Hey ho, Jason Peverett here. Welcome to a Tuesday entry of the Phile. Yeah, an extra entry for your pleasure. This is the last entry of the summer this year as well. I hope it was a good one. Mitt Romney says if he is elected he will create 12 million new jobs in his first year in office... and that's just people to do his taxes. At a campaign stop in Virginia, Joe Biden said he is such a NASCAR fan, he said, "I'd trade being vice president in a heartbeat for winning Daytona." To which President Obama said, "Deal!" The Mars rover Curiosity has sent back images of some odd things on the surface of Mars, and some people think they could be UFOs. Here's my question. If we're on the surface of Mars, aren't we the UFO? According to a new study, eating egg yolks after the age of 40 is as bad for you as smoking. Let me tell you something. If you are stupid enough to eat a 40-year-old egg yolk, you get what you deserve. Remind me the story of how I once ate a 30 year old jar of pickled eggs and got real sick. Hey, kids, here's a joke... what does Mitt Romney and Hurricane Isaac have in common? They can both change directions at any moment. Rest assured, no matter how high those winds get, not a single hair on Romney's or Paul Ryan's head will move. They have guaranteed that. It’s now being reported that Joe Biden will go to the Republican convention to try to cause problems for Mitt Romney. Then after that, he will go to the Democratic convention where he will definitely cause problems for President Obama. Do you kids like basketball? There's no bigger star in basketball today than LeBron James. Nike gets together with LeBron James and they designed a new shoe for $315. Nike had an explanation for the reason these shoes are so expensive. They said the kids in China making the shoes are demanding two cents a day now. They're the perfect shoes for when you're walking away from Cleveland. Kelly Ripa has hired a co-host, and it's Michael Strahan. They had about 90 potential candidates, and Strahan was only one to release 10 years of his tax records. How about Lance Armstrong? After refusing to go to arbitration over the doping allegations, he’s lost everything. Seven titles were taken away. He had to give back his Olympic medal. He had to give back the money he won. Those are drastic cuts. I didn’t even know he worked for Comcast. Do you know who the greatest cyclist of all time is now? I don’t know, nobody does. He was the only guy I ever knew. According to politico.com, Donald Trump will have a surprise role on the first day of the Republican convention today. He will be there to tell Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, "You're fired." According to a new poll, Mitt Romney is at zero percent among African Americans. Here’s the sad part: That’s up 5 percent from last week. Herman Cain was in Tampa. When a reporter asked him if Isaac reminded him of Katrina, he said, “I never even met the woman.” Well, here on the Phile, I like to keep you readers informed... so here is the latest on Isaac.
It's screwing Louisiana. Last week Jerry Nelson who played the Count as well as other Muppet characters passed away. I made a comment as I always do when someone famous passed away... I think I said he was down for the count. Anyway, some of you readers didn't like that. So, I thought I would post this today...
Is that better? Well, kids pretty much went back to school except those kids like my son who is home schooled. I am glad he is, students are a lot more strange now than when I was a kid.
Well, Isaac is gone from Florida and there's already posters up for sale...
On Monday's Phile I mentioned that Prince Harry isn't the only Royal that likes to play games naked. You heard about him being photograph playing billiards or something. Well, this type of thing really isn’t that unusual in the Royal family. Check this out.
Man, that turned me on. Alright, well, I think it's time for a brand new pheature on the Phile. I will call it...
Yep, it is what it is. I will show you a picture, you will look at it closely and spot something odd about it. Then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the answer. Here we go...
There, do you see it?
Hmpph. I have to say I was going to use the normal Democrat banner when I pheature a Democratic politician but they want me to use this one now. Oh, well. Anyway, a friend of the Phile wanted to come on and talk about the Republican convention in Tampa. So, please welcome back to the Phile, the campaign manager for Barack Obama... Jim Messina.
Me: Hello, Jim, welcome back to the Phile. I was told you wanted to come on here and other blogs to talk about what the Republicans won't mention at the convention, is that right?
Jim: Hello, Jason. Yes, that is right. Republicans are taking the podium at their convention today, and millions of people will start paying attention to this race for the first time.
Me: Okay, so, what is the message they will hear? Tell us that first.
Jim: The message they'll hear will mirror the distortions Governor Romney has based his entire campaign on... amplified 10,000 times.
Me: Like what?
Jim: They're going to talk about the economy, but they won't mention that their $5 trillion plan gives big tax breaks to people who don't need them.
Me: Will they mention Medicare?
Jim: Yes, but they won't mention their plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system that could cost seniors up to $6,400 more per year.
Me: What else?
Jim: They'll talk a lot about strengthening the middle class, when their plan is to do the opposite: repeal Obamacare, cut Pell Grant scholarships and Head Start funding, and raise taxes on the average family.
Me: They are real differences between Romney and Obama is what you are saying...
Jim: And important differences... and we're going to keep pointing them out.
Me: But you've been outraised three months in a row. That's not good, Jim.
Jim: No, and now we're getting outspent on the air by as much as three to one in some battleground states. The other side is banking on their TV ads to be louder than any organizer we've got on the phones and on folks' doorsteps.
Me: That's what you're're fighting this week.
Jim: Jason, we need to be ready.
Me: So, what is this week going to tell you?
Jim: This week is going to remind us all that we're on the team that fights for everyone, not just those at the top. We're the campaign that's having an honest debate about the issues that matter to American families.
Me: Jim, thanks for your time, I will talk to you soon.
Jim: Thanks, Jason.
This is so freaking cool, as I keep on saying. The 23rd artist in the P.P.A.G. is also a member of one of my favorite bands ever... Barenaked Ladies. He's Kevin Hearn and this is one of his pieces.
Kevin will be a guest on the Phile in two weeks and I cannot wait. Shit, the power just went out, there's a big storm out there, and we lost power for a second. Lemme get this over before we lose power again.
Today's guest is a singer-songwriter known for his brand of roots rock, poetic lyrics and Americana sentiments. His album "Maxim Ludwig & The Santa Fe 7" is now available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Maxim Ludwig.
Me: Hello, Maxim, I am a huge fan ever since I heard your music. How are you?
Maxim: Well, thank you very much. I'm doing alright.
Me: You have a pretty impressive beard, sir. How long have you been growing it, and do you ever cut it?
Maxim: It comes and goes. It depends on the weather. Or whether or not I'm flying.
Me: I also love your name. It's your real name, right?
Maxim: Yeah, I got stuck with a mouthful. The full name is Maxim Ernst Alexander Ludwig. I was named after the Dadaist, Max Ernst. With a name like mine, yer either a musician or a philosopher. Philosophy often changes with scientific and technological advances. Music is never wrong. It's the best of the wines.
Me: Let's talk about your band The Santa Fe Seven. Are they all from Santa Fe, and are there really seven of them? That's a big band to tour with.
Maxim: Actually, none of 'em are from Santa Fe. And there are three of them. They make enough sound to be seven. When coming up with the name of the band, I wasn't interested in having a permanent band. I was against monogamy in all forms. "A Hard Day's Night" dreams were dead in me. If I had a name that sounded like what I wanted to hear, maybe those guys would come to me.
Me: Okay, then, are you from Santa Fe?
Maxim: No. So far, I've lived in New York, Los Angeles, and Alsfeld, Germany. I've always loved the mythology and iconography of New Mexico. Billy the Kid and Pecos Bill in particular. In works of art, often the idea of the place serves as a substitute for the factual place. There are two narrative poems called "The Collected Works of Billy the Kid" by Michael Ondaatje and "Gunslinger" by Ed Dorn that really captured the idea of that place.
Me: What part of New York are you from, Maxim? I lived on Long Island for ten years, and now live in Florida. Have you ever played down here?
Maxim: I'm originally from New York City. But we moved. When I went to school in upstate New York, I used to play for the kids, but I moved back to Los Angeles after a year. We've never played in Florida, but that's where Jorge (Balbi-drummer and percussionist) went to college.
Me: Where and how did you round up the band?
Maxim: At some point, I set out to find a balance between the Stray Gators and Booker T. & the MGs. I teamed up with a staple of the mid-west music scene, pedal steel player and guitarist Chris Vos from Wisconsin, Los Angeles country music veteran and bassist Ben Reddell from Texas, and fresh from the Miami college rock world, drummer and percussionist Jorge Balbi from Peru. Together they make a hard, reckless, dust-laden sound. Pure soldiers. They can play, drink, and dance with the best of them. They're the kind of guys who love girl groups as much as murder ballads and aren't afraid to combine both.
Me: Let's talk about your self-titled album which I purchased off from iTunes. It's well done, and brilliant. Did it take you a long time to record it and write the songs, Maxim?
Maxim: It's been a while since the first album's release, so it's nice to hear it's held up. We recorded the half of the record in the Hudson Valley and the other half in Los Angeles. The core of the two bands (the drums, bass, guitar, lap steel, keyboards, and lead vocal) were done live. The great part of that process was being able to pick each musician for each song. I knew that one guy was more of an angular player and more emotive for this song or one girl had a sexier voice and was more effective for that song. It was like being a painter and having an unlimited amount of shades of paint to choose from. The songs for the first album were mostly written around the dawn of my teenage years.
Me: You play quite a few instruments I take it. You are not that old, man. When did you start to play and write?
Maxim: I started with the drums and moved quickly to harmonica. I listened to Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Junior Wells, and James Cotton. I wanted more than anything to be part of the Chicago blues scene. I started playing guitar when I was eleven or twelve. I wrote some songs here and there, but never really was interested in the words. I was much more into the melody. I figured that's what you go away humming. I met a poet named Todd Baron who taught at my high school and he turned me on to reading. I wrote lots of songs when I was in high school, but they were really just experiments. I finally became obsessed with the idea of the "song" when I first heard Hank Williams. That's when I became aware of the songwriter as a force. There are personalities in songwriting and then there are the pure songwriters like Mickey Newbury and Vic Chesnutt.
Me: Your music reminds me a little of some of my favorite artists... Springsteen, Dylan, John Wesley Harding, John Hiatt. Were you influenced by these performers growing up?
Maxim: I don't think you can be a songwriter and not be influenced by Dylan. The great thing about Dylan, like Tom Waits, is that his music is just as beautiful and honest as it was when he was in his twenties. Dylan's Christmas album is just as good as the Spector Christmas album. One person who is always sadly left out when addressing Americana is the Monkees' Michael Nesmith. His first two albums with the First National Band are revolutionary.
Me: You used to play in a blues band, right? My dad was in a blues band as well. Your parents must've really raised you right getting you into some cool music.
Maxim: The bands were more or less older guys playing electric blues and classic rock covers in my dad's hometown. I used to sit in with them when I was around town. You haven't heard "Won't Get Fooled Again" till you've heard with a thick German accent. I would get beer when I was a kid that way. I'm not sure they got me into the music I'm into today. It was mainly a process of discovery. I always try and go one step back. If there's a movie I love, I try and find out the inspirations of that director. Nowadays, on iTunes, you've got algorithms that suggest what you would like. I spent lots of time reading interviews and essays on my favorite music to find where it came from.
Me: Speaking of parents and fathers, your dad had a very interesting job, didn't he, Maxim? Tell the readers what he did.
Maxim: He's a photojournalist who photographs mainly victims of government, pollution, the economy, and oppression.
Me: He must of told you some crazy stories I am guessing. What do your parents thinking of your music?
Maxim: When I was growing up, I thought my name was Turn That Down.
Me: LOL. I thought mine was Lazy Git. Maxim, I read that you are the new hardest working man in the music business, or something like that. Do you think that's true?
Maxim: I don't know about that. But in a time where a lot of people are unemployed, I can say that I am fully employed with making music. All the guys in this band know that we are lucky to first off, have a job, and secondly, love that job. So yeah, we take our job and work hard. And we live for all of it. The arranging, the recording, the live show. If we're not sweating up there, we're not doing our job right.
Me: I hope all goes well for you, my friend, and I hope in years time my son and other son's and daughters could listen to you like our generation was turned on by other greats. I feel you have a long career ahead of you. What's next in your near future? Are you already planning another album?
Maxim: Thank you so much, man. I hope yer right. We just demoed eleven new tunes that I hope to be unveiling soon. Actually, if you sign up for our mailing list on our website (maximludwig.com), you can get free downloads of some of the tunes. Right now we're very focused on getting ready for SXSW next year.
Me: Maxim, man, go ahead and plug your website again and anything else you want. All the best, sir.
Maxim: Thanks, man. Had a blast answering these. To keep up to date with us, just go to maximludwig.com and if your in Texas, come to SXSW next year.
Well, that about does it for this extra entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Jim Messina and of course Maxim Ludwig. The Phile will be back on Sunday with Mosey West and then on Monday Martin Belmont from Ducks Deluxe. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.