Monday, October 29, 2012

Pheaturing Josh Mintz From Friend Slash Lover

Hello, kids, welcome to a Monday entry of the Phile. How are you? I actually had two hours sleep last night, things are getting better.  So, my friends and readers in the New York area, I hope things are okay. I heard on TV there's another storm following Sandy singing the sun will rise, tomorrow, so bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow... see, thing's are not bad. Wait, it's the sun will shine, not rise, right? It's the Oxy talking.  So, what do Hurricane Sandy and Snooki have in common? They are both headed to the Jersey shore with plans to blow everyone in a 50 mile radius.  Here's a positive story about France... French President Francois Hollande has promised to ban schools from assigning homework. Seriously? That’s not a European president’s platform... that was my 8th grade student council platform. “I’m gonna do away with homework, and put RC Cola back in all the vending machines!”  As part of a new “transparency series,” McDonald’s is releasing videos that show how its food is made. It involves horses and bayonets.  I have to mention this before I forget, as I forgot yesterday... last Tuesday it was our 15th wedding anniversary. A decade and a half for me, a lifetime ago for her. I spent the day in bed complaining I wasn't getting enough. Morphine, not sex. I was woken that morning by a smooth voice saying, "Good morning, my dear." It wasn't my wife, it was Anthony, the nurse's assistant.  A source close to Mitt Romney revealed that he gets a spray tan before major campaign events. I guess that explains his new Secret Service code name: "The Mittuation." A new poll found that 59 percent of Americans would rather eat a burger with President Obama while only 41 percent would eat one with Mitt Romney. While most Americans don’t care who they’re with, as long as they get that burger.  While he was at a diner this week in Ohio, a man told Joe Biden that he’s a good guy but a bad vice president. Which gets even worse when you hear that was the only thing President Obama said the entire lunch.   After months of dating, this week Taylor Swift broke up with her boyfriend, Conor Kennedy. And when Kennedy asked if they were ever getting back together, Taylor just handed him an iPod and said, “Play track six.”  Last night, a documentary about Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal aired exclusively on CNN. Armstrong was like, “Phew... thank God no one’s going to see it.”  While we were away and I was in hospital Apple released the new iPad mini. Right after that they released an ad on what their next product will be.

Last week we were in South Carolina, and I noticed they get a lot of thing's backwards there.

So, did you see T-Mobile's new ad? It made me laugh.

Okay, so as you know I had a stupid accident and broke my shoulder bone in three places. It could've been worse though. Eleven-year-old Chinese schoolboy Liu Cheong had a brush with death when his friend shot him in the head with a 16-inch arrow, according to numerous international media reports. The arrow entered his skull through the eye socket and lodged in the back of his head. Somehow, the boy was spared a fatal brain injury.

Logan wants a bow and arrow set, can you see this happening to me?  Man, I am so itchy, I need my hair washed. Actually I was thinking of shaving it all off? What do you think? Email me at if I should shave it off. And now it's time for...

The penis cake looks more delicious than the horse cake. Just saying. Well, kids, sit back because it's...

Random thought of the day... 15 to 25 foot waves on the south shore and I'm not surfing because I can't get to the beach? Kind of like leaving a pile of Snickers bars in front of a stoned diabetic. This blows! A couple of state troopers young enough to be my sons, just 86ed my plans to go surfing. No sense of humor... No sense of adventure... I have Van Halen t-shirts older than these two. So pissed right now! Hope everyone's ready for Sandy. Be safe.

The 21st book to be pheatured in the Phile's book club is...

Vic will be a guest on the Phile this Saturday.

Today's pheatured guest is the lead singer and founder of the band Friend Slash Lover whose latest EP "The Grey Area" is available on iTunes right now. Please welcome to the Phile... Josh Mintz.

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

Josh: Thanks for having me. I'm doing well. Been busy makin lots of videos with my iPhone. Ha.

Me: At first before I saw you had a band, I thought you were one of those solo acts who go by a 'band' name. I interviewed so many like that, but Friend Slash Lover is a band, right?

Josh: Yes! And no... But yes! I tend to drive things and write the initial song ideas on acoustic guitar, but then I audition the ideas to the band and each member reacts to it and puts their stamp on it. They are world-class musicians, so I'd be stupid not to honor their input.

Me: Who is in the band with you?

Josh: Frank Day (bass), Jake Hayden (drums and vocal harmonies), Greg Pajer (guitars). Jake created all the vocal harmonies on the record. He's got music in his bones...

Me: Don't you have a doctor in the band with you, Josh?

Josh: There is a doctor in the band. Frank kinda hates that I always mention it, but he's an emergency physician and an all-around bad ass.

Me: Where did the name Friend Slash Lover come from?

Josh: It just popped into my head one day, as phrases tend to do (which is why I always have to carry a notebook with me). What really struck me was the shift in meaning that occurred when I spelled out the “slash.”

Me: Anybody ever call it FSL? What about Friend/Lover?

Josh: We call it FSL out of laziness and now that has become our logo and stuff. I hate when people put a slash instead of spelling it out.

Me: If I was in a band it'll be called Pal Axl Slacker. That's so stupid. Did you have any other band names you were gonna use?

Josh: Haha, oh yea, I pitched names at Frank for about 6 months! I have a list a mile long. Lemme think... There were three times when I thought we had settled on a name, so I went and designed logos and printed stickers and t-shirts. I doubt Frank ever realized how much work I was doing! Cartoon Riot was one that I made cool stencils for. Zero K was too nerdy... and I made several Switch stickers and shirts and wound up using them for my creative agency that I do together with my best friend. Switch makes all the graphics and videos for the band.

Me: Where are you from, Josh?

Josh: Originally, CT, but I moved to San Diego when I was in high school. 

Me: What part of Connecticut?

Josh: All the “burys.” Middlebury, Southbury, Woodbury, plus Oxford, Newtown, Madison... I could go on If you want. Sadly, my crazy parents moved us every year of my life.

Me: Ever take the Bridgeport slash Port Jeff ferry? Ever been to Port Jeff? It's on Long Island, New York.

Josh: It doesn't sound familiar..? Though I spent summers in Long Island a couple times.

Me: Okay, let me see if I understand this correctly, Josh. At eight years old you were in a fife and drum band?

Josh: Yea, at eight years old my sister joined one and came home with a fife and I was completely infatuated with it. I didn't realize you could play weird instruments and travel around the east coast and march in parades and go to carnivals and all that. I joined the next week and oddly enough, I turned out to be a total natural at the fife, and wind instruments in general. I could play Mozart and do a technique called “triple tonguing” which would win me all sorts of championships, until we moved to San Diego. I was beyond nerd, and this was WAY before "Glee" was on TV.

Me: At eight I was in my room reading comics. Were drums your first instrument?

Josh: I've never played drums. I was a fifer. And I was also reading comics. I had quite a collection because my grandpa was the original distributor of Marvel and DC in New York, back in the beginning of that whole era. I have a painted plaque with his company logo on it that was supposedly designed by the original Superman artist. That's why it would mean so much to me if our song "Carry Your Weight" could make it onto the new Superman soundtrack. I wrote and recorded it with that in mind, but I don't know how to get it in the right hands! To this day, I won't forgive my dad for giving my collection to my cousin. His awesome logic was that I didn't read them enough! I swear there was like a Superman issue 2 in there and crazy stuff like that. Sorry, I went off on a tangent.

Me: You won state and national championships, right? That must of been fun.

Josh: Yea, we competed all up and down the east coast, traveling in a gross old school bus. I won just about every competition we did.

Me: When did you realize you wanted to be a singer and musician?

Josh: That's an interesting question for me to answer as I think about it right now, actually. Because, I've been a musician of sorts since I was eight. I could sight-read classical music and I wrote my own songs and everything, but I could NOT sing. Singing was one of those things I just wished I could do, but I had no talent for it. I couldn't hold a note or hear when I was off. But a friend of mine taught me how to teach myself with the simplest method. I hooked up headphones to a delay machine with a 400 ms slap back delay and he would have me just pluck a note on guitar and hum along to it long enough for it to slap back into my ears. Then it became easy to hear the note as it entered my ear and I could make adjustments as I would with any instrument. Now I think singing is my favorite part and it's what most people respond to with our music. I'm living proof that ANYONE can learn to sing...

Me: You went to the Rhode Island School of Design, right? What did you study there? I guess design...

Josh: Actually no! I did the freshman foundation stuff and then became a film major. But I had to leave after sophomore year for financial reasons. I paid my way through school by working in the computer lab and it was mainly the graphic design majors who came to use the lab, so I sort of learned graphics that way. Now I'm a Creative Director at an ad agency in Hollywood. I think it's funny that all the things I've had success with in life were things I've taught myself: Photoshop, graphic design, songwriting, guitar, photography, etc. Fuck school!

Me: Are you an artist as well, Josh?

Josh: Yea, I keep busy with various things. These days I am having fun making all my projects converge with Friend Slash Lover. You'll see what I mean in a week or so when the new site launches. It's a non-linear, weird art piece. Who cares about band web sites anyway?

Me: The band is based in Los Angeles, right? What made you decide to move out there?

Josh: I moved here form San Diego when I got the job as Creative Director of a music/lifestyle magazine a while back. It was a great excuse to get the fuck outta dodge.

Me: Is that where you met the band?

Josh: I put an ad on Craigslist after making a couple demo tracks and Frank is the first and only person I met from that. He was perfect. What are the chances? Over the years, we met Greg and then Jake, who was, like, our 5th drummer.

Me: Josh, let’s talk about your music. I downloaded the new EP "The Grey Area" and liked it a lot. What is the grey area?

Josh: It's that space between your ears. Oh wait, no, that's the grey matter. The grey area is the vast gradation of subtleties, which exists between the black and white way of looking at things. The details we tend to ignore as a culture obsessed with immediacy and brevity. I always laugh when I see complex topics being debated on bumper stickers.

Me: This is your second release, right?

Josh: We've done 2 EPs and the next record is halfway done too.

Me: When I played it I was excited you covered XTC's song "Dear God". I like XTC, but my dad was a huge fan of there's. I don't think they are really known over here, Josh. Are you a big XTC fan?

Josh: Yes! I've always loved that song and “Generals and Majors” and “Making Plans For Nigel” etc. Andy Partridge is one of the great songwriters, I think.

Me: How did you go about choosing that song? It just sort of happened one day over lunch with our producer, Thomas Flowers. I drove up to Santa Barbara every weekend for 6 months or so to work on this record and one day we were talking about XTC for some reason and I said I loved the theme of that song and I bet I could totally sing it. So, Thomas went back to the studio and I watched him bang out the structure of the song in a couple hours, all with pianos and simple guitars. Thomas is brilliant. That's a tricky song, with 5 tempo changes. A few weeks later, I involved the band and get kept re-recording the vocals until it really involved into what you hear on the record. It was a fun distraction from the rest of the recording process.

Me: Did you write the other songs on the album?

Josh: Yes.

Me: I have to ask you about one song... "S2PD HMN". That looks like a British zip code. What does that mean, Josh?

Josh: Well, it's a good thing I got talked out of calling the album "S2PD HMN", for that very reason. It's sort of a texting-style abbreviation of “Stupid Human.” I like how it makes it seem a bit computerized, because I always imagined that the phrase “Stupid Human” was from the point of view of a robot, making fun of us. It also used to be my solo artist name before I met Frank, but it didn't feel right for a band name.

Me: I love the opening song, "As Seen On TV". What is that song about? Have you been on TV?

Josh: Oh nice, thanks! I have not been on TV, though it is semi my fault that people watch reality shows, because I do the marketing for them in my day job. In LA, you're sort of a nobody if you're not on TV, so in one sense, I just started to behave as if I was. To me, that song has many meanings. On one level, I'm just poking fun of the city of Los Angeles, and the people in it. But I live here, so I am one of those people, but I keep missing my marks and forgetting my lines and generally feeling like I was mis-cast for this movie. On another level, that idea that “I'm the actor playing me” speaks to the persona we all project.

Me: Josh, I have to ask you about the bands logo with the lightening bolt. Did you come up with that? What do you think about the Phile's logo?

Josh: I'm Googling you right now and I can't find a logo!

Me: It's the flying filing cabinet at the top of every entry.

Josh: The lightning bolt takes the place of the letter S in FSL. I designed it after many failed attempts at coming up with a cool logo over the years.

Me: So, what's next for you, Josh? Any tours?

Josh: I'm not sure about tours, though it would be great if we did. First, we'll launch the website, make a few more videos, start playing live and get our music placed onto TV shows and movies.

Me: I wish you continued success, and I feel you are gonna have a lot of groupies. Go ahead and mention your website, Josh.

Josh: Alright,

Me: Please come back on the Phile soon when your next release comes out, okay? Take care.

Josh: Sure thing, thanks a lot.

Well, that's about it for this entry. Hopefully today when I see the specialist he'll take this cast off and I will find out when my surgery is. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim and Josh Mintz. The Phile should be back Wednesday with singer Neara Russell. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pheaturing Becky Stark From Lavender Diamond

Okay, I had only two hours sleep, I am on Oxy, my right arm's in a sling, I smell and itch like crazy. Whatever, let's do this thing.

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile. Did you miss me? I am doing this blog with only one hand, kids. It's not the first time I did something on the computer with one hand... if you know what I mean. We went on vacation to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina and as most of you probably know by now, I had a big accident. I am a hot mess, take a look.

Actually, I don't look too bad. That's the Oxy talking. I told the story on what happened to me a few times this past week, but for those that don't know, let me tell you.  On our last day of vacation last Monday I promised Logan we'll go down to the pool and beach when last time while Jen started packing. It was too dark on the beach, and I didn't want to get hurt, so we just swam in the pool, taking photo's with Logan's underwater camera and having a grand ole time. It was starting to get late and chilly so we decided to head back up to the room. Walking out of the pool area to the outdoor elevator's I slipped on some concrete. My feet went up from under me and I came crashing down on my right shoulder, breaking my humerus bone on three places... one break going all the way through. I knew right away I broke something, the pain was unbearable and I couldn't move. Logan was in shock and worried and other people around came to see what happened. Front desk called my wife in the room saying I fell and injured myself. 911 was called, I screamed, cussed out loud, and yes, I sobbed like a big fat baby. The medics finally showed up and took me to the local hospital. You can see here in how much pain I was in.

Hang on, I need a rest.  Okay, that's better. Anyway, you can see where the ground goes from bricks to smooth, back to bricks. It's on the smooth part I slipped. I was in the hospital for four days, and Jen and Logan had four more beach days. They were gonna do surgery there, but instead I decided to have a nerve block put in, and hopefully this week or next week I will have surgery. Anyway, this is what I looked like on the 8 hour drive home.

LOL. Jen wished she was on a Jason Block. I want to say thank you to the nurses and staff at Grand Staff Regional Medical Center for taking good care of me. It wasn't all smooth, the ER wanted to put a sling on me, give me some pain pills and have me drive home. Jen fought for them to keep me there as I was in so much pain an 8 minute drive would kill me, let alone an 8 hour drive. So, that's my story on how I got hurt.  South Carolina is very nice, by the way. We loved it there, but what's with all those Sweetwater basket stands? They were everywhere. Speaking of everywhere, I never seen so many miniature golf courses in one small area in my life. That's what people do for fun there? Putt-putt? I hate putt-putt.  I have to mention the Gamecocks, kids. Do you think I was the first person in history to make a dick joke there? Who came up with that team name? Anyway, while we were there I watched the Gamecock play the Gators on TV. It was brutal.

We stayed at a nice hotel on the beach, The Sandy Beach Resort. They're changing the name to The Slippery Concrete Resort. How do you know when you're staying in a South Carolina hotel? When you call the front desk and say, "I've gotta leak in my sink." And the person at the front desk says, "Go ahead".  Anybody excited about the World Series? The San Francisco Giants, who looked pretty good the other night, face the Detroit Tigers. Here's what I predict. I predict the whole thing will be decided in Ohio. How about the Giants' Pablo Sandoval? In one game, he had three home runs and a single. And today Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees said, "You can do that?" Sandoval hit three homers in the first game against the Tigers in the World Series, and today, first thing, Donald Trump demanded to see his birth certificate.  Well, the debates are over. All that's left right now is to set up and rig the voting machines. Studies show that votes cast in the days leading up to the election tend to favor the Democratic Party and votes cast AFTER an election tend to favor the marijuana party. The Green Party. Is that what they call it?  Alright, well, I had a stupid accident, but it could've been a lot worse. Mine is nothing compared to this guy...

These amazing X-rays show how a man arrived with a tap and 16 inches of pipe work stuck in his eye at a hospital's casualty unit. But the terrified patient was forced to pull the tap out himself... because surgeons took three hours to send for a plumber to get it out. Yi Zhao, 57, had slipped in the bath impaling his left eye on the tap at his home. Shit, that sucks. Well, I ate it by falling on vacation. Let's see who really ate it.

Russell Means
Nov 10, 1939 - Oct 22, 2012
He was in The Last of the Mohicans, but he was an Oglala Sioux. Man, that pisses me off.

George McGovern
July 19, 1922 - Oct 21, 2012
Well, now I guess he expects us ALL to just kiss his ass.

Sylvia Kristel
Sept 28, 1952 - Oct 18, 2012
Porn star. Throat cancer. Coincidence? Yeah. Probably.

Well, as you know, the world is supposed to end in a few months. Those Mayans are so smart, I believe it. Anyway, I invited our good friend Marvin back to the Phile to give us some Mayan advice. So, please welcome back to the Phile...

Me: Hello, Marvin, welcome back to the Phile. So, what advice do you have? Last time you were here you said something about carrying firewood and falling. You said nothing about carrying a towel, cap, t-shirt and sneakers and falling. Maybe you should of said to wear the sneakers, not carrying them. Anyway, go on.

Marvin: Nya b’a’n tu’n ttzaj tcy’aja aj t-xiy si’wil, ku’n b’e’x cjawil pac’chaje.

Me: I have no idea what that means, and I am starting to feel like shit, so what does that mean?

Marvin: It is not good (for a pregnant lady) to put a comb in the folds of her skirt because her child's teeth will end up crooked.

Me: that explains what happened to me. Thanks, Marvin.

Well, Tropical Storm Sandy is hitting up North so I invited a friend back to the Phile to give you some advice. Please welcome back, Laird Jim.

Good morning, humans. Gotta laugh at people who panic and clean the stores out of EVERYTHING because a storm is coming. Here's a list of what you need. Canned MREs (I prefer ravioli and pasta) a case of bottle water, jar of peanut butter, loaf of bread, toilet paper, candles, lighter, booze, someone to snuggle with, condoms. End of list.

The 21st book in the Phile's book club is...

Vic will be a guest on the Phile on Saturday.

Today's pheatured guest is an artist, singer, songwriter and entertainer from Los Angeles, California. She is the voice of the band Lavender Diamond. In an article about her in the New York Times called "North American Songbird," Zoe Wolf wrote "Picture Lucille Ball and Tinkerbell engaged in a duet and you have an apt metaphor for the neo-folk singer Becky Stark, who suggests an impish fairy from a faraway land." Lavender Diamond's latest CD "Incorruptible Heart" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Becky Stark.

Me: Hello, Becky, welcome to the Phile. It's a pleasure to have you here. How are you?

Becky: I'm good thank you, how are you?

Me: To be honest, the Oxy is wearing off, and sitting here is giving me a neck ache. Apart from that, pretty good. Okay, before we talk about your band Lavender Diamond, I have to mention another band you're in called The Living Sisters. You are in the band with a Phile Alumni who I interviewed a few years ago... Inara George. How is Inara and is that act still together?

Becky: Inara is doing great! She has three beautiful babies and she is such an inspiration. I love her so dearly. Yes, our band is still together. I think we will be always be together. We're like sisters. We're releasing a new record in January.

Me: Becky, where are you from originally?

Becky: Well, I was born in Culver City, CA. I was raised primarily in Montgomery County, Maryland outside of Washington, DC. But I spent summers in Southern California... in Santa Monica & Santa Barbara. So I'm part East coast and part West coast.

Me: Lavender Diamond is based in California, right? When did you move out there originally, Becky?

Becky: Yes well... Lavender Diamond is based on the beautiful earth. California for now. California has been my home in some way for my whole life because I have family here.

Me: I first heard of your name when you did a project with The Decemberists, one of my favorite bands. How long have you known those guys, Becky?

Becky: Well, I guess we first met them in 2007. I think it was 2007. We toured with them before "Imagine our Love" came out when they were touring with "Crane Wife."

Me: You sang on their album "Hazards of Love"... when they asked you if you'd do that project, what did you think?

Becky: Well, actually I was pretty shocked! It really seemed like a dream... really I wondered if it was real. Originally it was going to be a Broadway musical so that was how it was first presented to me. Colin said he was writing the part of Margaret for me to sing and I was just thrilled.

Me: Lavender Diamond played on a Madonna tribute album... I love your version of "Like A Prayer". Are you a big Madonna fan?

Becky: Thank you! Yes, I am big Madonna fan. When I was a little girl I listened to her recordings over and over and knew them note for note. I just loved dancing to Madonna's music!

Me: Who are you inspirations? Who did you listen to growing up?

Becky: Well, I have many inspirations! I listened to Prince more than anything I think. We listened to music constantly in my household. Actually my mother created something for us as kids called The Church of Popular Culture. She had an incredible collection of records, 45's specifically, and we would listen to them and have dance parties! And also she would have us listen to the music and we would have lessons about it and have to write essays and have conversations about the meaning of the music. I remember having a lesson about "Karma Chameleon" and having to write an essay about karma. And I remember also a lesson about materialism connected to "Material Girl" and lessons about the environment and war related to "Hard Rain's a Gonna Fall" by Bob Dylan and ""There But for Fortune" by Phil Ochs. I had a beautiful and unusual childhood in that way. Full of inspiration!

Me: Did you choose to do that Madonna song or did someone else recommend that was gonna be the song you are gonna cover?

Becky: I can't remember! Maybe it was my idea. Maybe it was Ron's idea. I love that song!

Me: Have you heard John Wesley Harding's version? Wait, do you know who JWH is? I am guessing you do as he worked with some of The Decemberists as well.

Becky: No, I haven't heard it. And I've never listened to his music but I will.

Me: Apart from you, Becky, who else is in Lavender Diamond?

Becky: Well, Steve Gregoropoulos plays the keys and writes arrangements and Ron Rege Jr. plays the drums. And sometimes Jeff Rosenberg plays guitar with us.

Me: Ron Rege is an artist, right? You have to tell him he should be on the Phile and I could feature his art in the Peverett Phile Art Gallery. Did you put the band together, Becky, or did someone else?

Becky: Oh, that's that great idea! He just made an amazing new book and I'm sure he'd love to talk with you. I put the band together. Lavender Diamond originally was just me. It had several forms before I started playing with Steve and Ron. It used to be me and Elvis Perkins. But then I had the idea for it to have a band sound and it really came together with Steve and Ron and Jeff instantly like magic.

Me: You and Ron have a comic book you guys work on together, right? What is it called and what is it about? Do you write it and Ron does the art work?

Becky: Well, we were making a comic for some time called "Peace Comics" which was about the humor of becoming a peaceful person. Yes I write it and Ron draws it.

Me: Where did the name Lavender Diamond come from? It sounds like a character from a James Bond movie, or a stripper name.

Becky: That's hilarious! I had the inspiration for the name while I was writing an opera called "Echoing in the Diamond Caves." I had the vision of the sound of a crystalline play of resonances deep inside the earth from an undiscovered crystal cave. And a fairytale came from that idea. In the fairytale a man hears the beautiful crystal singing and follows the sound to the mouth of the cave. When he goes inside he discovers the crystalline music and he takes one crystal from the cave, the lavender diamond. When he breaks it off it silences the resonance of the cave. He runs away and centuries later the lavender diamond has become a ring on a medieval lady's finger and she loves to stand on her balcony and sing and sing. Outside her window there is a tree with a magpie and the magpie is a bird who cannot sing but who loves shiny objects! And all day long the lady would sing to the magpie! But one day the magpie swooped down to steal the ring from the lady's finger! But the stone of the ring was caught in the magpie's throat and the ring was caught on the lady's finger so both the lady and the bird fell to their death at the foot of the tree. The magpie had swallowed the stone and both were buried at the foot of the tree. Centuries later the soul of the stone was reborn in a songbird called Lavender Diamond who lived in the tree. Lavender Diamond would sing all day long to the lady who lived upstairs called the Queen of the Indoors, a magical woman who enchanted all of the furniture to dance. And they lived together until the end of their days. Or something like that. It's kind of a long story! One day I'll really have to make the whole fairy tale opera for real.

Me: Wow. I downloaded the new album "Incorruptible Heart" from iTunes and love it. What a great album. Who writes the songs in the band, Becky?

Becky: Thank you I'm so glad! The songs come together as a collaboration. There are some songs I write on my own and bring to the band for us to play together. They may alter somewhat in the chord progressions and take greater form through instrumental ideas. Then there are some that are born of improvisations with Steve and Ron. I write the melodies and lyrics. On this record the songs that were invented from scratch together were "I Don't Recall" and "Light My Way" and "All the Stars" and "Everybody's Heart's Breaking Now". The rest I wrote by my lonesome and brought to the guys. Steve and I have a very magical alchemy of inventing songs together. I feel very free with him.

Me: How long did it take to record?

Becky: Forever! No that's not true. It took a while because I was recording my own singing and Damian kept telling me to try again because I was singing too carefully and scientifically. Finally all of the singing was just live and happened very quickly. There was a lot of time spent on the arrangements and layering. Steve wrote very beautiful string parts for the Calder Quartet to play and brass parts for Probyn Gregory to play. Damian created many layers of instrumentation and shifted the songs a lot. And then Damian and I went to Dave Fridmann's studio and had an odyssey mixing the record and turning it all into what we call "Dark Disco Magic." When we were mixing it with Dave it was really thrilling for everything to come together in a new and more open sonic space. 

Me: It was produced by Damien Kulash from the cool band OK Go. Did he approach you guys or vive versa?

Becky: Well, I went to Damian for advice because he is incredibly wise and kind. I had so many songs I didn't know what to do or how to begin a new recording process. I had just started playing with the band again and I was really trying to keep my solo songs separate from the band but he suggested that we put them together and he offered to produce the record. Immediately it seemed like a great idea for him to produce it! It just felt right in my heart.

Me: What was he like to work with?

Becky: Amazing! I love him so much! He made us promise to be very open and allow him to lead the songs to a new dimension. It was very thrilling and fulfilling. He worked so hard... tirelessly! He committed himself entirely to the music, it was very inspiring. He really gave his whole heart to the record. I can't imagine how we could have made it without him. He is so passionate and brave.

Me: I have to ask you about the albums name, "Incorruptible Heart". Where did that name come from, Becky? What does it mean?

Becky: Oh! Well Ron came up with the name. He named the other 2 records too. He has the knack! Corruption comes from the french word for heart "coeur" and rupture. So it really means unheartbreakable heart! It is meant to invoke the unbroken dimension... the aspect of everything and everyone that can never be separated... the irrevocable heart of all.

Me: When I was researching for this interview I came across a sentence about you. You were described once as Lucille Ball and Tinkerbell engaged in a duet. What did you think about that quote when you heard it?

Lucille: Oh, I think it's hilarious! And probably true. I hope it's true I think it's so funny!

Me: Are you a Lucille Ball and Tinkerbell fan?

Becky: Yes, of course!!

Me: I watched the video for the song "Everybody's Heart Breaking Now" and it features you spinning and spinning and spinning in space. How long were you hung up by those wires? 

Becky: Oh my goodness! For hours! It was incredible!

Me: Who came up with that idea? I noticed the other guys didn't go through that, Becky.

Becky: Well, it was my idea! I wanted to do that dance of falling and flying because it opens the heart so wide and I wanted to share that energy with the song. And Maximilla Lukacs and I had incredible parallel vision for the video. I was dreaming that dance and then I ran into Maximilla and she had just shot a test of an aerialist in slow motion through a prism casting a beautiful rainbow holographic shadow aura. It was a very magical confluence of events. And really a miracle that we made that video. We had help from George Augusto, an angel patron of the arts in LA, and Elizabeth Newton, head of the Circus School in LA who just believed in our vision even though I had only been on the wires once for 3 minutes but I knew I could do it because I felt it so strongly in my heart! And Chobi Gyorgi who is a Hungarian Flying Trapeze artist who built the rigging and held me up all day! And an amazing team! Our dear friend miss kk made a perfect costume and June Zandona shot it and we had an amazing team of producers and editors and everyone worked so hard out of the love in their hearts and for the vision. It was really amazing! And the guys weren't in it because well... they don't instrumentalize Lavender Diamond like I do. Lavender Diamond is my voice and body.

Me: Apart from the bands, comic and other stuff you do, you are also putting together a musical comedy variety show, am I right? What can you tell us about it?

Becky: Hmm... well... it is really my dream to have a musical comedy variety show because that way I could really combine all of my passions! One day soon I hope it will take form! It will be such great fun!

Me: Becky, thanks so much for being on the Phile, I hope it was fun. Will you come back when your next project come out?

Becky: Oh yes, please! Thank you very much it was a pleasure!

Me: Thanks again, and take care.

Oh boy, I never thought this entry will get done. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim and Becky Stark. Okay, the Phile will be back tomorrow with Josh Mintz from Friend Slash Lover. Then supposedly on Wednesday with singer Neara Russell and on Saturday with Vic Flick. Unless i have my shoulder surgery then everything is up in the air. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pheaturing Scotty Dickert and R.E.L From Reasons Be

Hey, kids, welcome to a Wednesday entry of the Phile... where everybody knows your name. How are you?  It's not a great week for the ladies of "The View." Barbara Walters announced Monday morning they were snubbed by Mitt Romney. He was scheduled for an interview, but he canceled at the last minute. Barbara said, and I quote, "You do not cwoss me, Mitt Womney. I will have my wevenge." Apparently Mitt Romney wants to limit his appearances to places where no one will attack his positions. You know, like the debates. It's funny, I get both Michelle and Barack on this stupid blog for an interview and "The View" cannot even get Romney. HA!  It was a big weekend in L.A. The space shuttle Endeavor was pulled through L.A. traffic to its new home at the California Science Center on Sunday. It was supposed to arrive the day before, but it got rear ended by Amanda Bynes.  It was also a big weekend for Felix Baumgartner, the Austrian daredevil who broke the world record for sky diving. He jumped off a balloon 24 miles high. He fell to earth so fast he broke the sound barrier. He fell faster than President Obama's poll numbers after the debate.  Lindsay Lohan has at long last revealed the candidate she backs. She made the announcement at the Mr. Pink ginseng drink launch party where historically key political endorsements are handed out. She gave an endorsement while doing an endorsement. I don't know if that's ever been done before. As of Friday morning Lindsay Lohan was not registered to vote but incredibly, still registered to drive. Lindsay's publicist told "Today" she's in the process of registering to vote. She sent in the paperwork. I don't see that happening. Could you imagine Lindsay Lohan waking up early on November 6th and waiting in line at a high school to vote? Maybe if she was already passed out in the bushes at the high school, then maybe.  Man, it sucks to be Hulk Hogan. Sources now say he was involved in leaking his own sex tape. Faking the theft of a sex tape? This could give professional wrestling a bad name.  So, let's talk about this... who watched the second presidential debate last night? I liked the part when Mitt Romney said "Boooo, China." And Obama was like, "Yay, old people." Nobody in the debate talked about today's big story out of Europe... the big art heist at a museum in Rotterdam. You have to hand it to these thieves. It is not easy sneaking up in the Netherlands. Usually your wooden shoes give you away. Anyway, the debate was from Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, moderated by Candy Crowley. Why should it be on all channels? The Super Bowl is on one channel and we find it. I don't know why they had a debate. This race was over last night when Honey Boo Boo made her official endorsement. She's pulling for Barack Obama. They say as goes Honey Boo Boo, so goes the election. They agreed the subjects for the debate were foreign and domestic issues. Which pretty much covers everything, doesn't it? Where else is there besides foreign and domestic issues? Space, I guess? The debate was what they call the town hall format, which is where real voters get to ask questions and the candidates ignore them and just talk about what they wanted to in the first place. One of the rules was that the moderator will not ask follow-up questions or comment on either the questions asked by the audience or the answers by the candidates. So basically one of the debate rules was that no one was allowed to debate. Today Romney's campaign people released a new ad poster.

So, I mentioned the shuttle went through LA over the weekend. Look what happened to it while it was there.

Anybody up North in the New England area felt that earthquake yesterday? They released a poster about it today.

LOL. That jokes never gets old.  Like I said earlier, a sex tape surfaced of the Hulkster that he supposedly leaked. In the last few entries I have shown you a few scenes of the sex tape you might not have seen. Like this one...

Well, here at the Peverett house we don't celebrate Halloween, but for service to you readers who do, I thought I would share with you some cool Halloween costumes, just in case you have a hard time deciding what to dress up as. Heidi Klum is not only beautiful but she can surely pull out a nice Halloween costume.

And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Interesting Facts About Felix Baumgartner's Space Jump
5. Baumgartner also now holds the record for most times a grown man has wet himself in a four-minute period.
4. The 0.0008-inch-thick material used top make his balloon is thicker than the bathroom tissue at New York's Port Authority bus terminal.
3. His only regret was that he couldn't talk his girlfriend into joining him, so he could become a member of the "24 Mile-High Club".
2. Upon landing, he vomited profusely... though not nearly as much as Lady Gaga did onstage last week.
And the number one interesting fact about Baumgartner's space jump...
1. "Felix Baumgartner" isn't his real name... he was born "Dash Eagleheart" but he thought that sounded much too flashy. 

Kids, it's Wednesday, and you know what that means. I invite my good friend Jeff to the Phile to talk football.

Me: Hello, Jeff, welcome back. So, how are you?

Jeff: Hello, Phile. Good to be back for an old fashioned double header.

Me: Yes, this week we'll be picking six teams as I will be on vacation next Wednesday. Alright, so, what is the NFL news from this past weekend?

Jeff: I do believe that a few weeks ago I said Atlanta would be the last undefeated team and they are. Even Cleveland won a game this week do no one will go winless.

Me: Yes, you did say that. Well done. What other news is there?

Jeff: The biggest news is Ray Lewis, one of the meanest defensive players in the league was injured for the year. Baltimore will truly miss him!

Me: Jeff, last week you were winning by 1 point. How did we do this past weekend?

Jeff: I tanked the week, losing all 3 games plus a Steeler lose. You went 1-2 but Giants won so you are now up by 2 points. Congrats.

Me: Yes! Alright, as I said, this week we are picking six teams for weeks 7 and 8. Are you ready? This week I say Browns will win by three, Buffalo will lose by three as well and the Bears will lose by 5. Now for the next weeks games, it's hard to pick, but I say Dallas by 11, Tampa Bay by three... I am playing it safe, and San Francisco by 21. LOL. Yep. That's my picks. I hope none of these teams are in bye week. Jeff, what do you pick?

Jeff: Week 7 I pick Oakland over Jacksonville by 7, Minnesota over Arizona by 3 and San Fran by six over Seattle. For week 8 none of your picks have byes but there is this wonderful thing called the Internet so you look who is playing who. I have New England by 14, Green Bay by 10 and Jets by one.

Me: What is this Internet you speak of? LOL. I was too lazy to check and picked blindly, Jeff. Alright, I will see you in a few weeks... on Wednesday the 31st. Talk to you soon.

Jeff: Enjoy your vacation.

Okay, so we know Jann Wenner has his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but I also, here on the Phile have my own Rock and Roll Hall of Phame, thanks to my friends at unHOF. So far we had inducted into it Savoy Brown, J. Geils Band, Staus Quo, Sparks, and now a new inductee. So, please welcome to the Phile, raconteur, entreprenour, Jah Paul Jo in a past life and co-owner of Berdan Records... Joseph J. Ramsey.

Today's Induction: Mick Ronson.
Perhaps the most underrated of all major rock stars. As responsible as David Bowie for the SOUND of Bowie's early albums, including the classic "Ziggy Stardust" and the Lou Reed comeback album, "Transformer".  He was to Bowie what Keith Richard is to Mick Jagger... the classic lead guitar foil to the charismatic front man. Mick Ronson not only played guitar, he was also a multi-instrumentalist and arranger, contributing string and brass arrangements to "The Spiders From Mars'" recordings as well as Mott The Hoople ("Sea Diver") and the whole of Lou Reed's "Transformer" which he co-produced with Bowie.  Starting out with Bowie in a band called The Hype in 1970 that also featured producer Tony Visconti, Ronno went through several mutations of Bowie bands until it all ended with The Spiders From Mars farewell concert where he and Bowie parted ways. No real explanation was ever given for the split... it just ended. Ronno's last recorded work with Bowie was the covers album, "Pin-Ups".  Two solo albums were recorded post-Bowie and both have that Spiders feel to them. His solo debut, "Slaughter on 10th Avenue", featured a version of Elvis Presley's "Love Me Tender", as well as Ronson's most famous solo track, "Only After Dark". The second, "Play Don't Worry" featured a song Ronno had given to The Pure Prairie League (!), "Angel #9" and an outtake from Bowie's "Pin-Ups" album, The Velvet Underground's "White Light/White Heat."  Other than Bowie, Ronson is best remembered for his collaborations with Mott The Hoople's Ian Hunter, playing, writing, arranging and co-producing many of Hunter's solo albums as well as being a latter-day member of Mott The Hoople. Ronson's later work is so diverse that it's impossible to list all here... he played/produced/arranged with everyone from Bob Dylan ("Rolling Thunder Review!") to The Pure Prairie League, Morrissey, Roger Daltrey, Roger McGuinn, Elton John, John Mellancamp. He also worked with many up and comers... helped them get their starts.  Shortly before his premature death from liver cancer in 1993, Ronson appeared at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. He played on "All the Young Dudes" with Bowie and Ian Hunter and "Heroes" with Bowie.  Like Rory Gallagher, Ronson is considered a hometown hero. In Hull, a memorial stage was named for him as well as a street bearing his name on Bilton Grange Estate, not far from where he lived.

With the debate last night that everybody watched, I thought I would invite a friend to the Phile to tell us what he thought about it. So, please welcome back to the Phile, singer, surfer, patriot, and renaissance man... Laird Jim.

I was going to watch the debate up close (had an all access pass) then I thought, if I wanted to watch two assholes argue and lie... I'd drag my ex to my next therapy session. Good night my freaky little darlings, see you in your dreams.

I guess he didn't watch the debate. Alright, and now for the 21st book to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Book Club.

This book is by a musician who worked in every major recording and television studio in London during that wonderful musical period of the 1960s and 1970s. One of the first call session guitarists in the UK, Vic Flick has a bounty of true stories. Stories of the drama and humor, the tensions and the rewards of working with first class musicians and internationally known artists in the world of recording, television and radio. Vic Flick's connection with the James Bond films is legend. His guitar sound on the "James Bond Theme" stirred the hearts and imaginations of a generation. Here is a book that tells of the music business from the inside, about the music, the good and the bad business practices, the money, the agents and the managers. From the Beatles to Nancy Sinatra, from Tom Jones to Dusty Springfield, it's all within the pages of Vic's autobiography. Vic will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

Today's pheatured guests are the two guys who make up the band Reasons Be. Their new EP "Hands Up" is available right now on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Scotty Dickert and R.E.L from Reasons Be.

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

Scotty: Sublimely Sublime.

R.E.L.: Feeling good today, thanks.

Me: So, first of, is the band Reasons Be or Reasons BE?

Scotty: Ha! We were hoping you wouldn’t ask that. It was originally “Reasons BE,” but our publicist said it was too confusing so now we go with “Reasons Be.” It’s hard not to call everyone part of the band “Team BE,” though. I feel like the capital letter is just more… well… capital. But I can’t win ‘em all!

R.E.L: Actually it goes even further than that, you see, when we created our Facebook page it read “Reasons Be” and we couldn’t figure out how to change it to BE. I think that’s when our publicist stepped in and the whole mess started. I too was a fan of the “BE” but that said, the “Be” is now a part of “Me”!

Me: There are two of you of you in the band, right? You guys are a duo? Which one is Scotty and which one is R.E.L?

Scotty: Yes. We are the core of Reasons Be and we hire top professional musicians for rehearsals and performances. Scotty is the lead vocalist who focuses on lyrics and melodies in the writing process. R.E.L is the awesome guitarist who lays down magical harmonies on top of his creative musical blueprints.

Me: Scotty, has anybody ever told you you look like Jay from Jay and Silent Bob?

Scotty: Ha! Yes I’ve heard it a few times. I also get actor Cam Gigandet from Twilight, which I had never seen… so I found it weird when people started asking me for autographs! Ha... too damn funny. The other thing that will follow me until death is hearing the song “Scotty Doesn’t Know” sang drunkenly in my presence.

Me: R.E.L., do people call you R, or Rel, or REL? What should I call you?

R.E.L: I am glad you asked this! The reason behind R.E.L is it’s simply the correct pronunciation of my Israeli name “Ari’el”.When saying R.E.L, If you just voice out the letters without a pause you will get it. And this is something that started a LONG time ago... I can’t take the credit for thinking of it and I don’t even remember who brought it to my attention but I liked it from the start. You can call me any variety of the letters or the full thing just as long as I don’t hear “Ariel the little mermaid.”

Me: What does Scotty call you?

R.E.L: Ari, R dot E dot L, and his favorite...Merman.

Me: Okay, fellas, where did you two meet? Did you know each other for long?

Scotty: We met on Craigslist! Creepy, right? Ha... my manager and I posted an audition breakdown looking for a guitarist. Long story short, R.E.L was the first guy we auditioned and we cancelled all the others. Of course we made R.E.L leave without giving him much of a vibe on how we felt about his audition, but I think the fact that we wrote our first song, “Pictures,” in about twenty minutes that day gave him a pretty good inkling that it went well. So we made him wait for 16 years until we called him and told him he got it… oh I’m sorry, I meant 16 hours.

R.E.L: No, it was 16 years… I have since traveled the world, had 27 children, lived and died… and now have come back to co-lead Reasons Be.

Me: Who came up with the band name and what is the story behind it?

Scotty: We all decided we’d come up with about a million names and pool them together to make the longest band name in history. Once again, our publicist said it wasn’t gonna work… so we decided to roll with Scotty’s idea, “Reasons Be.” It means, and our slogan says it best, “Live Life and Let the Reasons Be.” We believe that everything happens for a reason. This band came together for a reason. All we can do is work our asses off and put ourselves in the best position we can get to. Beyond that, life’s determined by something… whatever you believe in… a lot bigger than us.

R.E.L: Let me add that there were a lot of names on the plate. I think we all brought options to the table and then weeded them out slowly but surely. Reasons Be just stood out and won a landslide vote every time it moved on to it’s next opponent. And interestingly enough I think one of the other finalists is even referenced in the song “Love the Way”. This has been another episode of: a little tidbit of information I bet you didn’t know about Reasons Be.

Me: Scotty, you had music in films and TV, right? Any films I might've seen?

Scotty: I’ve had music on MTV and we’ve been placed on CMT. Most films that I’ve gotten my music into are independent. Reasons Be is starting to get a good amount of radio play, even getting placed on the new FM Discovery and getting named “Artist to Watch” on iHeart Radio. But I’ve never pushed for placements until now. Things are a lot different in L.A. than any other music market, and I’m learning a lot very quickly and finding out how important it is to build a team around you to help reach heights you don’t know how to get to by yourself.

Me: You are also an actor, right? What have you been in? What do you prefer?

Scotty: I’ve been on television shows such as the HBO pilot, “All Signs of Death” and Comedy Central’s “John Benjamin Has a Van.” I have an upcoming film that I just finished working on called Odd Brodsky, and I’ve been in several commercials such as Dr. Pepper (Thor in the Avenger’s commercial), Subway (currently airing), FedEx, and Prego. I love music and I love acting. I feel like in a lot of ways they go hand in hand. I believe in using all your talents to give yourself the best opportunity to succeed and if you get too busy, just don’t sleep! I will say that music has always been my passion and my dream. I just appreciate that I’m able to do both.

Me: And you were in another before Reasons Be? What was the name of the band?

Scotty: I bounced around in a couple of bands and wrote for other artists, but my main musical focus before I moved from L.A. was a band called Uakari. We started in my college town of Green Bay, WI, and stuck to playing in the Midwest.

Me: R, what about you? Have you done any acting or been in another band?

R.E.L: So we decided on R?

Me: Yeah, it sounds cool.

R.E.L: That’s one ofthe less common choices I think. But anyway, yes, my music career started back in Israel. I picked up a guitar really late (junior in high school) but still managed to have a little solo project and another duo there. Then when I moved here to enroll at Musician’s Institute I got exposed to a ton of gigging, musicians, bands etc. My most prominent project was my own band called Belkins. We were around for a few years and had a couple of CDs. But it’s Reasons Be time now. I have only recently got into some acting with Scotty’s blessing but I haven’t done anything more then some small extra or supporting rolls.

Me: So, when you met in Craigslist, did you hit it off right away?

Scotty: Yeah we hit it off from the start. And we spend so much time together that we’ve become like brothers… the good and the bad! One time we were at a party and we got so pissed at each other over a beer pong game that we had to arm wrestle to settle things. When R.E.L beat me (because I had pumped so much iron that day my muscles were weak) I needed revenge so we legitimately wrestled Greco Roman style. R.E.L was not happy with me. I had to chase him down to get him to come back to the party. He said I could have permanently injured his arm and I am too aggressive. I disagreed and said he could have permanently damaged my confidence. We hugged, we wept, weprevailed. Brothers.

R.E.L: Pumped too much iron? Scotty had forgotten all the massive P90x I was doing and he got blindsided by my bicep. Sean, our manager, was the referee and he confirmed. The call stands!

Me: You both sing and play guitar, am I right?

Scotty: I wouldn’t trust my guitar skills on stage.

R.E.L: We keep our roles very clear. There is no ego in Reasons Be and we each work towards our strengths. And the same goes for the writing process as well.

Me: Who does most of the songwriting?

Scotty: We are co-writers. I focus on the lyrics and melodies and R.E.L focuses on the musical blueprints. We’re both extremely open to constructive criticism and changing things until we’re completely satisfied. We put ego’s aside and strive for the very best product, which we know will best be discovered together rather than individually.

R.E.L: Yeah, like I mentioned in the previous question we work towards our strengths. Scotty is blazing fast with lyrics and ideas. Everyday at 3:12 p.m. he gets another melody stuck in his head and calls me to let me know something new is coming. We listen, stick with the good and dump the bad. Sometimes I’ll start playing something and that will lead to a song idea. Other times Scotty will sing a verse that will trigger a chorus in my head… or vice-versa.

Me: How long have you two been performing and in a band together?

Scotty: It’s only been about a year. Crazy!!

Me: Have you had any arguments yet over anything to do with the band?

Scotty: R.E.L wanted our manager, Sean, to play the triangle but I said the triangle is getting a bit dated.


Me: Where are you both from? Where is the band based now?

Scotty: I’m a beer-slingin’ Cheese Head born and raised in Wisconsin. R.E.L’s from Israel. Reasons Be is based in Los Angeles.

R.E.L: Scotty! If you are gonna answer for me could you give my dear country a little more of an intro rather then just plain Israel?

Me: He told you, Scotty. Okay, lets talk about your new EP "Hands Up", which I just downloaded from iTunes… how did that song get to be the EP title?

Scotty: “Hands Up” is our single. We figured that if that’s the main song we’re gonna push, we might as well make it easy for people to remember. Thus making “Hands Up” the name of the EP as well. I’m guessing there might have been some legality issues if we named it “Craigslist!”…

R.E.L: At the time, we were thinking of all kinds of creative things... my personal favorite, which no one else liked (but still was an awesome idea!) was “Four Reasons” and you can spell it “For” or “4” too, but our publicist stepped in said the name is “Hands Up” and that was that.

Me: Who produced it and where was it recorded, guys?

Scotty: The incredible Lee Miles (Shinedown, Puddle of Mudd, Rise Against) produced our EP. He’s also become a vital member of the Reasons Be family and hey, fate just has a way of working things out… Lettin’ the Reasons Be! We recorded at TheAudiolounge in North Hollywood. The whole experience was awesome and the people we worked with were great.

Me: This is a four song EP, which is a great start. Are you guys planning on recording another EP or a full-length album?

Scotty: Absolutely! We’ll be back in the studio within the next month recording a song called “Breathe Through You.” Beyond that, we’re currently focusing on a tour as well as music videos. But we will be back in the studio creating a full-length album when time allows for it to happen.

R.E.L: Worry not Reasons Be fans! There is PLENTY of material and we promise to stick with our perfectionist, no compromise attitude and give you more brand new tracks! (Which we do perform live of course).

Me: Are you gonna be making any videos for the songs?

Scotty: We just finished shooting a stop-motion music video for “Love the Way” with Director Vincent Buckley based out of Milwaukee, WI. We have plans to shoot three more videos, mainly here in L.A., for “Hands Up,” “Carry Me Home,” and “Voice of Mount Mary.”

Me: Well, I wish you guys continued success. Please come back on the Phile when the next release comes out. Go ahead and plug your website and everything. All the best, and take care.

Scotty: Thanks so much for having us! You guys can check us out on Facebook and Twitter. The easiest way to find us is at

R.E.L: Feel free to leave us comments, msgs. We reply to EVERYBODY and don’t want anyone feeling left out. Live Life and let the Reasons Be! Thanks again.

I have to admit, when I think of the words "hands up", I hear that Luke Bryan song in my mind. You got your hands up, you're rocking in my truck. You got the radio on, you're singing every song. I'm set on cruise control... blah, blah, blah. What is that song called? Anyway, that about does it for this entry. Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz, Joseph J. Ramsey, Laird Jim and of course the boys from Reasons Be. Well, I'm on vacation, so the next entry will be on Oct. 28th with Becky Stark from Lavender Diamond. Then on the 29th it is Josh Mintz from Friend Slash Lover. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Oh, and don't let breast cancer steal second base.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pheaturing Timothy Lim

Hello, everybody, welcome to another entry of the Phile. How are you?  You kids like the Kardashian's? Kim Kardashian said in a new interview that her next wedding will be on a private island with no TV cameras. Which raises a lot of questions, like, “If a Kardashian does something but there are no cameras, did it actually happen?”   The other night, a woman on QVC fainted on the air, but her co-host kept talking as if nothing had happened. One person was unconscious while the other one just kept talking... kind of like the presidential debate.  People close to the campaign are saying that Mitt Romney’s son, Tagg, is now one of his chief advisers. That’s right, when Mitt asked him to join the team, he put his arm on his son’s shoulder and said “Tagg, you’re it!”  A new survey found that atheists are the fastest-growing religious group in the U.S. And if you find that hard to believe... well, you’re probably one of them.  Two ATMs in New York were shut down for dispensing counterfeit money. People were suspicious after one guy kept asking, “Hey, can you break a 23?”  The Obamas’ dog, Bo, turned 4 years old. He spent the day the way he always does... digging holes, chasing squirrels, and coaching Obama for the debates. The Obama campaign is planning to open up its 120th field office in Ohio. Even Starbucks is like, “That’s too many locations, man.”  Six months after getting engaged on national TV, Ben and Courtney from “The Bachelor” revealed that they have broken up. Other “Bachelor” contestants were shocked. They were like, “You guys stayed together for six months?”  So,  in the last few entries I have been talking about Bob the Builder, wondering what happened to that little guy. One thing for sure though, wherever he is, he has the Jihad on his side.

Thank God I never insulted old Bob.  In yesterday's entry I told you that recently a sex tape surfaced of the Hulkster pinning a very enthusiastic female Hulkamaniac. Well, sadly, only snippets of the tape have been made available so far... but the Phile has some some additional, unseen scenes, like this one.

Red Bull recently announced that in addition to their original flavor, they’d soon be introducing cranberry, lime and blueberry versions. But those are not the only flavors coming out. Check out these other flavors.

Have you kids seen the new poster that NFL has out out? It's the funniest thing I ever saw.

Okay, no the funniest, but pretty damn close. Why would the NFL out out such a poster?  Alright, so, in a few weeks it is Halloween and even though we don't celebrate Halloween, I thought I would do you readers a good service and give you some costume ideas on what to dress up as this year. Everyone has already seen an iPhone costume, but these two iPhone fanboys have brought the idea to a whole different level. Using LCD TV's and car batteries they managed to create two brilliant (85 pounds heavy) iPhone costumes that will definitely make a killing. They had already approached the idea 2 years ago with a much less convincing version but it seems like this year they really mastered it.

Okay, and now for some sad news.

Arlen Specter
Feb 12, 1930 - Oct 14, 2012
Regardless of who gets elected, ol' Arlen's going to be flip-flopping in his grave.

On the Phile I like to pheature different people, either friends or readers, to come on for different reasons. One of the most popular is a man who is a singer, surfer, patriot, and renaissance man. Pleasde welcome back to the Phile, our friend Laird Jim in a pheature called...

Good morning humans... Time to kickstart Monday. Ugggggh... Cases of mistaken identity always make me laugh. I was just out walking for a bit and was stopped by a rather attractive woman strolling in the opposite direction. She says, "Wow, you look great... I have't seen you since that Foo Fighters show in Seattle." Only one problem... I've never been to Seattle.

Remember last year when you didn't go see Warrior, that movie where Joel Edgerton was the high school teacher who resumed his former life as a mixed martial arts brawler in order to save his home from foreclosure, only to realize that he had to fight Tom Hardy, his own estranged brother? Well, now there's this new movie where Kevin James is a high school teacher who used to wrestle in the 9th grade and he becomes a kicking-and-punching bag in that sporting arena so he can raise money to save his school's orchestra from budget cuts. It's like the Disney Channel sitcom version of that other movie, for people who like their mixed martial arts violence to be not so ouchy or hurty.  And that's not such a bad deal. James's primary function in the world is to be the kind, decent guy you root for, a stand-in for all Regular Joe's and beleaguered schlubs. You don't want to witness him getting knocked around too much because you don't want to get knocked around too much yourself. If he makes a grand gesture and saves something important for someone else at a not unreasonable amount of personal sacrifice, you can imagine yourself doing the same thing and basking in that big shared payoff. And when Salma Hayek looks at him with that face that says, "YOU CAN GET IT," then that means she... or her real-time equivalent... is eager for your romance as well.  All it really takes to get on board for a movie like this is walking into the theater. It meets you where you are. And if you're also willing to accept The Dumb, then so much the better for everyone. The Dumb is that thing where brutal UFC bouts result in minor cuts and scrapes, PG-trickles of fake blood. The Dumb is 15-minutes-ago Christian Nu-Metal anthems in 2012 and sometimes-"Glee"-cast-member Charice adorably belting out a Neil Diamond song at the big match. The Dumb is comedy fire hoses of vomit as the punchline to an earlier scene where James eats rancid applesauce. The Dumb is mean people turning nice and disaffected teens becoming engaged with learning because the power of James' innate stand-up-bro-ness and inspirational biology lessons compel them. The Dumb is butt-crack humor and MMA fighter Krzysztof Soszynski as a fictional person named Ken Dietrich (who moves like a CGI dragon but whose name is changed for... what reason exactly? Ego protection from a KJ knockout?). The Dumb is other real MMA guy Bas Rutten engaged in something called Disco Street Fighting. Never heard of it? Me neither. But it's in this movie. And it doesn't matter. Because it's all as mildly funny as possible and as sweet as it can be. I know, I know, fighting isn't supposed to be sweet. Just go with it. From 1 to 10, this movie gets a 6. 

Recently Jann Wenner's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the new inductees. Well, the Phile has a Rock and Roll Hall of Phame as well, with the help of unHOF. So far in our Hall Phame we have had Savoy Brown, J. Geils Band and Status Quo. Well, please welcome to the Phile, aconteur, entreprenour, Jah Paul Jo in a past life and co-owner of Berdan Records... Joseph J. Ramsey.

Today's Induction: Sparks.
As UK rock inched ever so closer to what would become the 1977 Punk Explosion, this band tied together concept, look and music better than nearly anyone. Sparks were two California guys that were flailing in their homeland, decided to pull up stakes (and were arrested by the Parks Department - apologies to Vivian Stanshall) and relocate to England. The two brothers, Ron and Russell Mael, put together a great band and released the groundbreaking "Kimono My House" on Island Records in 1974. Muff Winwood produced because the Mael's first choice, Roy Wood of The Move, was unavailable.  Their new sound was decidedly more UK heavy pop/glam in the mold of Bowie and Roxy Music. Ron Mael, he of the decidedly so-unhip-it-was-hip "Hitler Mustache," was the main songwriter and he came up with some real doozies. Wikipedia: "Lyrically, the songs remained unusual and humorous. The great number of words filled with pop-culture references, puns, and peculiar sexual content sung often in falsetto by Russell Mael marked Sparks apart from other groups."  I remember being very impressed with the whole of the album... artwork, image and music. The band, Martin Gordon on bass, guitarist Adrian Fisher and Norman "Dinky" Diamond on drums were top notch. "Kimono My House" went to #4 on the UK album charts and the single, "This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us" made #2 in the UK Singles Chart. This was the beginning of Sparks' Island years that resulted in three extraordinarily good records in the mid seventies.  Live, the band were always VERY entertaining. I saw them shortly after the release of "Propoganda" and thoroughly enjoyed their set. Russell looked not unlike many of the pretty-boy singers of that era (although he DID sing nearly everything in falsetto!) but Ron... he would sit and stare and not move all that much. Dressed in forties looking outfits and sporting an intensely unfashionable Hitler mustache, he looked like a human embodiment of an R. Crumb cartoon. Yeah, they were fun to watch.  I was at another concert in the mid seventies... somebody like The Kinks or Roxy Music at The Santa Monica Civic, when the two Mael brothers arrived to see the show. With the lobby lights on, all eyes watched them as they made their way down the aisle to find their seats. When the stunned crowd realized who they were and that they were there as part of the audience, spontaneous applause broke out. The brothers did not acknowledge but it was a very cool moment.  In later years, the group would reinvent itself many times, most notably as an electronic pop duo with the help of Giorgio Moroder (!), but for me, those Island records are the bomb. It's no small complement that Sparks are held up as major influences by the likes of Morrissey, Kurt Cobain, Arcade Fire, Sonic Youth, Ramones, Duran Duran, Bj√∂rk, Depeche Mode, New Order, Def Leppard, Faith No More, The Pixies and They Might Be Giants amongst many others.  The brothers continue... doing gigs as recently as June 2012.

Good job as always, Joseph. I always liked Sparks, and one of my favorite songs they did was "Cool Places" with Jane Wieldlin from the Go-Go's. When I saw the Go-Go's live recently they did a version of "Cool Places" with Belinda singing Russell's part. By the way, I should see if anybody from Sparks is available to be on the Phile. 

Today's pheatured guest is a fantastic artist who has his own company called Ninjaink. He has had work published internationally in Playstation Magazine, Dreamwave, and Image Comics. Please welcome to the Phile... Timothy Lim.

Me: Hello, Tim, welcome to the Phile, man, how are you?

Timothy: Just grand. Thanks, man.

Me: Alright, you have a company called Ninjaink, right? Where did that name come from?

Timothy: It's not technically a company, but it's what we call our online handle and team name. I got the name "ninja" from a comedian named The Chinaman, who would always call out before his performance, "where mah ninjas at?!" "Ninja," of course, poking at another derogatory word that starts with the letter "n." It became a term of endearment. And since I had to throw in some word dealing with art, "ink" completes the name.

Me: There's other artists involved with Team Ninjaink as well, am I right? Who are the other artists?

Timothy: I am actually the sole artist. We operate as a think-tank because I'm not creative enough to come up with all this stuff on my own. They're all friends of mine... Robert Simpson, Jean Luc Pham, and Mark Pellegrini.

Me: Tim, where are you from?

Timothy: Little Rock, Arkansas.

Me: How long have you been an artist?

Timothy: I've been drawing all my life, but I think I hit something in high school. That's when I actually started to get published.

Me: You had quite a few pieces of art published, what was the first thing you had published?

Timothy: I had two pieces published simultaneously, and sadly they're both lost to the ages... one was in PSM (Playstation Magazine) and the other one was in the Resident Evil magazine, published by Wildstorm. I used to play a lot of video games in high school, probably more than now and before.

Me: Your work has all different styles, which is cool. Which style is your favorite and which style is the hardest to do?

Timothy: My favorite style, personally, is vintage. I think the control of line is something lost nowadays, and the uniformity of the art of the 1930's - 1960's showed a great deal of knowledge of form and weight. Probably the hardest to do is a painterly style... I love the art of Ashley Wood, but his stuff is incredibly hard to emulate.

Me: Some of your art work is inspired by Mucha, which was one of my parents' favorite artists. The Avengers design you did is really cool, I want that as a poster.

Me: Did you study Mucha in school?

Timothy: Believe it or not, I never took formal art classes. I took one extracurricular course in grade school and one semester in college (which was basic drawing), but I'm largely self-taught. I stumbled upon Mucha while at a Barnes and Noble: it was a bargain book, and I knew the art but couldn't put a name to the work.

Me: Oh, and for the Phile readers that don't know who Mucha was, can you tell them?

Timothy: Mucha was the quintessential art nouveau artist. He's considered a cultural hero for the Czech Republic and achieved a level of fame in his own life due to his commercial success and his work with Sarah Bernhardt. Megan Lara, an excellent illustrator who you've seen the work of, can probably be resoundingly credited to bringing his influence into the realm of pop culture.

Me: I first discovered your art when I saw your "Peace In Space" design. Man, how long does it take to do that Mucha style, Tim?

Timothy: Egads... it's pretty rough. One art nouveau piece takes about 16 to 20 hours of working time, excluding bathroom breaks and the like. It's usually a two day process.

Me: Who else is your favorite artist and inspiration, Tim?

Timothy: Joe Madureira is my favorite artist of all time, simply because I learned so much from studying his line and anatomy work. But in no particular order, I like Ashley Wood, Stefano Caselli, Patrick Nagel, Gil Elvgren, Yoji Shinkawa, Adam Hughes, Drew Struzan, and Erik Larsen. I'm also a huge fan of holy cards, pin-up, religious motifs, noir, and vintage.

Me: I noticed there's a lot of super hero theme stuff you do. I am a big Marvel fan, so I have to ask you DC or Marvel?

Timothy: Definitely Marvel. DC's characters are very mythical and archetypical but that makes it difficult, in my opinion, to mess with them a lot without making people mad. Marvel is more of a blank slate where anything goes, so it makes for more interesting reading.

Me: As well as super hero, you have done a lot of Transformers stuff. You also did a Transformers newsletter before the first movie came out, right? Who approached you to do this, how did they chose you and what exactly did you have to do for it?

Timothy: It was a contest: I submitted my work, "Arrival" and they asked me to do a few more up to the time the first movie came out.

Me: That's so good. I have to congratulate you as well for winning Comic2Film's Best Illustrator of 2005 award. What did you win, and what was the piece you won for?

Timothy: I won... fame, I guess. :-) I didn't really win it for a particular piece, just as a whole. Same with the 2007 nomination.

 Me: Are there any other awards you won, Tim?

Timothy: I've won two sponsored contests by Super Punch, one by Ain't It Cool News, and one by World's Best Comics. There's probably more, but those are the ones that are sticking out at the moment.

Me: Some of your work has been published in books... one book about Street Fighter and one about Mega Man, am I right? What were these books?

Timothy: Those are the Tribute art books published by Capcom and Udon. They're available at your local bookstore, for sure... the art is incredible!

Me: Alright, let's talk about "It's A Good Life", that's a comic strip you write and draw, right?

Timothy: Correct. Mark Pellegrini writes the strips and I draw.

Me: What is the inspiration behind this, and what is "It's A Good Life" about?

Timothy: The inspiration is definitely Calvin and Hobbes, but it's about how a lot of things that men do in this world are really no different than how things were when we were kids. I guess you could say it's about man-children. It's self-deprecating humor, but we try to poke fun at a lot of things that we find mundane and silly.

Me: It's very Calvin and Hobbeish, Tim. In fact, you do some Calvin and Hobbes art, right?

Timothy: I do homages... other than the Super Punch contest, I don't think I've touched the subject directly.

Me: I interviewed another artist named Stephen Harris who most of his work is based on Calvin and Hobbes. Do you know him?

Timothy: Not personally, but I've seen his work on RedBubble and Shirtoid.

Me: Why do you think those characters are so popular with artists?

Timothy: I think we all grew up with Calvin and Hobbes, and there's so much to appreciate. Not only were the strips funny, but Watterson showed off such a versatile style by using the imagination component of Calvin's world to showcase that range. That makes the style immediately recognizable to a lot of people.

 Me: Alright, I have to ask, if you were gonna design a logo for the Phile, what would it look like?

Timothy: I don't know why, but I thought of a Philly cheesesteak...

Me: Now I am hungry. Timothy, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Go ahead and plug your website and everything and please come back on the Phile sometime, so I can show off more of your art. Take care and thanks again. Keep up the good work.

Timothy: Thanks! You can view our full portfolio at Ninjaink. Be sure to also visit our RedBubble store or take the time to like us on Facebook. We truly appreciate the support!

There, that about does it for this entry. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim, Joseph J. Ramsey and of course Timothy Lim. The Phile will be back on Wednesday with the guys from Reasons Be. Then I'll be on vacation, but the Phile will be back on Sunday, October 28th with the guys from The Chocolate Robots. Then on Monday it's Becky Stark, from the band Lavender Diamond. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let alligators and snakes bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Oh, remember... don't let breast cancer steal second base.