, you dress like a rock star. Where did this vampire thing come from?

Michael: Haha... well, I could show you pictures that might change your mind! Vampires get around, and I'm no exception. If I could just get past this "unable to be in daylight" thing I could get soooo much more accomplished!

Me: Are you into vampire stuff? There seems to be a lot of it lately thanks to those Twilight movies.

Michael: Yeah, I have always loved I didn't need the trendiness of it to jump-start me at all. I love the vampire tradition, though. The classics like "Dracula" and even TV shows like "Dark Shadows" and "The Night Stalker" are what I love. The Twilight series broke away from a lot of traditional conventions, and for that, Dracula must be rolling over in his casket!

Me: Okay, let's go through the rest of your resume, my friend. You acted in a film when you were a kid, right? What was the name of that movie?

Michael: I actually don't remember the full title since I was so young... it was a Disney-like Western, and I just remember filming daytime scenes in a school house at like midnight. They used artificial light to make it look like daylight, and I was so fascinated that they could do that. It doesn't take a lot to impress a kid!

Me: Did you want to be an actor before you became a musician?

Michael: Yes, when I was in high school I lettered in drama, speech and journalism, but acting was what I loved. I went off to study Shakespearean acting in London right out of school, and then I went to NYU so I could be right in the thick of things in NYC.

Me: How old were you when you started to play guitar? My son is eleven and is playing a little bit.

Michael: I had a guitar when I was eleven, but I definitely couldn't play it. I just made really bad noise. Some people might say not much has changed... ha! But I started really getting into music at 12 or 13, and that's when I started to pursue it more.

Me: Didn't you record your first song when you were a kid? What was that song, Michael?

Michael: Yes, I did. I was 14 and an aspiring songwriter, so I recorded a song called "Sweet Summer Breeze," but I really couldn't sing it so I got my best friend's sister to sing it in the studio. Unfortunately, she couldn't really sing it, either!

Me: Okay, next on your resume... a television producer? An Emmy-nominated producer to boot! How freaking cool. Did you get to go to the Emmy's? What type of stuff did you produce?

Michael: Yes, I did. It's not really fun though to get all dressed up, see a clip of your work & get excited, but then you don't win. The acting thing kind of took me into television naturally... Of all things, I began with the home shopping channel QVC. I got to travel all over the country helping to produce live shows on location from this big orange bus that was a TV production truck. It was just like being on tour, actually. In fact, QVC stole the tour bus driver from Hootie & The Blowfish, and he became our bus driver. Just like rock -n- roll for that to happen! Anyway, I've been to all 50 states in 50 weeks! Ha! (and actually several times) I was able to eventually build on that experience and find my way out to E! Entertainment Television in LA. Once I started to produce the "E! True Hollywood Story" I knew I had put a dent in the TV world.

Me: How did you react and what did you do when you found out you were nominated?

Oh, I was elated, of course. Emmy's come from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, so it's just like AMPAS with the Oscars. As Miley Cirus on "SNL" would say, "It's pretty cool!"

Me: Do you still do a lot of producing, or is music your main thing now?

Michael: I tried to do both for awhile, staying in the loop as a freelance producer. But I finally realized if you're really serious about one thing, you have to dive in and give it your all. So... Voila! I'm a musician!

Me: You also directed, right? Movies or TV shows?

Michael: I've always aspired to direct films, but that's still on my to-do list. I've actually directed plays and some TV pilots and shows. The actor in me comes out when directing plays because as a wise drama teacher told me once in high school, "When you direct, you get to play ALL the parts."

Me: And ghost hunter? For real? You need your own reality show. "Rocker By Night, Ghost Hunter Another Night, Always A Vampire". Hmmm, that's too long of a title.

Michael: Haha... yes, that's me, Supernatural Jack-of-all-trades! I don't do it full-time, of course. But hey, when the opportunity arises it's a lot of fun. You never know who is on the other side beckoning you! And one of my favorite things are the Ghost Walk tours they have in London. The Jack the Ripper tour is awesome! So fascinating... and enthralling at the same time!

Me: You studied at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, which must of helped you in your career. What was your major there?

Michael: Yes, I was actually there as part of their foreign exchange program, so I was strictly engulfed in Acting, which they do so well! Nobody does it better. They also teach stage combat and fencing, so I dabbled a bit in that, too.

Me: I am from London, but didn't go to school there. I have heard about it, and heard it was a strict school, is that true?

Michael: Wow, how cool. Yes, I think the British are pretty strict about a lot of things. But it's all discipline, really. It's hard to be a rock star in that environment, that's for sure!

Me: You been compared to some really good bands, Michael, like the Muse and even Billy Idol. Who are your influences? Who did you listen to growing up?

Michael: Thanks, I have the utmost respect for Muse. I think they are really genius with what they are doing on many levels. And I've been a Billy Idol fan as long as I can remember. He is the ultimate showman live. The true definition of a rock star. I've actually had so many influences it's hard to single any out... like everyone I've always loved the Beatles and Led Zeppelin, but I even go back to my Texas roots with much admiration for Buddy Holly. Even to this day he doesn't get enough credit for what he gave to rock -n- roll. But my direct influences on the hard rock side have to be Judas Priest, Scorpions, Triumph... and then stretching to a more pop/alternative side with Smashing Pumpkins, Oasis, The Cars, Goo Goo Dolls and The Killers. And I cannot forget to mention Van Halen.

Me: And your songwriting has been compared to one of my favorite bands, the Barenaked Ladies, which was the main reason I wanted to interview you, before I heard your music. Do you write tongue and cheek lyrics on purpose or is that just the way it comes out? What is your favorite lyric you ever wrote?

Michael: Oh, I love BNL, too! "The Old Apartment" is one of my all-time favorite songs. And that one actually has much more serious overtones from their usual cheeky sequences. I think those guys just have a way with fusing humor and the familiar to make their lyrics reach a deeper connection to the audience. I always try to write very organically... letting phrases and dialog come to me rather than force it. But an example of BNL-esque in my lyrics is in the song, "Connection" - "all your heartbreaks and your cornflakes... connect and reveal, depart and appeal." I would say a favorite lyric of mine is in a song I wrote called "Yesterday Is Calling" - "On the road to regret, it's so hard to find the exit. You can go to town, or you can spin your wheels around." That one will actually be on the next album.

Me: You are currently working on your first album called "No More Fairytales". What? You don't like fairytales?

Michael: See, I'm here to dispell myths for all the kids of the world! Haha... I told you I'm a vampire! The album is actually what I first starting working on in 2008. The music business changed so much that people told me don't release a full album, do an EP instead... do just singles. So I've been doing a little of all that. Plus, I realized that I had several themes going and I wanted to solidify the work to make more of a real album, not just a collection of songs. An old school album, if you will. I'm very encouraged by the reception Arcade Fire has attained with their album, "Suburbs." They wanted to do a core theme, and they pulled it off brilliantly. And the fans and critics agree, too. What could be sweeter?

Me: What can we expect from that album, and do you have the same band on it?

Michael: Well, the album was written from the point of view caused by a devastating break up, but it's really about a post-apocalyptic world. It has a lot of fantasy/sci-fi feeling you might find in Muse or Pink Floyd, but it also has the roots of relationships as an undertone. So there's a little something for everyone! I do have some of the tracks with the same core band, and others have a few different folks.

Me: I take it you'll be doing a tour to support it. Hopefully you'll make it down to Florida, Michael. I imagine your performances rock, am I right?

Michael: I certainly hope to, yes! I would love to come down there. I've been all over the Sunshine State, and it's one of my favorites for obvious reasons! I always Rock, Jason.

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile, and I hope to see you all over TV on late night talk shows performing. Why don't you go ahead and plug your website?

Michael: Thanks so much. You must be a mind-reader, too. Well, my official site is and that takes fans into my world, and of course they can join my band newsletter The Rock Room from there, too.

Me: Thanks again, and come back when the album comes out. Will you do that?

Michael: You bet! Thank you, Jason... and of course, Rock On!

Well, that about does it for another entry of the Phile. Thanks to Michael for a great interview and to Director Patrick Gaspard as well. The Phile will be back tomorrow, yes I said tomorrow with Peverett Phile Art Gallery artist Dax Norman and then again next Sunday with jazz musician Rich Nelson. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alliagors bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pheaturing Rachel Brooke

Hello, welcome to the Phile, and Happy Father's Day to all the father's out there. I have been a father for eleven years, and it's the coolest thing ever. My dad was a famous rock star who wrote kick ass songs, and my son has a dad who works at a theme park who writes a lame blog. This is my dad when he was working...

And this is me at work...

So, who is cooler? Father’s Day this year is a bonus year for Arnold Schwarzenegger. Alright, let's talk about what else is going on. I saw the movie Super 8 last week and the whole time I thought it was about a hotel. Boy, was I wrong. The state of Alaska released more than 24,000 emails written by Sarah Palin when she was governor. How does someone that doesn’t read write that much? Apparently, Palin relied on her husband, Todd, for policy advice. You know what they say: Behind every great woman, there’s a snowmobile racer. Derek Jeter is only six hits away from 3,000 base hits. What a coincidence — Anthony Weiner is only six nude photos away from 3,000. Happy belated birthday to Donald Trump. For his birthday party, they played “Pin everything on Obama.” So, did you watch the Republican debate? Newt Gingrich was so impressed with Michele Bachmann at the Republican debate that he gave her a $200,000 gift certificate for Tiffany’s. At the first Republican presidential debate, seven candidates got together to agree on how much they dislike the government they would like to run. Mitt Romney is the front runner at this point, mostly because he looks like the guy they would cast as the president in a disaster movie. Hugh Hefner’s wedding has been called off. I guess he didn’t want to be tied down with one woman for the rest of his weeks. Kim Kardashian and her fiancĂ©’s wedding registry leaked online. Since they’re millionaires, they’ve asked that instead of gifts, the guests donate to local charities. Just kidding, they want a $1,600 silver-plated coffee pot. Kim Kardashian’s wedding might single-handedly bring us out of this recession. A recent study found that today’s fathers spend twice as much time with their kids as fathers in 1960. Meanwhile, the study found that Arnold Schwarzenegger spends time with twice as many kids as he did three weeks ago. The Green Lantern movie called Green Lantern came out Friday and there's already an inspirational poster tie in. And here it is.

So, there's a new Winnie the Pooh movie coming out, and I love the new premise. If you don't know what it is, I have it right here. This is so cool.

It's Sunday, so you know what that means. It's time for another...

And now for some sad news...

Clarence Clemons
January 11, 1942 - June 18, 2011
That blows.

In small-town Ohio, 1979, six kids witness a horrific train accident while shooting a homemade zombie movie. Turns out the train is military and carrying something classified, angry and determined to escape. As the town turns upside-down and the kids confront the scary secret, they... nope, that's all you get. The trailers have done an admirable job of keeping this movie's mysteries to itself instead of bonking you over the head with them just to lure you into the theater. I'm not going to wreck it. It's the most satisfying summer movie so far this year. But go see it now before someone else ruins it for you. This is not a Steven Spielberg film but you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd been actually transported back to 1979 when he was at the height of his coolness powers. So yeah, complain about that if you want, that writer-director J.J. Abrams is simply ripping off the master of kids-plus-aliens-plus-adventure-plus-awe. Or you could think of it in musical terms. Great new pop songs are never truly "original." They tie together strands of existing material, figure out a way to recycle a classic sound, beloved hook or chord progression, remix it into a new shape and thrill you all over again. And that's this movie. Unlike other old ideas in new packages, it flying-bikes its way over the stunted-growth trap that too often leaves you stuck in the guilty zone of the "guilty pleasure" summer movie. Instead it takes you on a trip to childhood excitement and, when it's time to leave, is mature enough to know it. And yes, I will be buying it when it comes out on Blu-ray. From 1 to 10, it gets a 10.

The first artist to be pheatured in the P.P.A.G. is Dax Norman. Here is another one of his pieces, and Dax will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

Today's guest is a singer, songwriter from Michigan who has been described as a badass... with a heart made of whiskey. Her new album "Down In the Barnyard" is now available on iTunes and she'll be appearing next at the Muddy Roots Music Festival in Cookeville, Tennessee on September 2nd. Please welcome to the Phile... Rachel Brooke.

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

Rachel: I am doing fine.

Me: So, who is this Lonesome Wyatt character you record with? Have you heard of Lonesome Dave?

Rachel: Lonesome Wyatt is also in a band called Those Poor Bastards. I dont know a Lonesome Dave. ; )

Me: Lonesome Dave was my dad. Anyway, I downloaded your new album "Down In the Barnyard" off from iTunes. And I also downloaded "Bitter Harvest"the album you did with Lonesome Wyatt. Do you like working with someone else better then doing your own thing?

Rachel: I like collaborating with other people because it's fun.

Me: Have you and Wyatt been friends for long?

Rachel: Wyatt and I have been friends for about a year.

Me: Do you both sit down and write together?

Rachel: We each wrote our own songs and then sang/played on each others. But we wrote the songs initially by ourselves.

Me: Rachel, I like all your albums. On your first one did you play with anybody or do everything yourself?

Rachel: On my first album I kept it simple. I did have a few people play on a few different songs. my father played banjo, my brother played a little guitar and a friend of mine, Wayne Sands, also played a little on it.

Me: Is your next project gonna be with Wyatt again?

Rachel: My next project will most likely be my next CD. I'm not sure what I'm calling it yet, but I have a few ideas.

Me: Let's talk about Michigan where you are from. Where on the hand?

Rachel: I'm from Northern Michigan. The middle of the middle finger. :)

Me: Do you have a big following there?

Rachel: I don't have a big following, no. I have a few fans, but mostly it's just my friends who like me. I don't know why. There are a lot of people in Northern Michigan who play music, so I don't stand out too much up here.

Me: I like your retro feel, Rachel. Who are your influences?

Rachel: My influences are Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Brian Wilson, and a bunch more.

Me: Okay, I have to say this... you are very attractive, but you gotta quit smoking.

Rachel: I don't really smoke. I don;t consider myself a real smoker. I smoke when I drive, and I smoke when I drink. But it's not a good habit, I know.

Me: Rachel, thanks for doing this interview. Anything you wanna tell the Phile readers before you go? Come back on the Phile soon when your next CD comes out. Take care, Rachel.

Rachel: Thanks for the interview!!! Thanks for listening! Come out to a show. See you there. Look at my website at

Well, that wasn't the deepest interview ever, but thanks to Rachel for being on the Phile. I have to get this Lonesome Wyatt guy here sometime. The Phile will be back next Sunday with Michael Lee, from the Michael Lee Band. Now we are going to church, then Tijuana Flats as dad's eat free there today. Yippee! So, until next week, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pheaturing Phaxanation and The Dust Kickers

Hello, how are you? Welcome to another entry of the Peverett Phile, everybody. So, of course I have to open up with Weiner jokes. Let's just get them out of the way, okay. If you haven't heard, it’s been a bad day for Congressman Anthony Weiner. Weiner admitted to sending underpants photos of himself. It’s a huge political scandal. Arnold Schwarzenegger even called Weiner to say, “Thank you.” Weiner admitted to sending inappropriate messages to several women via Twitter, text, email, and Facebook. I think the lesson here is that if you’re going to send explicit pictures of yourself, send them through MySpace, where no one will notice. Despite the scandal, Weiner will not resign, saying he hasn’t done anything illegal and this is not the most embarrassing photo of him that has ever surfaced. That would be his senior portrait from high school. Weiner’s high school portrait was taken at one of the rare moments when he wasn’t being stuffed into the garbage can. Let's talk about something else. A woman here in Florida called 911 after she found a bear swimming in her backyard jacuzzi. That’s right, there was a bear in the water. Or as Sarah Palin calls that, “soup.” Snooki from “Jersey Shore” has broken up with her boyfriend of eight months. If that drunken tangerine little angel can’t find love, what hope is there for the rest of us? The Oxford English Dictionary announced which new words will be included in the next edition. It’s like when they announce the line-up for “Dancing With the Stars,” but for people who can read. This just in: Weiner has sent other pictures as well, and for some reason I have a copy. He must be a fan of the Phile. Here is a brand new Weiner photo, kids.

Man, that is wrong. I am so sorry about that photo, but, man, his weiner is strong. So, this past weekend it was the last weekend of Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios... the greatest theme park to work at ever! I have to show you a new Star Wars themed inspirational poster that came out.

And did you know they even have Star Wars themed yoga. Man, Lucas thinks of everything. Check this out.

Okay, let's talk seriously for a minute. With all this talk this past week about Congressman Weiner, the Democrats are not looking good. I think they should be put into a positive light, as the Democrats recently are saving lots of jobs. So, I thought I would invite the Phile's "friend", and I use that term lightly, Reince Priebus, RNC Chairman to answer some questions. even he can't say anything bad about the Democrats right now, can he? So, once again, it's time to...

Me: Hello, Chairman Priebus, welcome back to the Phile. The Democrats are saving lots of jobs right now, and even you can't deny that, right?

Reince: You say jobs are being saved, but millions of Americans are worried about 9.1% unemployment and a sputtering economy.

Me: You don't think the Democrats are concerned and trying to save the jobs?

Reince: The Democrat leadership in Washington are more concerned about saving the jobs of disgraced Democrat members of Congress.

Me: I disagree, Chairman, give me an example.

Reince: Well, friend, the latest example of the Democrats' "jobs we saved" charade is Representative Anthony Weiner. Just like with Congressmen William Jefferson ($80k in the freezer) and Charlie Rangel (failure to pay taxes), Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat leaders' only Jobs Plan is to save their own jobs.

Me: Chairman, Weiner's actions weren't that bad.

Reince: Congressman Weiner's actions and deception are unacceptable and he should resign.

Me: There has to be an investigation first, right?

Reince: We do not need an investigation to know he lied and acted inappropriately, we need a resignation. Either Leader Pelosi and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz believe members of Congress are held to a different set of standards or they believe these actions demand his resignation.

Me: So, do you think the Republican National Committee could help with the job situation?

Reince: The RNC is leading the charge to bring new conservative leaders to our nation's capital who are focused on job creation and economic growth, but we need the help of every conservative grassroots leader to succeed. Friend, Nancy Pelosi and Democrat leaders willfully neglect to hold their members accountable for their actions, or to the American people, in order to save their own jobs.

Me: Once again, Chairman, what do you and the RNC hope to do?

Reince: "Drain the swamp" in Washington of deceitful Democrats.

Me: There you go, thanks to Chairman Priebus, for being so negative. I think the Democrats are not doing such a bad job. What do you think? Now, let's talk about something fun, like a movie review on a kids movie.

When you're the Dragon Warrior, someone's always coming along to challenge you with their unstoppable fighting technique. And so it is with Po, this time around facing a particularly evil, slow-burning peacock who won't be content until he's conquered China and eradicated all kung fu from the land. With the help of his lighting-fast animal buddies The Furious Five, Po has to embark on another hero's journey (apparently the first one didn't fully take, so call it a do-over) and make the bad bird taste his panda wrath. It's a Hollywood rule that the sequel involves some re-telling of the first story. We'd all be a lot better off if that weren't the case, but it is so there you go. Po has to find the warrior within all over again even if you didn't especially need to see him do that. But the mark of a cool sequel worth watching and recommending comes in the surprises that pop up along the old, familiar way. Without sacrificing the original's humor, Po's bumbling fatness is still a gentle joke and the dialogue accounts for a lot of the comedy rather than childlike bonks to the skull... it cranks up the martial arts action and delivers a big visual punch. It also takes you deeper into Po's past and his need to know where he comes from without getting too overwrought and syrupy about it. And the fact that I could write that last sentence without cringing is evidence that the movie pulls that off really well. Let the inevitable third chapter start production. In fact, just cancel that next Ice Age movie and put all those people to work on it instead. Jack Black also should make only animated features or strangely serious black comedies from now on. Po is his coolest character and his most emotionally connected, which I think has something to do with his inability to ditch the crazy-eyes when he's involved in live-action comedy. And mostly I just never want to watch something like Gulliver's Travels ever again. And I have to mention Gary Oldman. The cartoon villain with the snooty, fey British accent is way past its sell-by date. In fact, it's now officially offensive to all snooty-and-fey-voiced British guys in the world. But Oldman takes this potential for irritation and turns down the volume in a way that paradoxically amps up how evil and complex his character actually is. And his character is, I need to remind you, a peacock. That's acting. I don't know if I will buy it when it comes out on Blu-ray as we don't have the first, unless they release all the films together in a pack. And yes, there is gonna be a third movie.

Dax Norman is the current artist to be pheatured in the P.P.A.G. and this is one of his pieces.

Dax will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

Todays guests are the members of a three piece indie rock band from California. Their 12 inch EP on Robot Maintenance Records, "The Future's Coming" is now out, but on vinyl. They will be next appearing tomorrow at The Prospector in Long Beach, CA. Please welcome to the Phile... Adrien Parker, Daniel Huizar and Enrique Poveda from Phaxanation and The Dust Kickers.

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

Adrien: We’re good. We literally just got through playing this in-store performance at Burger Records in Fullerton, CA. It was a lot of fun!

Me: I was searching the web and discovered you guys but I don't know how I found you. Anyway, I was drawn to your band's name: Phaxanation and the Dust Kickers. Brilliant. Anybody who uses Ph is cool with me. Where did the band name come from?

Adrien: Well, Phaxanation was a screen-name I had when I was younger. It was just some made up name I thought was cool because it used a “ph” as opposed to an “f.” It only seemed natural to use it when we started the band due to how unique it was.

Enrique: Our friend Rick came up with the Dust Kickers portion of the name for Daniel and myself.

Me: Which one of you is Phaxanation?

Adrien: I guess that’s me… I taught myself how to play drums and guitar at a really young age. Then my first real band was called Bluefields. It was a two piece inspired by the Black Keys. I played guitar and I had to teach the drummer how to play drums. Then that drummer left the band and I figured I would continue making music on my own as “Phaxanation.” I played all of the instruments. Daniel and Enriquecame along, and we became Phaxanation & the Dust Kickers!

Me: A three piece band is always pretty cool. Is that how the band was formed and decided?

Daniel: Well, Adrien originally started writing songs on his own and Enrique and I started off as live performers for him. But after a few shows we added on as actual band members and then we started writing new material with each of us creating our own parts instead of working off what Adrien had originally wrote.

Adrien: Enrique, Daniel, and I have been really good friends since we were all in high school. That’s how I met them actually. Back then, I occasionally played drums for a band that Daniel played guitar in. And Enrique was always in and out of bands playing drums, and so when I finally decided I wanted to put together a permanent band, I knew which two guys were perfect for the spot.

Me: Where in California are you guys located?

Enrique: Poormona.

Me: Do you get to tour the rest of America?

Enrique: Only Europe, Asia, and South America…. Nah just kidding. Hopfully one day. We plan to set up a mini US tour next yearish.

Me: I looked for you guys on iTunes but then found out your music is only available on vinyl. Y'know, this is 2011. Whose idea was to only release your music on vinyl?

Adrien: Probably my best and worst idea. I love the vinyl format for music and I think it makes listening to the music a lot more personable than clicking something on your iPod or listening to an mp3. Plus, I’ve always collected vinyl records as a hobby, and so when it came time to put my own music out, I picked vinyl as a format because I loved it so much, and I figured it would get people more involved with the music. But it turns out, hardly anyone owns a record player anymore and we had to include burned CD’s of all of the songs with the record to convince anyone to purchase them.

Me: Are you gonna release your music to download in the future? Or at least sell CD's?

Enrique: We released a compilation CD with our label titled “Pomona and Friends 2011”. It’s a free digital download available at With our upcoming LP we will be putting it out in both vinyl and CD formats, as well as a digital copy available for purchase online.

Me: Who are your influences musically, and have you opened for anybody the band looks up to?

Adrien: I’m a huge fan of psychedelic indie-rockbands like Darker My Love, Crystal Antlers, and Innaway. And then I think the Black Keys and Led Zeppelin are two bands the three of us are really into.

Enrique: Totally Michael.

Me: You fans of the band Cake I see. They are one of my all time favorites.

Enrique: Yeah, that’s not a question but we do love CAKE!

Adrien: Cake was the first band I had ever seen live in concert. Arguably, they’re the band that got me into music in the first place. I love John McCrea’s sense of cynicism. He’s not afraid to say what he feels and he’s got this really dry sense of humor and I feel like that shows up a lot in my lyrics as well.

Me: Okay, as I said, your music is only available on vinyl and so far you released an EP called "The Future's Coming". When did that record come out?

Adrien: That came out in late 2009.

Me: And this year you are releasing your second EP called "Now & Then". How is the first release gonnabe different from the second release?

Daniel: Well like I said earlier, originally Adrien started making the music so for the first EP Adrien wrote and recorded everything, but on this new EP we all wrote and recorded our own parts. I also feel the songs on this EP have matured from the previous songs on the last EP. We really tried hard and experimented with new sounds on this new EP.

Adrien: To expand on that, I had released the first record after Daniel and Enrique had been playing live with me for some time, but on the record I did everything myself. It often creates some confusion. But when it really comes down to it, that first record was something I just needed to do. It helped me get past some low times in my life and I feel like it helped me grow as a person and get past a lot of things, but I can’t emphasize how glad I am that Daniel and Enrique are part of my band now. I would have never wanted to continue doing this on my own. I do everything that I can to make sure Daniel and Enrique get their part because a lot of people tend to focus on Phaxanation as just being me when this is a group effort now.

Me: I have to ask you about your record label, Robot Maintenance Records. Who are your label mates? Anybody else that might be interested in being interviewed for the Phile?

Enrique: RMR was started by Adrien, however our collective of Pomona bands kinda run the whole thing together. I am beginning to start promoting and booking shows for our bands. I decided it would be good for us and our friends from other surrounding areas to create the compilation of all of our bands to promote ourselves, so people who like one band get a chance to hear us all. All the bands are working on finishing their albums and we will be having many release shows this summer. Any of the Pomona RMR bands would most likely be happy to be interviewed.

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile. Go ahead and plug your website and tell the readers where they can purchase your records... and a record player. Please come back when "Now and Then" is released. Keep rocking.

Adrien,, Thanks so much for having us! Anyone native to Southern California could purchase our records in independent record shops, like Amoeba Music, Rhino Records, Burger Records, Glasshouse Record Store, Origami Vinyl, Mad Platter Records.

Enrique: And anyone who doesn’t live in Californiacan just contact us and we’d be more than happy to hook people up with our music via mail or downloads or whatever works best for them.

Well, that about does it for another entry. Thanks to Chairman Priebus I think, for once again not being supportive fully answering my questions. He is a politician after all. And thanks to Adrien, Enrique and Daniel from Phaxanation and The Dust Kickers or a great interview. The Phile will be back next Sunday, on Father's Day with singer Rachel Brooke. Until then, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.