Monday, May 27, 2013

Pheaturing Alex Saddic From The GoAround

Hello, welcome to the Phile, strike me down and I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine. The Phile has a brand new sponsor, kids.

It's Memorial Day, by the way. Here's to celebrating the lives of men and women who fought for a cause that actually exists. It's still May, which means it's still Star Wars Month here on the Phile. This is the last entry for Star Wars Month come to think of it. Yesterday Logan and I went to Star Wars Weekends at Disney. It was great fun, even though we are both tired and I got sunburned on the back of my neck. I'm a redneck, and I don't know my ass from a hole in the ground. Everyone was at Star Wars Weekends, even an Imperial Officer was there with his family. And I took a picture to prove it.

Let's see what else is going on... Time magazine found a picture of President Obama at his high school prom back in 1979. Let me tell you how long ago that was. Back then, Obama had to ask a girl for her phone number. He couldn't illegally obtain it through the Justice Department. He's with friends and their dates. Those girls in Kenya are very good looking.  It is not looking good for President Obama. His teleprompter took the Fifth. In fact, the White House has changed its slogan from "Yes, we can" to "No, I can't remember."  The latest scandal in Washington, of course, is raising questions about the IRS. You know, I have a question. Why is it called the Internal Revenue Service? How is having your money confiscated a service? A Democratic congressman said that he worries that the IRS scandal might have a chilling effect on the IRS and that they might be afraid to audit people. So finally some good is coming out of all of this.  Pope Francis made an extremely controversial statement. He says he believes anyone can go to heaven if you do good deeds, even atheists. Some Catholics were upset by his comments because it means we wasted a lot of Sundays going to church. It would be fun to let atheists into heaven if for no other reason than to see the look on their faces when they get there. Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia the head of the religious police said he believes that Saudi citizens who use Twitter will go to hell. Let me get this straight. Tweeting leads to damnation. But filling a palace with kidnapped beauty contestants... that's okay?  Amtrak trains may soon have special cars where passengers can sit with their pets. Though it'll be awkward when you try to talk to your cat and he just slips on his headphones.  Justin Bieber is apparently making guests at his parties sign a contract promising not to post pictures of it on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. When they heard that, MySpace was like, "We're back, baby!"  A woman in New Jersey just found her missing dog after she grilled pork in her backyard and he came home because of the smell. Unfortunately, he was immediately shoved out of the way by Governor Chris Christie.  Okay, I have to mention this, last weekend I posted this picture on the Phile of Kelly Clarkson...

It was taken last year in Disneyland, not Disney's Hollywood Studios where I work... thank God. Anyway, I keep thinking about the Chewbacca hat she put on for the picture. If she didn't buy it then someone bought a hat that Kelly wore. Holy shit. Whoever did that... Okay, I just realized, not I'm sounding all pervey. But think about it, kids. At the Studios yesterday I found the same hat and did the same thing, so someone will buy a hat that I wore. I'll post a picture of it at the bottom of the entry in a bit.  It's Memorial Day, and last year I showed you a Star Wars themed Memorial Day picture, so I think I'll show it again.

At Star Wars Weekends at Disney I was excited to see they are selling inspirational posters.

Yeah!  Alright, one of the things I do in my spare time is to look up different things on Twitter to see what people are talking about. One of those things I look up is Star Tours, the attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios where I work.

That's disgusting. You know what is not disgusting? Slave Leia. This past Saturday was Return of the Jedi's 30th anniversary, which means 30 years we have had Slave Leia in our lives. So this month I am, paying tribute to Slave Leia here on the Phile. This is for you, fellas...


Man alive, you owe me fellas. Let's go from this to some sad news...

Ray Manzarek
Feb 12, 1939 - May 20, 2013
Broke on through to the other side.

If you find it email me at Alright, I am pleased to announce again one of the most popular characters I ever had on the Phile. He's an intergalactic comedian, and part-time bounty hunter. Please welcome back to the Phile for one last time this year, from the Outer Rim...


Tractor: Thank you. what did the Jedi say at the barbeque?

Me: I don't know.

Tractor: Who died?

Me: Oh, because they burnt Vader? That's not really funny.

Tractor: Why did the dianoga cross the road?

Me: I have no idea.

Tractor: To get to the gutter side!

Me: Tractor, I get it, but some people might not know what a dianoga is.

Tractor: Here is a picture then...

Me: It's the creature from the trash compactor, kids, if you still don't know. Do you have one more, Tract?

Tractor: How do you know Luke Skywalker was an environmentalist?

Me: I don't know.

Tractor: He decided to go green.

Me: I don't get that one.

Tractor: Nerf herder, his lightsaber was green.

Me: Oh, yeah. Still not funny. Do you have a limerick to finish off with today?

Tractor: Sure. Something to think about this Summer... While tracking the last pure-blood Mando, the Tatooine heat got to Lando, he got no relief, from boxers or briefs, and ended up going commando.

Me: That was clever, Tractor, but what the hell is a Mando? You made that up.

Tractor: A Mando sometimes referred to simply as Mandalorian, which is what I am as well as Boba Fett.

Me: Oh, that's a stretch. Tractor Beam, everybody!

Tractor: Don't eat the Bantha. See ya next year, womprats!

Well, as you know there's three different scandals going on in Washington, and Obama is in big trouble. So, I thought I would invite someone on the Phile who can give us a perspective on what's really happening. So, please welcome back to the Phile, Communications Director for the Democratic National Committee... Brad Woodhouse.

Me: Hello, Brad, welcome back to the Phile. So, do you think this whole mess is just the Republicans getting in the President's way, that they are making things worse on purpose?

Brad: Jason, getting in President Obama's way has been the top priority for Republicans in Congress since day one.

Me: So, why are things worse of now for the President?

Brad: Now they've gone too far.

Me: How so?

Brad: They've been caught red-handed making up so-called 'scandals' out of thin air to stir up false rumors of vast 'cover-ups' happening in the White House.

Me: Okay, but did they find a single shred of evidence to back up their outrageous claims?

Brad: No.

Me: So, they're making shit up? That's a little hard to believe, Brad. I mean there's proof about the whole Benghazi scandal, that's not made up.

Brad: Rather than let the truth stand in their way, Republicans actually doctored emails between administration officials about Benghazi.

Me: Hmmm... and how did the press find out?

Brad: They released them to the press, trying to pass them off as real in order to create their scandal. Fortunately, they got caught in the act when the White House released all of the actual emails.

Me: While Republican leaders were focused on stirring up controversy, Michele Bachmann was talking about impeaching President Obama. Why? What is the reason for impeaching him?

Brad: For absolutely no reason.

Me: There has to be a reason, Brad. People don't just decide to impeach the President for no reason. They are against Omabacare as well, right?

Brad: YesRepublicans in the House voted to repeal Obamacarefor the 37th time. That's how they think they should be spending their time and your money.

Me: So, what do you want to tell my readers and the nation, Brad?

Brad: That you won't let Republican games distract you from advocating for real change that will benefit all Americans. Stand with President Obama today

Me: It's time to stop playing political games and get back to work for the American people, Brad.

Brad: Yes, it's time for them to do their damn jobs.

Me: Well, good luck, and I hope Obama survives all this mess.

Brad: Thanks

Me: Brad Woodhouse, kids.

The 31st artist to be pheatured in the P.P.A.G. is Phile Alum Michael Banks, and this is one of his pieces...

Michael will be a guest on the Phile next Sunday.

Today's pheatured guest is the lead singer and one half of the band The GoAround whose album "Restating the Question" is available on iTunes right now. Please welcome to the Phile... Alex Saddic.

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

Alex: Wonderful!

Me: So, you two in The GoAround are brothers, right? You are not the first sibling band I interviewed, there seems to be a lot out there. Are you twins?

Alex: Haha, no we are not. People ask us that all of the time, though. There is actually a two year difference between us.

Me: So, which one of you is the oldest?

Alex: I am older. I am 21, Anthony is still only 19.

Me: Alright, whose idea outta you two to form a band together?

Alex: I had formed the band with a few friends a year or two before we actually let Anthony into the band, haha. But one by one everybody else got cycled out and now it’s just the two of us!

Me: I said it a hundred times before on the Phile, it amazes me how any sibling or husband and wife can work together side by side. You two must of been close growing up, right?

Alex: Oh lord, not at all! Ha! As little kids we fought all of the time. We hated each other for the longest time. I originally had no intent of letting Anthony into the band at all until my mom finally convinced me otherwise. Being in the band together brought us together in a big way though and now we are very close. We definitely still fight though, haha, but it’s not nearly as often. Anyone with siblings knows exactly what I’m talking about.

Me: So, which one of you is more talented? LOL.

Alex: Oh my, haha. I would say that I am a stronger songwriter, but Anthony is a significantly better musician. I stick to chords and fun little riffs, but that guy can shred on the keys like nobody’s business!

Me: One of you plays guitar and the other one plays keyboards, am I right?

Alex: Yeah. I play guitar and sing lead. Anthony does piano/keyboards and sings harmonies.

Me: You are both really talented musicians, but who does the songwriting in the band?

Alex: I write all of the songs initially, and then we play them together and work out more interesting arrangements together.

Me: You said The GoAround is just you two?

Alex: Yup!

Me: I have to ask you about the band name, it sounds never new wavish, but you kids weren't even born when new wave happened, and you look more grunge anyway. Where did the name come from?

Alex: It was important to me to have a band name that said something about me personally, since the songs are the story of my life. At the same time though, I wanted it to represent the whole band and the music that we make. A go-around is when a pilot coming down for a landing decides to go back up and begin the landing procedure over again. As a pilot in training and a lover of the sky, the name is derived from a passion of mine, flying. Symbolically, however, it represents the overall message of human empowerment that we hope to convey as a band. It metaphorically represents the idea that our goals and plans don’t always work out the way that we intend, but we can always try again. One message that I really hope to express through our music is that failure is never final and that nobody should ever give up on their own happiness, and that self expression is of paramount importance to personal growth, growth within relationships, and even to social/economic growth.

Me: That's deep. Let's talk about your album "Restating the Question". What question would that be?

Alex: In 2010 we recorded an album called “Lifeboat.” At the time I was about to graduate high school, Anthony was still a sophomore, and the rest of the band was getting ready to leave to go to college. Things were sort of falling apart for the band, and Anthony and I were not happy with the recording quality of “Lifeboat.” We went into a studio to re-record the album, but after 6 months and $3,000 it fell through and we never finished. Finally almost two years after “Lifeboat,” we recorded the songs in our basement and were really happy with the outcome. This albums purpose is to motivate people to discover and chase the things that make them happy. Everybody finds happiness somewhere different, but in the end, happiness is what everybody is trying to find. The “question” is stated as the last lyric of the album in the song “Amber Skies.” The question is “I just want to know, have we been looking for the same thing?” And the answer is yes, we are all looking for happiness, completeness and meaning. Since these songs have been recorded so many times before, these recordings are all restated and matured versions of the old ones, hence “Restating the Question.”

Me: I love the album, Alex. It has a rock feel with a slight bluesy sound. Who are your influences musically?

Alex: This question is always so hard to answer because we truly do listen to just about everything. We love rock, pop, hip hop/rap, classical, metal and electronic music. We draw influence from everything we hear. If we hear a song and we love it, we say, “let’s do something like that!” If we hear a something we hate, we’ll say, “Let’s never do that.” I like to think that we are open minded, and that we can learn and draw influence from any music. Both of us really admire and respect Bono and Dave Grohl, though. On some level we both aspire to follow in the footsteps of both of those men, but musically we hope to be original and to forge our own path.

Me: Are you both into the same bands?

Alex: Yeah. We both like everything. In general though I tend to lean towards hard rock and pop and Anthony towards blues/jazz/classical. But we almost never disagree on what to listen to because we both are musically so easy to please.

Me: I have to ask you about the song "Her Love is Like Glass". What does that mean? Is she breakable? Can you see through it?

Alex: This song is about the fragility of romance. In the context of the situation that inspired me to write this song, it is about loving somebody who has doubts about whether or not they want to uphold their commitment. During periods of doubt within relationships it seems that the slightest miscommunications can lead to their demise, while the smallest gestures of love and kindness can serve to restore a mutual confidence in the success of the relationship. Much like romance, glass can be beautiful and decorative, but is fragile nonetheless. When given a solid place to stand, glass structures can be admired as works of art or useful as tools and utensils. When dropped or carelessly placed, however, they are prone to shatter, leaving behind dangerous shards.

Me: And there's a song on the album called "Amber Skies" which you mentioned. Is that a woman named Amber Skies? It's a great name. You're probably talking about the color of the actual sky though, I'm guessing.

Alex: It’s a little bit of both actually, haha. I originally had written a song called "Amber Skies" about a girl named Amber that I had a crush on in elementary/middle school, but I rewrote it years later about something totally different. The version of the song on the album is about a person seeking value. It’s about someone who feels so small and insignificant when they try to comprehend the beauty and the vastness of the sky. The character in the song is questioning the value of the influence that a single person can have on the world. I do believe that if you can change the world for one person that you are still changing the world. I believe that every person on earth has the potential to better the world one way or another.

Me: I want a character on the Phile named Amber Skies... it almost sounds like a stripper or porno name. I already have one character named Eve Rest. That's a cool name, right?

Alex: Haha, yeah it’s clever!

Me: You two are from Pennsylvania, right? What part? My wife is from the Harrisburg area.

Alex: We are from West Chester, Pennsylvania. It’s about an hour and a half from Harrisburg. It’s a nice place. We like it here.

Me: Ever been to Aroogas? They have the best nacho and bean appetizer/meal ever.

Alex: No, we have not! We will have to check it out!

Me: Are you both out of school? Will you be touring at all?

Alex: We are, and yes we will!

Me: Have you started writing for the new album yet?

Alex: We have finished writing for the new album! We hope to begin recording ASAP!

Me: Alright, so, on the Phile I ask random questions from a box of cards called Tabletopics. Are you  ready? What's the most significant problem facing the world? That is kinda a deep question, I'm sorry.

Alex: I think its greed. I think greed for power is the root of most social issues, and greed for money/things is the root of most economic issues. That is something that I feel very strongly about, which is why I write songs about human empowerment. If people could learn to love themselves and to find happiness in togetherness and constructive action rather than in possessions and control, the world would be full of so much more love and freedom.

Me: Great answer. Thanks, Alex, for being on the Phile. Go ahead and plug your website and please come back again soon. I hope this go around was fun. LOL.

Alex: Thanks for having us!,,

There you go, that about does it for this entry of the Phile and Star Wars Month. Thanks to Brad Woodhouse and Alex Saddic from The GoAround. The Phile will be back next Sunday with Phile Alum and artist Michael Banks and on Monday with singer April Kae. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Strawberry Blondes Forever!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Pheaturing Samuel Saint Thomas From Bovine Social Club

Hello, kids, welcome to the Peverett Phile Into Darkness. I know, I know, this month is dedicated to Star Wars, not Star Trek. Your eyes can deceive you; don't trust them.  This week will mark the 37th time House Republicans have tried to repeal Obamacare. If Republicans really wanted to do away with Obamacare they should just endorse it as a conservative non-profit and let the IRS take it down. President Obama announced the appointment of a new acting commissioner of the IRS... the other guy was fired. See, they're called "acting commissioner" because you have to act like the scandal doesn't involve the White House.  A lot of critics are now comparing President Obama to President Nixon. The good news for Obama? At least he's no longer being compared to President Carter. It has not been a good week for President Obama. You've got Benghazi, the IRS scandal, this AP records scandal, and, worst of all, his Chicago Bulls got eliminated by the Miami Heat. Do you know what that means? LeBron James is going to get audited by the IRS.  The White House released 99 pages of emails on trouble in Benghazi... and one shirtless tweet from Anthony Weiner.  So, how's the weather where you are? It's so hot in Florida I was sweating like President Obama at a press conference. That last joke has been seized by the Department of Justice.  You can now get breakfast at Taco Bell. They have a breakfast waffle taco. You get your scrambled egg, and your sausage covered with maple syrup, all wrapped in a waffle taco. And it also comes with lap-band surgery. I would rather have a lap dance surgery.  A 7-year-old boy wrote a letter to the vice president. He wrote: "I think guns should shoot chocolate bullets so no one will get killed and no one will be sad." Guns that shoot chocolate bullets would be a great way to liven up an Easter egg hunt, wouldn't it? The sad part is that's the first letter Joe Biden has received since he took office.  I referenced the much-anticipated Star Trek movie at the top of the Phile. It made about $100 million this weekend. That's a lot, but imagine how much it would make if the people buying tickets were going with dates. Most Star Trek fans are men, or a reasonable facsimile.  I forgot to mention this yesterday, who saw the finale of "American Idol"? It was the finale of the lowest-rated season in "American Idol" history. You could tell the show was in trouble when they said, "The winner is what's-her-face."  Eagles' offensive lineman Evan Mathis posted a picture on Instagram that shows him relieving himself on an IRS building with a caption that says, "Audit this!" Or as the IRS said, "OK, see you tomorrow at noon."  This week, Oscar Mayer introduced a new hot dog with bacon cooked right into it. Or as Chris Christie put it, "Is it possible to reverse that lap-band procedure?" I am gonna have to try that hot dog.  Alright, so, last night I went to see the new Star Trek movie, and I was surprised at something. I know J.J. Abrams is gonna be directing the new Star Wars movie as well, but I think he got the two films mixed up... or something. Check this screenshot out.

As you can see they paid no expense on the set. Now that Disney owns the rights to the Star Wars franchise and characters, I don't think they are using them in the right way.

In an odd way I kinda like it. LOL.  So, they announced that Chewbacca is gonna be in the next Star Wars film, but I don't like the changes they made to him.

Let's just skip with the whole guy in the suit thing.  Now, as I mentioned, Obama is in a lot of trouble, but I think he hired somebody to help him out.

I dunno what a bounty hunter is gonna be able to do... but so be it.  In my spare time I like to get on Twitter and look up certain words. Well, this month I have been looking to see what people are saying about Star Tours, the ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios I work at. This is the latest Tweet I saw about Star Tours.

Tiffany has a good point. What it is, I don't know.  Alright, this year is the 30th anniversary of Return of the Jedi the movie that gave us Jabba the Hutt, Luke in his black outfit, the Ewoks, and of course... Slave Leia. So, all this month I am honoring that great creation. Enjoy.

And now from the home office on Coruscant, here is this week's...

Top Phive Reasons Star Wars Is Better Than Star Trek
5. In the Star Wars universe, weapons rarely, if ever, are set on stun.
4. The Enterprise needs a huge engine room with an anti-matter unit and a crew of twenty just to go into warp... the Millennium Falcon does the same thing with R2-D2 and a Wookiee.
3. Luke Skywalker is not obsessed with sleeping with every alien he encounters.
2. The Federation would have to attempt to liberate any ship named Slave I.
And the number one reason Star Wars is better than Star Trek...
1. One word: lightsabers.

Science fiction's job, one that demands as much attention as the genre's other duties to extremely important stuff like lasers, space monsters and dodging asteroids, is to tell stories about Right Now from a vantage point of The Future... or the past if you're talking about, say, "Mad Men". So it makes sense that this latest cinematic installment of the alternate timeline incarnation of the Star Trek saga would be full of ambivalent/contemporary feelings about war, specifically war with an enemy whose identity and motives are hidden and whose ASS WE MUST KICK TO DEATH.  This time around the USS Enterprise crew (Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin) meets its enemy in Benedict Cumberbatch, as John Harrison, a Starfleet officer on a "9/11 was an inside job" style mission to boldly make chaos so that he can wreck everything and prevail. I'm glossing over details, obviously; this is a film built on several levels of somewhat unsurprising surprise and occasionally not-making-any-sense plot details and you should experience them for yourself. But you can know that it involves ideas about wars started over vendettas, political assassination without due process, preemptive attacks and the swallowing up of peaceful entities into the hungry-hungry piehole of militarism. This then begs the question: what do you want from Star Trek?  If your answer is you want old-school talky "Star Trek" and you hate anything that isn't old-school talky "Star Trek", then you're never going to be satisfied. You'll probably also never be as angry as a Star Wars fan, though, so you can at least feel good about that.  If your answer is that you want a blast of a summer movie, then congratulations, you win in a way. As exhilarating gut-level boomboomBOOM objects go, it's a big, exciting success. It noisily rumbles and explodes and shoots and soars with the kind of action sequences you remember long afterward and want to see happen again. It also delivers terrific performances from the ensemble, notably Quinto as Spock and Cumberbatch, who seems to love his own evil in just the right measure. There are story problems, though, those moments you think about after the most recent satisfying crunch or crash, or maybe after the credits roll and you're talking it over with friends. Those problems create questions that start with, "Hey, what about ______ and the ______?" They're the kind that make you wonder if what you saw was actually any good or not.  But Star Trek Into Darkness isn't just a mechanical plot or a collection of awesome action sequences. In spite of the dark themes of conflict and the Enterprise's appropriate role in that conflict, there's also a lightness and playfulness thanks to director J.J. Abrams, working from a script by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof. Abrams incorporates the doom with a less heavy hand than you'd expect because the whole of the thing relies on more than a grim battle mentality. It relies on community. Star Trek has always been a kind of workplace drama about the dynamics of human (and Vulcan and Klingon and Tribble and sexy green lady) interaction, the How-To of all of us just getting the heck along. This automatically makes it more personal, about a kind of longing rather than about the nuts-and-bolts of technical plausibility. So one of the things we want from Star Trek is what Abrams wants, too... a model for teamwork and sacrifice, friendship and connection.  Superheroes in film are often functionally post-human. We can love them but we can never be them. But the Enterprise crew is something else. Called into superhero-style conflict, they're also clearly people in the non-superpower-having sense, regardless of what planet they come from. They evoke empathy much more quickly than Iron Man or The Hulk because they're easier to recognize. And what makes Abrams' vision for these characters memorable and lovable is that living, breathing, feeling stuff. It gives the space monsters (and villains with secret identities) something to fight against, something noble to balance their tragedy. The Enterprise crew is in this with you, fighting the good (and occasionally thoroughly head-scratch-making) fight. Now if they'd just get on with that five-year mission already. From one to 10, I give it a 9.

It is 11:03, 81 degrees and Kelly is rocking a Chewbacca hat.

Damn, I love that picture. Alright, so are you ready? He's an intergalactic comedian straight from the Outer Rim. Please welcome back to the Phile...

Tractor: Knock knock.

Me: Who's there.

Tractor: Beru.

Me: Beru who?

Tractor: Why are you crying?

Me: Good one. And I'm not crying, I just have a cold.

Tractor: Here's new joke for you. Shortly after the Invasion of Naboo, the newly-elected Chancellor Palpatine is invited to a special Gungan ceremony. He will be the first of the Naboo to visit the Gungan Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Palpatine arrives at the Sacred Place, and is greeted by Boss Nass, who leads him into a dank mausoleum. In the center is a large stone burial chamber, with the following words etched into its side: “The Unknown Soldier: Ganne Bopals, Gooba Fisherman.” “I don’t understand,” says Palpatine, “Why is Ganne Bopals buried here? I was told this is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier!” “It ees the Tomb-a of the Unknown Soldier,” replies Boss Nass. “As a soldier, Bopals was nobody. But as a fisherman, he was-a famous!”

Me: Very funny, Tract. Any more?

Tractor: What was the Cantina Band's favorite store?

Me: Favorite store? I have no idea.

Tractor: Bed Bith & Beyond.

Me: That's good. Okay, any new limericks? My readers love your limericks.

Tractor: His Padawan wasn't behaving, and the galaxy sure needed saving, so when he was knighted, Obi-Wan decided, he didn't have time to keep shaving.

 Me: Well done.

Tractor: Thank you, don't eat the Bantha!

The 31st artist to be pheatured in the Phile's Art Gallery is Michael Banks, and this is one of his pieces...

Michael will be a guest on the Phile real soon.

Today's guest is a a former monk morphed into a writer, songwriter, musician, and professor by overexposure to hedonism, and the lead singer for the great new band Bovine Social Club who will be making their next appearance at Sarah Street Grill in Stroudsburg, PA on June 8th. Please welcome to the Phile... Samuel Saint Thomas!

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

Samuel: Doin' quite well, I'd say. Very busy with the BSC project.

Me: I have to tell you I discovered you from the Graham Parker tribute album "Piss and Vinegar". That was released years ago, but was just rereleased. How did you come to be a part of that album, Samuel?

Samuel: I'd been slumming around the NJ songwriter scene with my buddy Tim Carbone. Carbone's band Kings in Disguise was invited on the record. I don't remember, maybe Tim put in a good word, because, then Bye or Die Records came calling. 

Me: Were you aware of Graham's work before hand?

Samuel: I'd maybe heard a song or two on the radio. Of course, I ran out and picked up a few discs and love them.

Me: Did you choose "Mr. Tender" to do, or was that song given to you?

Samuel: The label gave us free range. I picked it out of the lineup.

Me: Have you met GP, or heard what he thinks of your version?

Samuel: Never met the guy, no! Would love to!

Me: I just downloaded the Bovine Social Club album from iTunes and really enjoyed it. That's your new band, right?

Samuel: Why thanks, glad you like it. Yes, sir!

Me: Where did the name of the band come from? There's not one cow in the band.

Samuel: Well, as it usually goes, you sit around making a list. Everyone throws one down, you know. My partner, Sara made that contribution. So the co-founder and I went for a beer and I said, "We're not gonna stop drinking till we have a name." I Googled the whole list on my phone and Bovine Social Club got zero hits. That's how we knew! Besides, cows are pretty cool.

Me: In the past you had your own solo albums out, so why start a band now?

Samuel: I had to get out the house and away from my book. I wanted some musical buddies too. Plus the idea of a band is so much more fun than the singer/songwriter thing. I hate playing alone too. Despise it. And besides, playing again was the only way to get Jeff Barg to shut up. He wanted to play again about as bad as I did.

Me: I'm glad you did, because I love the album. Did you write all the songs on it, sir?

Samuel: Thanks, man. I wrote all the songs except the old country song, "Ninety Miles."

Me: You mentioned the book you're working on called "Frying Spam and Other Things to do Before the Rapture"... I want it to be a part of the Phile's Book Club when it comes out. When did you decide to write a book, Samuel?

Samuel: I'd written a couple two three personal narratives in grad school and it sort of bounced from there. That made me happy so I wrote more of them. Soon enough it started looking like a book.

Me: The book is about your life, am I right?

Samuel: Yes it is. Kind of a K-12 romp.

Me: It's pretty entertaining and funny what I read so far on your website. Was that your goal to make people laugh?

Samuel: Well, sort of. I had no interest at all in using a psych lens, bleeding on paper. When I'd tell people stuff about growing up they'd laugh. So I went with that. It's still sad.

Me: Are your parents still alive? What do they think of the book?

Samuel: Both of my parents passed just before I started the book. I can only imagine what they'd think.

Me: Where did the title come from? Do you like Spam? I never tried it myself.

Samuel: I ate lots of Spam as a kid. It smells like dog food. That's all I can say about that. And see, there's all these things I did so I was ready for Jesus when he came in the rapture.

Me: How long did it take to write the book so far?

Samuel: Well, I put about 30 hours a week into it over two years before setting it aside because, surprisingly, the band took off. I'm jonesin' now to brush it up and send it back to the agent.

Me: So, what do you prefer, playing music or writing?

Samuel: Hmmm. Good one. Writing is by far less work in collaboration and investment. But it's lonely. And it doesn't matter because I can do both so I don't really have to kick one to the curb.

Me: You also write poetry, right? Have you published any of your poetry?

Samuel: I had quite a few pieces published in college, some even in German. Never sent anything out since. I guess that hat doesn't fit right now. Stay tuned.

Me: Is that when you started to song write?

Samuel: No, I wrote a few in high school. Then much later I became interested again.

Me: So, any poetry you'd like to share with my readers?

Samuel: There's a few pieces floating around the interwebs if you're clever.

Me: You are also a professor. I had a few professors on the Phile over the years. What do you teach and where, Samuel?

Samuel: Yep, I teach four or five writing and lit classes a year at a lovely community college in PA. It's quite relaxing.

Me: Did you go to school to study to be a teacher or professor?

Samuel: Well, yes, I have the oddball MFA terminal degree in non-fiction with big college loans to prove it.

Me: Where are you from originally? Where do you live now?

Samuel: I grew up in Coatesville, Pa. My father pastored a church there. Some call it the armpit of the world. Now I live in the woods outside New York City. Mowing grass is pretty stupid.

Me: Is that where Bovine Social Club is based?

Samuel: BSC's members are pretty spread out, so we have a home base and studio just west of NYC as well.

Me: I also read you are an accidental philosopher as well. Me too! Just kidding. What does it take to be a philosopher?

Samuel: Oh that, yeah. Doesn't it mean that one does a fair amount of examining life? Perhaps the makeup of a person that gets a rash from bullshit? And so as to know how to ask the questions, it doesn't hurt having a philosophy degree either.

Me: And what is an accidental one?

Samuel: I say that because I'd never considered that I was one at all until I'd taken a couple classes in Philosophy, sort of like finding beauty in the unexpected. The department head called me in and said, "You're a philosophy major." So by accident, I was found to be good at the search for truth, what little there is.

Me: Years ago, you recorded an album with a young singer named Krista Long. Where do I know that name from?

Samuel: Can't help ya there, buddy.

Me: Maybe I'm getting her confused with somebody else. Do you still talk to her? Does she still make music?

Samuel: She made one album, had six sold out shows, then disappeared. I heard she went off to do resort style broadway. I've Googled her once a year for ten years. Nothing. I've even thought about putting her name on milk cartons. She probably only got married.

Me: We will find her, and get her on the Phile. How long have you been a musician, Samuel? 

Samuel: According to legend, I started singing before I was potty trained! My dad sort of taught me piano. Whenever I'd screw up he'd hit me with something or just walk out of the room. So that didn't go too well. When I turned 12 or so, my dad bought me an upright bass. But my bass teacher was usually drunk and took up most of the cubicle with his big belly. So I mostly taught myself. I played in church and in my family band. That was great. The people were all so wrapped up in Jesus that they never noticed how horrid my playing was. Eventually I bought a guitar and that was that.

Me: What music did you grow up listening to?

Samuel: My dad was a professional jazz kat before he was a preacher, so Jelly Roll Morton, saved and sanctified. My sister played hillbilly gospel 45s, every day, all day!

Me: So, now the BSC album is out, are you guys gonna be recording a new album?

Samuel: We'd sure like to one-up ourselves. It's too early to say when though. The whole disc sales thing has gone south though. Stay tuned.

Me: And are you planning on writing any more?

Samuel: I lived off the grid for three years in the eighties. While teaching H.D.Thoreau I realized I'd put him to shame in mastering the simple living thing in an even much more modern world. So yeah, there's a book in there somewhere, no?

Me: I have to ask you about this, Samuel, you met the Dali Lama and Pope John Paul II? Where did these take place? Any other religious heads you met?

Samuel: I've met a whole lot of so called holy luminaries. Worked side by side. Of all places, the Dali Lama in NJ. And of course the Pope in Rome. I was invited to a mass as part of a group Catholicly curious Americans. He sought me out of the group.

Me: How were the meetings? You guys probably didn't talk, right?

Samuel: The Lama didn't say anything. Just to sit with him is a big deal. As for the Pope, I assure you it was a short exchange, maybe thirty seconds. But that's a big deal when you're a busy guy I suppose. I'm still in awe, and not knowing why.

Me: Man, Samuel, you lived an exciting life, and have done so much. What's the earliest most craziest unusual thing you did?

Samuel: Coon huntin'. I was eight I think. Yes, huntin' coon with Melvin.

Me: My father was Lonesome Dave from Foghat, and I worked for the Disney company for 25 years, and did this Phile blog for 7, and I met BB King. My life is still dull compared to yours. What about the other members of BSC? Any of them lived an exciting life like yours?

Samuel: I think they'd have to answer that, cause I suppose it would be a case of relativity, no? But you? In the belly of rock and roll is about as interesting as it gets. I can only wish.

Me: Thanks. Okay, on the Phile I ask random questions I get from a game called Tabletopics. Are you ready? Which other culture would you choose to be born into?

Samuel: For five bucks I'll take French. The cafe nation. Nice long naps and leggy women. What works for Sartre, works for me.

Me: Samuel, thanks for being on the Phile. Go ahead and plug your websites and please come back soon. All the best, Samuel. 

Samuel: Thanks, man. Be well and do good work.,

That about does it for this entry. Thanks to Samuel for a great interview. I would love to have him back on the Phile soon. Speaking of, the Phile will be back next Monday with Alex Saddic from The GoAround. On Sunday Logan and I are going to Star Wars Weekends. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Strawberry Blondes Forever!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pheaturing Navy Skies

Uh, we had a slight weapons malfunction, but uh… everything’s perfectly all right now. We’re fine. We’re all fine here now, thank you. Uh, how are you? Welcome to the Peverett Phile where it's Star Wars Month all through May. The Phile has a new sponsor, kids.

Man, I could use a Guinness right now. I have a head cold and a sore throat. I feel like I have been hanging out on Hoth. That's a cold planet covered in snow in case you didn't know.  Last night I went to see Paul McCartney in concert. It was a fantastic concert, and my third time seeing him. Paul said Lennon was the soul of the Beatles, Harrison was the spirit and Ringo was the... drummer. I don't know what Paul really thinks of Ringo but it was odd when he sang "I'm fixing a hole... for Ringo to fall into." He also sang, "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 all good children buy my albums." I mentioned last week Paul did a show in Brazil and the stage was covered in grasshoppers. Well, last night in Orlando another bug appeared on stage with him.

That's so stupid. LOL. Paul must've known Star Wars Weekends is happening at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Check out this inspirational poster he was selling.

What else is going on?  This past week marks the 40th anniversary of the Watergate hearings. For those of you too young to remember, back then the administration had an enemies list. They were spying on reporters, and they used the IRS to harass groups they didn’t like. Thank God those days are gone forever. A lot of critics are comparing President Obama to President Richard Nixon, which is unfair. Nixon's unemployment rate was only 5 percent.  Have you folks been paying attention to what's going on in Washington? This whole IRS thing has become a huge story. They apparently were targeting conservative groups like the tea party. You know it's bad when President Obama says, "Hey, why don’t we talk about Benghazi?" In a matter of six weeks we have three big scandals, and it looks like President Obama and all his buddies in the White House may go to prison. Finally, some good news for the Romney campaign. They see Benghazi as a real powder keg. This scandal, they believe, may go as high as Dennis Rodman. Here's the problem. When you get scandals in Washington... like the IRS, Benghazi, and the FBI, it really gets in the way of not getting things done. If they don't fix these crises pretty soon, honest to God, it could bring gridlock to a screeching halt.  The National Aquarium in Washington is going to close. But don't worry. If you're in D.C. and you still want to smell something fishy, stop by the White House. They've gone from "Change you can believe in" to "Changing the story until you believe it." Man, President Obama is not having a good week. With three scandals shaking the White House, they're saying this is one of the worst weeks of Obama's presidency. Obama was like, “How could things get worse?” And Joe Biden was like, “You rang?”  A town in Minnesota has appointed a 4-year-old boy to be its mayor. People got pretty annoyed when he said his first plan was "waising taxes." Next season “Dancing With the Stars” will be cut back from two nights a week to just one... while "American Idol" will be cut back from two nights a week to a puppet show at Ryan Seacrest's house.  O.J. Simpson took the witness stand. He's serving up to 33 years on armed robbery, assault, and kidnapping charges. He won't be eligible for parole until 2017 and who knows if we'll even have "Dancing With the Stars" by then. The most notable thing to come out of the trial is that O.J. has put on a lot of weight in prison. I think he found the real killers and ate them. He's hoping if he's granted a retrial they'll let him serve the remainder of his sentence under Waffle House arrest.  I think I know what is causing the problems in Washington with Obama. Check this exclusive photo out to see who Obama is working with.

What the hell is he building?  You know, one scene that always bothered me in the original Star Wars film is this...

The lightsaber goes through Luke's eye and Obi-Wan just sits back with his arms crossed. Also, when Luke asked Obi-Wan what happened to his dad, Obi-Wan should of been more honest. He should of told Luke, "I chopped off his arms, legs and through him into burning lava."  Now that Disney owns the rights to the Star Wars movies, they are already thinking of really using it. Check out this sketch from the new Pixar movie.

One of the things I love to do in my spare time is to go on Twitter and look up certain things. One of those things I look up is Star Tours, the ride where I work at. Check this Tweet out what I saw recently.


Star Tours combo? I got the Star Tours combo in my pants. What am I saying? I apologize.  This year is the 30th anniversary of Return of the Jedi. That movie of course brought us Salacious Crumb, the Max Rebo Band, Jabba the Hutt... and Slave Leia. All through May I am honoring Slave Leia here on the Phile. This is for you, fellas.

Alright, now to see who booked a one-way ticket to Dirt City.

Dick Trickle
Oct 27, 1941 - May 16, 2013
Race car driver? Really? How was he not a porn star?

Billy Sol Estes 
Jan 10, 1925 - May 14, 2013
You know when you sometimes refer to someone as a "dirty, lowlife, thieving, scumbag, huckster asshole"? This was the guy that coined that phrase.

Dr. Joyce Brothers
Oct 20, 1927 - May 13, 2013
Over the years she changed the name of her show from "The Dr. Joyce Brothers Show" to "Consult Dr. Brothers" to "Tell Me, Dr. Brothers" to "Ask Dr. Brothers" to "Living Easy with Dr. Joyce Brothers", and now, finally to "Lying Perfectly Still with Dr. Joyce Brothers".

Man, that picture of the two Slave Leia's was too much. Forget the rest of this entry. I wonder if there's another picture like that.

Talking about a mind phuck. I wonder if there's another...

Okay, that's enough. I can't take it anymore. LOL. Anyway, back to the Mind Phuck. If you spot it email me Alright, I am pleased to welcome back to the Phile the intergalactic comedian from the Outer Rim, the one and only...

Tractor: Hello, nerf herders. How many Jawas takes it take to change a lightbulb? 

Me: Um... I dunno.

Tractor: Two. One to change the bulb, and the other to stay verrrrrry still while he gets a new eye.

Me: That's dumb, Tractor.

Tractor: What was Mace Windu's favorite movie?

Me: Gone With the Wind? Rear Window? I don't know.

Tractor: The Color Purple.

Me: Oh, because of his lightsaber. That's lame, Tractor.

Tractor: Here's another one. Why did General Grievous go to the doctors?

Me: His cough?

Tractor: No, he had a bad case of heartburn.

Me: He did? I don't get it.

Tractor: Look.

Me: That's still dumb. Okay, Tract, so your limericks for some reason are popular. Do you have another one for us before you go?

Tractor: The Princess made one final push, to rescue Han disguised as Boussh, but when her plan failed, her face was unveiled, as well as her legs, chest and tush.

Me: Tractor Beam, everybody!

Tractor: Don't eat the Bantha.

 The 31st artist to be pheatured in the Phile's art gallery is Phile Alum Michael Banks, and this is one of his pieces...

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

Today's guests are the kids from the Canadian band Navy Skies whose new single "Cut My Teeth" is now available on Bandcamp and iTunes. They will be next appearing at May Zaphod Beeblebrox in Ottawa, Canada on May 24th. There's a club called Zaphod Beeblebrox?! How fucking cool. Anyway, please welcome to the Phile... Travis Caine, Kara Gauthier, Bryan Wyshnicki, Paul Cope and Gary Hazelton from Navy Skies.

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

Travis: We are well, thanks.

Kara: Thanks for having us.

Me: You're a newish band, right, that has only been around for a few years. But Travis, you've been playing for awhile. You had your own band called Travis Caine and the Lasting Effect. How long did that band last?

Travis: We’ve all been playing music for a long time and ex-members of something. In terms of the Lasting Effect, it’s still going to a certain degree. Navy Skies is really an extension of that band, which was my solo project, it’s just that the more collaborative we got the less it became about me. It’s like a distant cousin or something, all part of the same family tree.

Me: And you kids were in a band called Rebel Rebel, but changed the name to Navy Skies, is that right? I never know why bands change their names in their careers. One of my favorite bands who have been on the Phile a few times was called Whiskey Saints, but changed their name to Burning Jet Black. Why did you change your name to Navy Skies?

Bryan: We were going through a lot of changes as a band and it made sense to move forward with a different name as well.

Paul: Honestly, it was just getting way too confusing. No one knew how to pronounce it, we got sick of telling people how to pronounce it, and if you Google it you get the David Bowie song. It was just too much work, for a name.

Me: I was guessing because your band was called Rebel Rebel you are David Bowie fans.

Gary: David Bowie is incredible, though some eras are, obviously, better than others.

Paul: Yeah. "Just Dance" is an amazing song, and "Under Pressure" is probably the greatest song of all time.

Me: I cannot figure out where the name Navy Skies comes from. Who named it that and what is the meaning?

Bryan: I always hate thinking of band names. When we decided to change the name we tossed around a few ideas and eventually landed on one that we all didn’t hate. I find naming the band is the hardest part of being in a band. Ultimately, the name itself came from Travis.

Travis: Navy Skies was one of those names that really sounded like it should have been a band already. I suspect I subconsciously connected Sloan’s record, “Navy Blues,” with the band Explosions in the Sky. We all personally connected with the name for different reasons but, most importantly, we felt the imagery it conjures up fit our music. 

Me: And where did the logo of the ferris wheel come from? I think I have a picture of it here.

Travis: We’re generally pretty in-house with our design work.

Me: So, what do you play in the band, kids?

Paul: Gary Hazelton plays bass. He’s new so he gets mentioned first to boost his ego. Travis sings and plays guitar, Bryan plays guitar and also sings. Kara plays keys and sings, and I plays drums and definitely does not sing.

Me: You sound like a very close-knit band. Travis, did you pick out the band members yourself?

Travis: Our moms set up play dates.

Kara: I hand picked every one. I am the ruler.

Travis: Haha. I don’t know, we’re just a band. We came together because we like hanging out and playing music. Sometimes both at the same time.

Me: You, like most bands I have interviewed here on the Phile are from Canada. I am guessing Ontario as you have a song out called "Ontario Winds". Am I right?

Paul: Yeah, we’re from Ontario. More specifically, Caledon, Oakville, Brampton, Sudbury and Moose Factory. We can’t tell you who is from where because that will be revealed in our upcoming band biography “Spice World.”

Kara: I can tell you that nobody is from Moose Factory but Gary is from Sault Ste. Marie.

Me: I interviewed a Canadian named Adam Bentley from The Rest a few times, and it seems every Canadian I interview know Adam. Do you guys?

Paul: Adam is a great guy and most definitely a friend of the band.

Me: He's like the Godfather of Canadian indie it seems. Do you guys also know Christine Leakey?  Hmmmm. Dark Mean? Wildlife?

Gary: Kara and I are from Northern Ontario and there is a lot of wildlife up there. Moose, black bear, deer... It's exactly what you probably picture when you think of Canada. It's basically "Northern Exposure"… except not Alaskan.

Me: Every time I have a musician or band from Canada here I ask them if they are fans of one of my all-time favorite bands... Barenaked Ladies. Are you fans of there's?

Bryan: I don’t really love or hate their music. They were always just an iconic Canadian band to me. 

Travis: They know how to write a pop song, I’ll give them that. I was more of a Steven Page fan, though, so I lost interest when he left the band. It shook Canada to its core.

Me: I bet. Before we talk about your music, Kara, I have to ask, what does that tattoo say on your arm? It looks pretty long. I have a photo here of you showing some of it.

Kara: It says: “The sound it surrounds me, fill my ears, in my head, fingers and toes again. Every time I hear it, it makes me feel different, makes me long for more…” It’s part of a song I wrote when I was 16 and it has a lot of sentiment to me. Also, I have a horrible memory and I wanted to remember those lyrics when I’m 90.

Me: Alright, you have a two song single out called "Cut My Teeth" and "Ontario Winds". What does "Cut My Teeth" refer to?

Travis: It’s a line in the song and the song is about paying your dues to pursue your dreams.

Me: I like that song a lot. Which of of you kids wrote it?

Travis: I brought the general core of the song to the band and then we fleshed it out to what you hear today.

Me: How many songs did Rebel Rebel put out, or how many releases?

Bryan: We released an EP called “Be Heard” and we also released two volumes from our series called “Official Bootlegs” under the name Rebel Rebel.

Me: Is Navy Skies working on an album?

Gary: Yes. We have a number of shows lined up for the next couple of months, but we are really trying to focus our time together on writing new songs. We already have a few, and I think there is a sound developing that we are all very excited about. Whether those reveal themselves on an EP or a full length is something, I think, will be determined over time.

Me: Navy Skies has been described as "90s grunge revival". I don't know where that comes from, do you?

Paul: We have a few songs that people started calling grunge-y and I guess in the absence of another, clearer, genre association that label stuck. It really only applies to about 1/3 of our material.

Me: You don't sound very grunge like. Did any of you kids grow up listening to grunge?

Gary: I was mostly listening to old school and skate punk, but it was certainly in the air. In retrospect I especially love it; I have a definite affinity for what I think of as a 90s sound.

Paul: Yeah, I’d say we all did, in some capacity. As Gary said, I think we all sort of “moved on” from grunge to punk/indie/hardcore/etc. at some point in our teens, but with this band we’re definitely more consciously acknowledging the fact that we all grew up on Nirvana, Soundgarden and the Smashing Pumpkins.

Me: How would you describe your music?

Bryan: In a word? Honest. The songs have a lot of energy and truth behind them and I think that resonates well with our audience.

Travis: I agree with Bryan, but Gary’s the new guy, so he might have a fresh perspective on it.

Gary: Five kids who grew up on punk rock, slowed down, but still play from the heart.

Me: I like you guys, so, when your album comes out, can you come back on the Phile?

Travis: Absolutely.

Me: I like to ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics, so here goes... what's the last thing you cried about?

 Gary: It was probably some movie I was watching. I don't know what is happening as I age, but I find myself very easily affected by good film, or even television. Like that moment in Little Miss Sunshine when Paul Dano's character finds out he can't fly jets because he's colour blind, his reaction gets me every time. He's a good actor, and as a viewer you see how much he wanted it: The whole Nietzsche vow of silence thing, but then it falls a part, and he just breaks.

Travis: That’s a pretty good answer. I was going to say when Steven Page left the Barenaked Ladies.

Me: LOL. Thanks so much again, plug your websites and please come back soon. Continued success, kids.

Kara: Check us out online at, and at the band’s website Next time, I’ll bring cookies.

Me: I'll hold you to that, Kara. ; ) Navy Skies, kids!

Well, that about does it fore this entry. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Samuel St. Thomas, the lead singer from Bovine Social Club, and then next Sunday Alex Saddic from The GoAround. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Strawberry Blondes Forever!