Sunday, November 30, 2014

Pheaturing Barbara Lusch

Good evening and welcome to another entry of the Phile for a Sunday. We have to talk about something very important first. Forget Black Friday, the best value that was offered was the free peek at the first of the long-awaited sequel to Return of the Jedi, the upcoming Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. If I had enough turkey leftovers, I'd just put myself into a tryptophan coma until December 18, 2015, when The Force Awakens will be in theaters, or at least until they release a longer trailer.  The Pentagon may soon smell like lavender and perfume, if President Obama has his way. Former Department of Defense undersecretary Michèle Flournoy... who not only is a woman, but also is not a man is reportedly sitting daintily at the top of a short list of people to replace Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. Is America ready for all of its F-15E Strike Eagles to be painted a nice shade of pink? Guess we'll find out.  In case you're wondering where your subscription dollars are going, premium cable network HBO is reportedly hiring "probably 160 lawyers" to deal with an assumed onslaught of lawsuits that will accompany their upcoming film adaptation of Lawrence Wright's exposé of the highly litigious Church of Scientology. Once the aftermath of the Going Clear documentary abates, it is presumed that the team of lawyers will be dropped into a volcano by a fleet of DC-8 aircrafts. Star Wars: The Force Is Really Scientology. Haha.  Rachel McAdams has been confirmed as the female lead in the second season of HBO's critically acclaimed neo-noir show "True Detective." Fans are currently unsure if this revelation plays into the Carcosa mythos or if it is simply an illustration of a facet of the philosophical writings of Thomas Ligotti.  Okay, I mentioned the new Star Wars trailer... I loved it but I don't think they used the best special effects.

Haha. My favorite character in the trailer apart from the really cute Daisy Ridley is that soccer ball droid.

And I have no idea why this guy is in the movie...

Batman is not even owned by Disney.  Kids are getting too real these days. Blame the Internet, and its promise of "if you say something awesome and easily screenshottable, it'll go viral like crazy." At least she tried, and succeeded.

I should of saved that for a Mindphuck.  Alright, Christmas is a few weeks away and up until then I will be showing you some real but crazy products you can buy from Amazon.

The canned stuff really holds up if you make long trips to fantastical lands. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York here is this week's...

Top Phive Things You Don't Want To Hear Coming From The Next Bathroom Stall
5. At last! A perfectly-rendered "Don't Tread on Me" snake!
4. That's either corn or baby teeth... either way, I gotta stop ordering from Golden Panda!
3. Hi, Rush! First-time caller, long-time listener!
2. iPad, HBO Go, Sno-Balls, Fanta... I am SET!
And the number one thing you don't wanna hear coking from the next bathroom stall is...
1. Dammit, you're my helper monkey... get helping!

That's an easy one to figure out.  Alright, ever hear anybody get offended when someone doesn't like the phrase "Merry Christmas"? Well, a friend of the Phile doesn't, and he's here to explain. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man. You know what time it is...

Random thought of the day... If you're the type of whiney little snit who becomes offended when someone wishes you a Merry Christmas, kindly fuck off. I have little patience for this overtly "correct" world we are forced to live in. I wish people a Merry Christmas because I've always done so. I'm not going to run through each cultural holiday just to placate you. If you don't celebrate it... just say, "And you, as well." DON'T make that face and say, "I'm not Catholic." ...or... "I don't believe in God." Simply deal with the fact that somebody extended a verbal courtesy to you... then get on with your life. Or... You can simply go screw yourself. That'd work too.

It's 5:49 PM, 73°F and that's one lucky horse...

Today's pheatured guest is a beautiful jazz singer whose latest CD "Rock Me Sweet" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Barbara Lusch.

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

Barbara: Hi there. Thank you so very much for having me. I'm good, kind of tired from the weekend but good.

Me: I have to to be honest and say wow. I interviewed a lot of jazz artists but I have to say as a singer you have one of the most amazing jazz voices I heard and are the best looking jazz singer I have ever interviewed.

Barbara: YOU are too kind.

Me: You have the total package, Barbara. I am not the first to tell you that, right?

Barbara: Maybe I've heard it one time before.

Me: This picture of you upside on the bed in that red dress... wow. Ahem.

Me: That looked like a fun photo shoot.

Barbara: It was a fun photo shoot but it was freezing cold. We were in a parking garage. I work with a husband and wife team. The wife is the photographer and her husband does my marketing. The three of us have a good relationship and they make me feel super comfortable on the photo shoots.

Me: Have you always been talented and photogenic?

Barbara: I've always loved to sing and be in front of the camera.

Me: You're from Portland, Oregon, right? Do you still live there?

Barbara: I am from Portland, Oregon. I lived and performed between Los Angeles and New York City for about twelve years. I've been back in Portland since the fall of 1998. I love being back home!!

Me: Your grandmother was a professional singer, is that right?

Barbara: Yep.

Me: Who was she, Barbara?

Barbara: You wouldn't know her. She always said that she and her sisters were born too soon. Grandma Alice Warren sang with her 3 sisters. They sang beautiful harmonies together and yodeled in four part harmony, Swiss of course. They sang at the Orpheum Theatre in Portland and surrounding restaurants and clubs. They also did some studio recording in the 30s.

Me: Because of her is that why you wanted to be a singer?

Barbara: She is the reason I learned to love music. I grew up singing with my grandma while grandpa was playing the accordion. After that, I was never completely happy if I didn't have an outlet for singing.

Me: Do you have siblings who are singers as well?

Barbara: One of my sisters has an amazing voice. I think she actually had the most natural talent but, but didn't pursue it. She is singing now with a local group. I'd love to record with her some day. 

Me: Let's talk about your great album which I love so much... "Rock Me Sweet." You do amazing covers of rock songs from the 80s. I have one complaint, there's no Foghat songs on it. How did you pick which songs to do for the album, Barbara?

Barbara: I started with about 30 songs from the 80s that were my favorites. I wanted the songs to be recognizable and ones that people could sing along to. Then I listened closely to the lyrics. If I didn't feel that I could relate to the lyrics and tell the story well, I put it aside. I also listened to the basic structure of the song. In some cases there wasn't enough variation to re-arrange the song into ballad. I didn't want to vary from the original melody of the song. So it was a combination of favorites and what I thought would be a good fit for the music we were going to produce.

Me: Are their any songs you left off?

Barbara: Yes, we left off a few due to time restraints. "Logical Song" from Supertramp, "Every Breath You Take" Police, "Don't Stop Believin'" Journey, "Bad" Michael Jackson.

Me: What was the hardest song to learn or to sing on the album?

Barbara: Probably "Cat People" was the hardest to sing and "Hungry Like A Wolf" was the hardest to relate to.

Me: This is your third album, am I right? But this album is different then the others I am guessing. 

Barbara: This is my third solo album. Yes, the choice of material is very different from the others though I think I approach the music in the same way. I think of this record as 80s rock cocktail music.

Me: Did you rearranged the songs and put together the orchestral parts, Barbara?

Barbara: Oh no. My dear friend and colleague Earl Rose did all the arranging. When I first started this project I knew I wanted to collaborate with Earl. I've always admired his work as an arranger and conductor. Earl loved the concept of "Rock Me Sweet" and took me and the project under his wing. We discussed the arrangements and made adjustments as went along, but Earl was the mastermind behind the arrangements and orchestral parts.

Me: How big was the orchestra?

Barbara: Thirteen in the Orchestra. It was amazing to sing with them and they were AMAZING!

Me: I have to mention a few of the songs... I could go through the whole list but I won't. You do "I Want You to Want Me" by Cheap Trick, "Sweet Child O' Mine" from Guns and Roses and "Living On a Prayer" from Bon Jovi. Do you have a favorite of all these songs?

Barbara: That is a tough question. I really love them all and for different reasons. Okay, if I have to, out of the four you've mentioned, "I Want You To Want Me" is my favorite to listen to and "Sweet Child O' Mine" is my favorite to perform. But, it's always changing!

Me: What I love about your versions is when you just listen to the music in the beginning of the songs it's hard to figure out which song it is, but once you start singing it's obvious.

Barbara: I love that you say that because that's exactly what I wanted the experience for the listener to be. I want the music to evoke memories and to be a sweet surprise.

Me: When you started to do this album, did you think it'll be so much fun?

Barbara: No, I didn't. It has exceeded any expectations that I had. It's so fun and fulfilling to see people enjoying the music.

Me: I just realized you do all songs originally sang by men... was this on purpose or a coincidence?

Barbara: It was on purpose. I thought the contrast would be greater with rock songs by men.

Me: Barbara, what music did you listen to growing up and who are you influences?

Barbara: Before college I listened to a lot of folk music, musical theatre, and the American Song Book. In college I listened to 80s pop and rock. The I started listening to everything, but mostly jazz. A few of my influences are Barbara Streisand, Rosemary Clooney, Blossom Dearie, Nina Simone, and Chet Baker.

Me: Are you fans of any of hr artists you cover?

Barbara: Before I started the CD I was a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen, U2, Bon Jovi, and Yes. Now, I'm a fan of them all.

Me: Have you heard back from any of the artists you cover letting you know what they think?

Barbara: Not yet! I'm still trying to figure out the best way to get it into their hands!

Me: Barbara, most jazz musicians I interviewed studied music of some sort. Did you go to school and study music?

Barbara: I didn't go to school to study music, but I did study, if that makes sense? Initially I didn't believe that I could have a career singing. I always studied music and trained vocally and theatrically but it was not my major. One of my music teachers said... senior year in college, you can do what ever you want to do with your voice. Only then did I try.

Me: Not only are you a wonderful singer, but you also have acted on TV in sitcoms and soaps, and in commercials and movies. Was that before you were a singer?

Barbara: I was a singer first and then I got into acting. My heart was always with music though.

Me: What are some of the shows and films you did that we would know?

Barbara: "Coach", "The Trials Of Rosie O'Neil", and "Nowhere Man" were some that you might know.

Me: Are you still acting?

Barbara: I am here in Portland. I still do commercials, print work and voice over work. I'd love to do musical theatre again but can't work it into my schedule right now. I also audition for "Grimm" and "Portlandia."  They both shoot here in Portland. Hopefully you will be seeing me on one of those shows soon.

Me: You do look good on film, not just in photographs.

Barbara: I"m going to call you when I'm having a bad day.

Me: Anytime. Haha. You did a video for "Where the Streets Have No Name." I have a screen shot of it here...

Me: How was this song chosen as the single?

Barbara: I love the arrangement Earl Rose made for this song. I thought it was a great representation of what the record is about. Also, we could film in one location and easily tie in the 80s grit feeling with the intimate elegance.

Me: Where was the video filmed?

Barbara: The black and white shots are in the studio in Capitol Records. It was the first day of recording and the first time we were all meeting each other. Looking back I would have changed that. I would have had more fun if we shot after we had been into the project for a few days. It took me a little time to feel comfortable with everything. The color shots are in a warehouse in SE Portland. The warehouse burnt down and artists have displayed their work all over the walls. It's an amazing space. It was locked up and we snuck in at 5 AM in the morning. It was exciting. My director didn't think so though. He was so worried that we would get kicked out before he got the shots he needed. I wish we would have filmed all of us crawling under the gate to get in!

Me: You recorded the album at Capitol Studios?

Barbara: Yes!

Me: How was that experience?

Barbara: When we finished our last session I wanted to do it all over again and hated for it to end. It was an amazing experience. It's really hard to put into words. I can just say that I want to get back to the studio and work with Al Schmitt and Earl Rose as soon as possible.

Me: Frank Sinatra recorded all his music there, or a big chunk of it. I wonder if you were in the exact ams studio as he was?

Barbara: That is so funny that you say that! The microphone I recorded on was the mic Frank sang on and the stool I sat in was his. Al Schmitt who did my engineering also engineered Frank.

Me: That is so bloody cool! So, will there be a "Rock Me Sweet 2"? If so, you have to do "Fool For the City" or "Stone Blue" by Foghat. You have heard of Foghat, right?

Barbara: I do know Foghat and I think "Fool For the City" would be great! I hope there will be "Rock Me Sweet 2."  I"m crossing my fingers that "Rock Me Sweet" does well so I can make that happen!

Me: Alright, on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Ready? What's the best way to spend a rainy weekend?

Barbara: Oh, there are so many ways. The Oregon Coast is amazing on a rainy day. My favorite start to a rainy weekend is to lay on the couch in front of the fire with my 80 lb golden doodle, Rosebud, in my lap. The windows are open, the fresh air makes me feel alive and there are a few raindrops from outside falling on my face. It's so cozy.  The next day it would visit Powell Book Store. The bookstore encompasses an entire block. They also have a bistro inside to keep your tummy full and your mind awake. Then I would do a movie. Mcmeamins or Living Room Theater are my favorites because I can have a glass of wine while I"m watching a movie. Rainy weekend days are easy to fill because it rains 155 days out of the year.

Me: Wow. Great answer. Barbara, will you be performing these songs on the album live?

Barbara: Yes, I'm starting to perform the songs at my shows. The audience reaction has been tremendous! They love the surprise factor and hearing the lyrics of the songs. If I ask them to sing along they do!

Me: Any chance you'll play down here in Florida?

Barbara: I hope so! I"m creating a "Rock Me Sweet" jazz/cabaret type show and I'd love to bring it to Florida.

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile. Go ahead and mention your website and please, please come back on the Phile again soon. Take care.

Barbara: Thank you for your support! Do you want a signed CD?

Me: Yeah!

Barbara: It's nice to meet you and I'm enjoying your blog! Hope to talk with you again.

There you go, another entry done. That has to be one of my favorite interviews ever. Thanks to Laird Jim and of course Barbara Lusch. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Christian Turner, lead singer for the band Christian Punk Band. Then on Thursday it's Phile Alum Bree Rose from The New Royalty. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Pheaturing Phile Alum Kirk Waldrop From Nine Times Blue

Hey there, good evening and welcome to a Wednesday entry of the Phile. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, kids. Best of luck explaining why you're still single at Thanksgiving and Charles Manson isn't. So, you're gonna watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade tomorrow? The only parade I'll attend this Thanksgiving is the one to the toilet. So, on Thanksgiving you're supposed to be thankful for something. I'm thankful that we can soon get back to being ungrateful, disillusioned, and cynical. I have to say though may your turkey be moist and no one use that word to describe it. My condolences to anyone who has to work at a retail store on Thanksgiving or any other day of the year.  Alright, there's more going on than Thanksgiving. I have Star Wars news.  Disney has announced that it will be showing the first trailer for the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens this weekend in a select few theaters throughout the country. It did not stipulate exactly when, in advance of this weekend, a bootleg version would be leaked to the Internet, but five minutes ago seems like a reasonable guess.  Anheuser-Busch is overhauling its advertising strategy in the wake of a current trend which seems to suggest that Americans are not quite as willing to drink their stale-flavored lager Budweiser as they have been for the past several decades. Now, instead of being the most popular beer in the country, it is simply one of the most popular beers in the country. Keg of Budweiser Black Crown at my place if anybody wants to get desperate. I'm just kidding, I don't have any beer.  Warner Bros. has announced that it has hired respected television director Michelle McLaren... who has helmed some of the most popular episodes of both "Game of Thrones" and "Breaking Bad", to bring their big budget adaptation of Wonder Woman to the screen, thus sending a message to fans that they might actually try to make this one into something worth watching. Diana will now be a meth-dealing princess of Amazons with an M60 of Truth.  Congressional Republicans... who, in very recent memory, chose to shut down the government rather than raise nation's debt ceiling have suddenly had a shocking change of heart. Conservative legislators announced plans yesterday to add $450 billion to the deficit over the next decade in order to facilitate tax breaks for the country's wealthiest citizens. Unfortunately, the evil Grinch who lives in the White House derailed their plans by promising the veto any such bills. If I spend all of my money on a stripper named Charity, am I eligible for a tax break?  The Coca-Cola company has announced that it is entering the dairy business, after its food scientists discovered a new way to inflate the price of milk by as much as 100 percent. A company representative said that the new product Fairlife is "a milk that's premiumised and tastes better and we'll charge twice as much for it as the milk we're used to buying." Finally! A gallon of gas is now cheaper than a gallon of milk? All right, well, my morning tea could use a little extra kick.  A new survey of 30,000 funerals has found that Monty Python's chipper little ode to the absurdity of existence, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," has recently edged out more grandiose swan songs, such as Frank Sinatra's "My Way" and Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" as the most popular music to accompany being dumped into the ground.
Always look on the bright side, but don't be gross about it.  You know, everybody says the Pilgrims met the Indians, but someone else did as well. And I have proof...

Haha. That was a really bad set up to show this piece of art work. I like how Superman is wearing an Indian headpiece.  I'm glad they came out with an inspirational poster for Thanksgiving this year.

Oh, they came out with another one as well...

Hahaha.  So, Christmas is right around the corner so leading up to it I am gonna show you some actual items you can purchase from Amazon. Check it out...

Find out what almost all of America is made of. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Little-Known Provisions In Obama's Immigration Action
5. Immigrants who successfully sneak into Texas are free to leave once they realize it's worse than where they came from.
4. Grants immediate amnesty to all actresses featured in the Lusty Latinas DVD series.
3. Non-citizens who are here illegally will still be allowed to vote on "The Voice."
2. Five lucky immigrants will find a golden ticket tucked into their visa, gaining them entrance to an enhanced chocolate factory.
And the numb rome little-known provision in Obama's immigration action...
1. In the event of impeachment, Barack Obama will be named President of Mexico.

This is an easy one but if you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, it's it's time to talk football with my good friend Jeff.

Me: Hey, there, welcome back. It's Wednesday so we are doing this a day early because tomorrow is Thanksgiving. How are you?

Jeff: It's always good to be back on the Phile. I am at my parents house for the holiday's this year so I am recovering from a long day of traveling.

Me: I totally lost track of what week this is, Jeff. What week is it?

Jeff: It's week 13 in the NFL this season. I had to look it up too, so don't feel bad.

Me: Alright, any big football news this past week?

Jeff: The biggest news of the week is the Oakland Raiders won their first football game of the season, defeating Kansas City on "Thursday Night Football." The other big news is that due to storms in Buffalo, the Jets-Bills game was postponed a day and moved to Detroit on Monday night. The Bills won, making the Jets look silly. As usual.

Me: And what about Beckham on the Giants, eh?

Jeff: As bad as the Giants have been this year, I will say this. You have had a human highlight on your team and his name is Odell Beckham Jr. He has made some ridiculous catches, and he makes them look routine. The future is bright with that guy on your team.

Me: Okay, Jeff, if you would guess who is gonna be going to the Super Bowl who would you say? 

Jeff: We may have a look into this year's Super Bowl as the New England Patriots travel to Green Bay this year. It's two high powered offenses in the same game. It's hard to argue that as a Super Bowl, but you also have teams like Denver, Seattle, Arizona, and Philadelphia in the running as well. 

Me: Okay, so, how did we do with our picks last week?

Jeff: The Steelers were on a bye week and the Giants lost late to Dallas this week, so neither of us earned any points for that. I however had a bad week going 0-2 while you went 1-1. So it stands that I lead by six points now.

Me: Okay, this week's picks... I say Colts by 5 and Bengals by 13. What do you say?

Jeff: I am going to go with Arizona by 7 and Browns by 3.

Me: Alrighty then, I will see you back here next Thursday.

Jeff: See ya next week.

Native Americans 
Native Americans are an indigenous group who discovered corn, chewing gum, and eminent domain law.

Okay, today's pheatured guest is a Phile Alum and lead singer in Nine Times Blue, one of one of my favorite bands I discovered since I have been doing this blog. They have a new album called "Matter of Time" which is available on iTunes, Please welcome to the Phile... Kirk Waldrop.

Me: Hey there, Kirk, welcome back to the Phile. So, how have you been?

Kirk: Been doing well, Jason! Staying busy playing music. Great to hear from you again.

Me: I saw you in concert, what was it, two years ago? It was before my shoulder surgery and accident I think. Nine Times Blue drove down from Atlanta and played a show here in Orlando. I bet that was fun and tiring... not necessary in that order. Was that the longest drive you did to a show?

Kirk: Yeah... we were opening for Jimmie’s Chicken Shack at what appeared to be a fairly hard core biker bar. Definitely got to see a side of Orlando I’ve never seen before. As for our longest drive for a show… it would probably have to be our August 2013 trip up to Washington, DC to play at IOTA... which is actually in Arlington, VA. It was worth it... great crowd of friends and colleagues from my 10 years living in that area.

Me: Did you tell your daughter you were sooooo close to Disney? Haha.

Kirk: I actually did tell her I was that close. She loves Disney and I think I even made sure to get her something from a gift shop.

Me: Speaking of shows, you just did a show opening for Everclear... one of my favorite bands. How was that? Did you get to hang out with them?

Kirk: The show was GREAT! All of the other opening bands were cover bands, so as an original band... we had to win over the crowd with songs they didn’t know. By our second song... we had them. Catchy tunes and great musicianship will get ‘em every time. We hung out with Art (only original member) and the band for a little bit. They got there late... so they were rushed from the moment they arrived. Everclear was actually supposed to do “Venus and Mars / Rock Show” for the McCartney tributes I produced and released back in 2001, but scheduling conflicts prevented it from happening. Art remembered that when I talked to him and said he wished they’d been able to make it happen.

Me: Do they have a new CD coming out? I wonder if Art Alexakis would want to be interviewed for the Phile....

Kirk: I think they have a new album coming out in early 2015. I’m sure he’d be up for a Phile interview! He’s very approachable. Good dude.

Me: Is there another band you'd love to open for? I have interviewed Mike Gent and Pete Donnelly from The Figgs a few times, and Nine Times Blue would fit in nicely opening for them. Do you know who the Figgs are? I am sure you do, you have a great taste in music.

Kirk: I know who Pete Donnelly is... but I don’t think I’ve heard The Figgs. I’ll have to look them up. There’s a TON of bands we’d love to open for that I think we’d pair well with... Gin Blossoms, Cheap Trick, Jimmy Eat World, Jack White, Matthew Sweet, The Replacements, Weezer, The Hold Steady, Snow Patrol, and the list goes on.

Me: Another show you did was a Weezer benefit... what Weezer songs did you guys perform?

Kirk: We performed “Come Undone – The Sweater Song” which has become a staple in our longer sets.

Me: Alright, let's talk about your band Nine Times Blue... how many times has someone written it as 9 X Blue? That looks like a really hard math equation.

Kirk: It’s a tough name for folks the mess up. We get a lot of variations... Nine Times Blues (and then folks think we’re a blues band), Nine X Blue, 9 X Blue, NXB, NTB, 9XB, and we even got Mime Times Blue at a club in Alabama. Loved that one.

Me: It says Nine X Blue on your t-shirts, does that ever confuse anybody? Do people call the band Nine Ex Blue?

Kirk: Doesn’t seem to confuse folks much. We have Nine X Blue incorporated into our logo where it generally also says “Times”... so we’re usually good.

Me: Oh, shit, on your new EP cover it says Nine X Blue... that might really confuse people. Haha. Nine Times Blue was named after a Monkees song, right?

Kirk: Yes... it’s Mike Nesmith song that the Monkees recorded, but never officially released. Mike, Mickey and Davy did perform it live one time on the "Johnny Cash Show" and it then made it onto Mike’s first solo album with the First National Band.

Me: Kirk, are the other guys in the band big Monkess fans as well, or just you?

Kirk: I’m obviously a HUGE Monkees and Nesmith fan. I think the other guys like a few of their songs, especially the more well-known songs. We actually cover “(Not Your) Stepping Stone”, but it sounds more like the Sex Pistols version than the Monkees version.

Me: Do you do a cover of "Nine Times Blue" in your shows?

Kirk: As much as I like the song... it’s not right for our shows. It’s a very slow tempo, very laid back and very stripped down. Plus... truthfully... I’ve never learned how to play it.

Me: Alright, let's talk about your last EP "Matter of Time." That's a great sounding release, I played it to death. How did "Matter of Time" become the title track?

Kirk: I wish I had a better story other than... we all just liked it as the title of the EP. We had a bunch of incredibly lewd, offensive title names that we came up with on long drives to gigs… but in the end "Matter of Time" just seemed to fit.

Me: Did you write all the songs on it, Kirk?

Kirk: I wrote all the songs except for the title track, which I co-wrote with Cliff Hillis. Cliff also produced that song and “Falling After You” and mixed the entire EP. We hope to work with him again on our next release.

Me: You have a head for catchy pop songs. Do you write the melodies and music first or lyrics?

Kirk: Kind words, sir. I tend to get a lot of ideas for songs while driving. A melody and some sort of lyrical phrasing (which often ends up being the chorus) pops into my head and I sing it into my iPhone Voice Memo. I have a huge collection of 30 second snippets of songs-to-be. From there... I sort through them at a later point and pick whichever one speaks to me on that particular day and put it to music, fleshing out the song structure and melody. For me lyrics are almost always the last thing I write and I tend to procrastinate until the bitter end, such as the day we are cutting vocals on a song and I need SOMETHING to sing. Have to force it out of me at that point.

Me: The first single from the EP is "Only Lonely (The Shovel Song)", which is the last song on the EP. How did that get to be the single?

Kirk: It was one of the last songs I wrote for the EP and one that we felt was a bit different than what we’d done before. It had a nice laid back, driving with the top down feel to it... and early feedback from some of the local radio stations around Atlanta were that it was the stand out and the one they wanted to push.

Me: I wondered why it was called the shovel song until I saw the video. Tell the readers what the song is about.

Kirk: Well... the song started out as a jilted love song. Our hero just can’t seem to get it right with the girl of his dreams. He leaves her a ton of phone messages and he writes her a song she doesn’t want to hear. He writes her letters she never reads, he tries to make her laugh, but nothing works. Not only does she not like what he does she criticizes him for it all. So he does the natural thing... he gets a shovel and duct tape and buries her alive... but even until the bitter end... she still not satisfied and criticizes the whole he dug for her. Song definitely takes a dark turn.

Me: What were you thinking when you wrote this song, Kirk? Haha.

Kirk: The song was never meant to take such a dark turn. I mentioned my habit of procrastinating on lyrics and this was a classic example. Our producer was stopping by for some pre-production and I needed to have the song ready. I think I rushed the lyrics for that song, wrapping it up about 30 min before he arrived, and when I was stuck for a last verse or pre-chorus... I came up with the twisted ending as a temporary solution and also as a joke to see if the band was paying attention to the lyrics. They loved it... thought it was a very unexpected twist and said we should keep it... so that was it. It stuck.

Me: Did you write any songs that were left off the EP?

Kirk: Yes... we had 2 or 3 more that I was working on, but for whatever reason... just couldn’t finish. I actually wrote “This Time” and “Only Lonely” while trying to write lyrics for one of the songs that didn’t make it to the EP. Those songs are still not finished and I’ve moved onto some other songs. I will likely revisit them later this year when we take a break at the end of the year so I can focus on writing.

Me: Do you think a full length CD will be your next release or another EP?

Kirk: It’s hard to say, Jason. Nobody really buys whole albums anymore. They consume singles or they stream the songs they like on Spotify, Pandora, Rhapsody, etc. We know that some music reviewers don’t take EPs as seriously as they do a full length... so we actually think that hurt us on this release. We had great reviews by those that reviewed it but folks that went nuts for the first album we not as interested in taking the time to review an EP... which is strange since so many bands (including big, national touring bands) seem to be doing that route. It will largely depend on what songs we have ready as we start to record, the length of time between releases, the budget we have for recording, etc. I do know that the reviewers that went nuts over both the first album and the new EP badly want a full length for the next one... so hopefully we can accommodate the request.

Me: You guys are great live, you should release a live EP. Did you guys discuss that already?

Kirk: Thanks, Jason! We’ve gotten a lot better over time. When you saw us play... that was only about 9 months into playing live together so we were still working out the kinks, the harmonies, and I was getting more comfortable with playing electric guitar since for the prior 25+ years I had been playing acoustic as my primary instrument. Now when we open for a national touring band, such as Plain White T’s or Everclear we can hold our own quite well.

Me: Alright, I love your black and white guitar. I have to show a picture of you playing it...

Me: What make and year is it, Kirk?

Kirk: It’s a 2012 Rickenbacker 360. It was my 40th birthday present from my wife. I had been wanting a Ric for the past 10 years and finally had a good excuse to pull the trigger on it. My guitar heroes are George Harrison, John Lennon, Tom Petty, Mike Campbell, Peter Buck, etc... all Rickenbacker users. It really bring a signature sound to our songs and live shows.

Me: How long have you had that guitar?

Kirk: I’ve had it since June 2012 and it’s become my primary guitar. Although I also just bought a Gretsch Panther which is just a straight, balls out rock guitar. Since I’ve used the Ric on just about everything to date I’m working on figuring out the best songs to use the Gretsch on so it gets some love at live shows, too.

Me: And you have a guitar strap that has Chinese writing on it... do you know what it says?

Kirk: You know... I have no idea. Never looked it up. It probably says “Asshole” or something like that. I’ll have to look it up one day and I’ll report back to you on it!

Me: We mentioned this the last time you were here, but in the past you released two tribute albums to Paul McCartney, and you have some great bands playing on them including one of my favorite bands... Barenaked Ladies. What song did they do?

Kirk: They played “Junk” from McCartney’s first solo album. To clarify... it’s only a couple of members of Barenaked Ladies that did the song... Steven Page and Kevin Hearn, along with Lilac Time member (and Steven Page songwriting collaborator) Stephen Duffy.

Me: Kevin Hearn has been on the Phile twice, Kirk. Are these albums still available?

Kirk: The albums are still available on Amazon or on eBay, but are no longer being manufactured. We never had the digital rights for the songs... so you can’t get it on iTunes or Spotify. We’ve talked about doing a re-release however... I just read there’s a new McCartney tribute coming out soon with like 38 songs on it. They have some big names, too. Ours came out in 2001 and MPL (McCartney’s company) asked us to work with the folks putting out the new one. They were just in the planning stages of theirs and we had ours just about done and ready for release. We were focused on only post-Beatles catalog... they wanted both. We shared our original artist wish list with them (i.e. Brian Wilson, Billy Joel, etc.), had a few conversations to see if we could combine releases and ultimately decided to move on and release ours in Oct 2001. It took them another 13 years to complete theirs and I wish them well with it. It will be interesting to hear all the artists they compiled and their take on Paul’s songs (both Beatles and post Beatles). The nice thing is... it’s giving our tributes some nice attention again as folks are either just realizing we put ours out or are mentioning that ours came out back in 2001 and it’s a killer tribute.

Me: How did you get all these acts to take part, was it hard?

Kirk: It wasn’t hard to get bands to commit. They were totally into it and donated all their time and royalties for the tracks. The tough part was working with their labels or their management to get to contract signature. Warner Bros was REALLY tough with all of their artists... but everyone else was pretty easy.

Me: I have a music project called Strawberry Blondes Forever... we need a tribute album, even though we only have one album out now. Haha. Maybe Nine Times Blue can cover one of our songs. Whatcha think? Haha.

Kirk: We might be willing to cover one of your songs. Send me some tunes and we’ll give them a listen. We’ve never really considered recording any songs that aren’t ours and our rule for covers is that it needs to be a songs folks will know and may even get them dancing or singing along. That said... I have a good, longtime friend that is one of the people that first taught me to play guitar. He’s an amazing songwriter... very much in the style of Jackson Browne, John Denver, Dan Fogelberg, etc. and he’s got a song he thinks will fit us well. If it’s a good fit for us... we may consider using it since I’m such a fan of his talent. So, just goes to show you never know what we’ll do.

Me: So, did you like Paul's last album "New"? I really liked it.

Kirk: I get a lot of crap for this... but I really disliked his new album. I respect that he wants to keep writing and putting out new material but I don’t think folks should put each release on a pedestal as if it were the best thing he’d ever put out. Just because I’m a hardcore Beatles fan and therefore a Macca fan I shouldn’t be expected to get a boner over everything the man puts out. In my opinion the last good album he put out was "Flowers in the Dirt", and even that was spotty. My favorite in his entire solo catalog is "Ram" and everything he puts out is compared against that. At the end of the day I’m a fan of good, solid songwriting and I just didn’t feel his new album had much evidence of it. But... that’s just my opinion and shouldn’t necessarily influence anyone else’s feelings about the album.

Me: Okay, so, on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Ready? This is dumb! When did your family come to this country and from where?

Kirk: Not a dumb question at all. My family is mainly from England and Scotland and made their way over to America in the late 1600s early 1700s, staring out in Caroline, Co and Louisa, Co in Virginia. There’s actually still quite a few of original 1700s and 1800s era family homes still standing there. We almost bought one about 10 years ago just outside of Charlottesville, VA.

Me: Kirk, thanks for being back on the Phile. Mention your website and anything else, and please come back again soon. And come back to Florida to play! Take care.

Kirk: Thanks for having us back, Jason!! Really enjoyed the questions. Our website is, Facebook:, Twitter: @9timesblue, YouTube:, ReverbNation: We hope to get back down to Florida in 2015, so we’ll see you then!

That about does it for this entry. Thanks to Jeff Trelewicz and Kirk Waldrop. The Phile will be back on Sunday with singer Barbara Lusch and on Monday it's Christian Turner from Christian Punk Band and next Thursday Phile Alum Bree Rose from The New Royalty. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you bye. Have a safe Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

Monday, November 24, 2014

Pheaturing The Winged Warrior Chrissy Albertson

Hey there, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? Let's start with talking about them Giants.  Sports people have a tendency to say things are one of the GOATs, the Greatest Of All Time, a little too often. As a result, there's a bit of a "boy who cried 'wolf'" problem when something truly cool actually happens. So, let me, as not-sportsy as they come, assure you that Odell Beckham's one-handed, backwards-diving, gecko-fingered touchdown catch last night in the New York Giants' game against the Dallas Cowboys (the Giants lost 31-28, but Beckham still won the evening) was, indeed, one of the most impressive feats of pure athleticism to come out of pro sports in a while. There's loving pro sports, and then there's saying "hey, look what this cool human did." This is the latter.

Said Beckham after the game in a display of almost-as-impressive modesty, "I hope it's not the greatest catch of all time. I hope I can make more." What is most impressive about the catch, you may have noticed, is that split-second where the ball shudders in his fingers like it's about to pop back out, before being secured by some sort of friction magic heretofore undiscovered by science. You can see the full play over at Beckham explained that he was just using what his momma gave him. "I guess I have to thank my mom for the long fingers. Her hands are maybe half an inch shorter than mine. I know I felt it on those three fingers and tried my best to pull it in." Meanwhile I knocked over a table breaking a pepper shaker at the restaurant I went to for my birthday.  Sales for the fourth and newest version of Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas"... featuring such celebrity musicians as Bono, Chris Martin, Seal and One Direction have been very high, with treacle pop fans going nuts for the charity song's vaguely patronizing lyrics and middling production quality. All proceeds from the single go toward fighting the current Ebola epidemic in Africa.  The family of Bob Marley are working with a Seattle-based equity firm to create Marley Natural, "a premium cannabis brand rooted in the life and legacy" of the reggae legend, featuring his likeness on the product. As we all know, if there's one thing Bob Marley loved more than smoking the ganja, it was the corporatization of authenticity. By the way, did you ever see the movie Marley and Me? I think Bob dies at the end of it.  A group called the Magnolia State Heritage Campaign is currently trying to make Christianity the official state religion of Mississippi. A spokesperson for the group explained: "We have taken a little bit of time to prepare an initiative that covers promoting Christianity, which is recognized as the principal religion of Mississippi from the founding of the state in 1817 to the present, and affirmed in the state constitution prayer acknowledging the Holy Bible.” If the measure receives enough signatures... which, let's face it, it will... state citizens may get to vote on adding it to the state constitution in an upcoming election.  With Ebola not really in the news anymore, but the Kardashians are... and are cashing in with a new TV show.

That should be a good show.  Well, Christmas is pretty much a month away and you might be thinking what cool toys are out there this year to get your kids. How about this one?

Yes, they are so bloody funny.  Did you see what Captain America is gonna look like in the new Avengers movie?

I'm not sure I like it or not. Did you see the new Hunger Games movie? I will review it in a minute, but depending on how you look at it, Jennifer Lawrence had either a great weekend at the box office or a disappointing one. Mockingjay: Part 1, the first part of what I understand is a sixteen-film finale to the dystopian trilogy, had $123 million in ticket sales, setting a box office record for the year. BUT it still didn't do as well as movies one and two in the series. So now every time someone tells Jennifer "congrats" today, she'll know they're secretly thinking her new movie's achievement will always have an asterisk by it. Maybe for Mockingjay: Part 2 they should have more dead kids? People love that. Anyway, here's the review...

Gears shift in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. The games, and their commentary on totalitarian regimes, have ended. The first two installments (don’t dive head first into this one if you haven’t seen them; Peter Craig and Danny Strong's script refuses to bring you up to speed) addressed the inevitability of a coming fight. Now a civilization-saving showdown begins, one waged by the oppressed people of the Districts against the members of the Capitol, a rich and powerful minority who exploit District resources for lives of luxury, all the while forcing citizens to compete in fatal bloodsport for entertainment’s sake. Class war has turned into actual war. But first, the good guys need some really kick-ass, pro-revolution commercials.  Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), rescued from the games-winning consequence of a life spent in the service of pro-Capitol propaganda, is now the face of the revolution. Her handlers, rebellion president Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and her right hand man, Plutarch Heavensbee (the late Philip Seymour-Hoffman, to whom the film is dedicated), recognize Katniss's star quality and populist appeal, and cast her as the leader who’ll rally the troops. After a few false starts with some laughably scripted promotional spots, Katniss is sent into battle so the cameras can capture her authentic rage. And when she learns that Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is still alive and being used as the Capitol’s anti-revolution puppet, she accepts the task at hand. Uneasily. Katniss isn't so sure about these bunker-living revolutionaries, and neither is the film.  Mockingjay is more compact than the first two installments, and its focus is, wisely, on the immediate challenges to its protagonist’s sanity, the moral dilemmas of building a consensus for war in the media, and the burden of being cast as that war's MVP before the heavy killing even starts. Lawrence’s performance roils with stress and fear, as it did in the first two films, and director Francis Lawrence stays with her, up close, from start to finish, visually mirroring the script's examination of Katniss's cult of personality. She powers everything around her.  Admirably, Mockingjay isn’t shy about suggesting that even the people on the side of righteousness can just as easily exploit their volunteers. When an impromptu song sung by Katniss becomes a Les Miserables-style gang-anthem for underclass warriors marching toward sacrifice, the complicated moral narrative addresses the inherent discomfort of cheering on death. We watch a movement streamline its message via the power of celebrity, and we learn who is disposable in a revolution and who isn't. Katniss, the former pro-Capitol reality TV star turned different sort of reality TV star, one who was once forced into gaming battle and who now volunteers to kill, becomes the human embodiment of Why We Fight, the symbol who must live on to inspire another day.  Thanks to this ethical fuzziness... and having not read one word of the books... it's a little thrilling to wonder just where this might be headed. Suddenly, it seems like a perfectly happy, all-good-versus-all-bad ending in Part 2 might be up for grabs, and the resulting potential for darker surprises makes a year-long wait for resolution seem like a very long time. In a related turn of events, a story that seems as though it could have been instigated and scripted by a powerful Hollywood studio is taking place in Thailand, as a cinema chain in Bangkok has already cancelled this film’s engagements. And why? Because the story’s three-finger gesture of defiance has now been adopted by pro-democracy protestors there. In the words of Hoffman's Plutarch: “A little on the nose, but so is war.” From 1 to 10, I give this movie a 10.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know, kids.

The 30th artist to be pheatured in the Phile's Art Gallery is a cosplayer and talented artist who goes by the name Winged Warrior, and you'll find out why in a minute. Please welcome to the Phile... Chrissy Albertson.

Me: Hello, Chrissy. Welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Chrissy: Thank you so much for having me!! I'm doing well, thank you! Hope you are staying warm!

Me: Yes, I am. So, your nickname is The Winged Warrior. I didn't know if I should title this entry Chrissy Albertson The Winged Warrior or The Winged Warrior Chrissy Alberston. So, I chose the latter. Where did that nickname come from?

Chrissy: Haha, I quite like both titles but will agree with the latter. My nickname came from when I was 15 and trying to come up with a new email when we converted from AOL to MSN. Everything seemed to be already taken, and my previous email was DreamWarrior (taken from the title of a story I was writing at the time). So I ended up with WingedWarrior and it just fit from then on. Eleven years later I still have that email and the name has just fit with everything I do :)

Me: That's your cosplayer name, right?

Chrissy: It is! It's also my name I use with any online handle, be it art or gaming!

Me: You are an artist that is pheatured in the Phile's Art Gallery and also a cosplayer. I interviewed a few cosplayers here before... Katybear and Tabitha Lyons who is from England. Do you know any of them, Chrissy?

Chrissy: I am so, so honored that you chose to feature little ol' me. Especially with such amazing cosplayers that you mentioned! I follow each one of them actually, their work is awe inspiring!

Me: So, what came first, being an artist or cosplaying?

Chrissy: I have been doing art since I could pick up a pencil, but only really started doing cosplay in 2008 when I started going to conventions for the first time. Before that it was just a love for dressing up at any occasion :)

Me: What do you like better?

Chrissy: A: Oh goodness... that is certainly a very tough question! I like both for many different reasons. Cosplay is just a different medium of art for me, though I love being able to wear what I make and being able to show that off and talk to other people about it. But art I can pick up anytime and doodle what I please, or bring other's original characters to life. Though art is definitely cheaper than cosplaying, that is for sure... haha!

Me: Let's talk about your cosplaying first... how many characters do you dress up as?

Chrissy: Not nearly as many as I would like, haha. I have done about 7 different characters ranging from the Amazon from "DII", to an Original Steampunk, and even a Female Venom complete with liquid latex. Though I have many more planned for next year!

Me: How long have you been cosplaying?

Chrissy: I have been actively cosplaying since 2008, before that I just dressed up at dances and Halloween. But I also admired my friends that went to these amazing and awesome conventions like SDCC. Like my friend Becky Young, who always went and dressed up like Emma Frost. I wanted to be like her so much!

Me: I am sure you go to a lot of conventions, Chrissy, when did you start to go to conventions?

Chrissy: I do! Both to attend and sell in Artist Alley! My very first convention was also my first cosplay, I attended BlizzCon in 2008 as the Amazon from "Diablo II. " I have never missed a BlizzCon since! But I usually attend anywhere between 2-5 cons a year, hopefully more in the future!

Me: Ever been to MegaCon here in Orlando? I go almost every year.

Chrissy: I have!! It is one of my very favorite cons! I have gone the last 2 years and will be in Artist Alley again this year with my friend "Art by Sabina" table!

Me: Okay, so, where are you from?

Chrissy: I am actually from Salt Lake City, Utah! Despite living so far away, I attend a lot of cons in California and of course MegaCon in Florida! I am very lucky to have friends in a lot of states to stay with. But I love Utah, so much outdoor things to do and it is quite beautiful in all seasons :)

Me: Are you married? If so, does your husband cosplay as well?

Chrissy: I am! To a very loveable viking. We have been together for almost 12 years, 6 married. High School sweethearts, actually. But I still can't get him to cosplay with me, outside going to the Scottish festival wearing his kilt. Not for lack of trying though, one day! Mwhaha... cough.

Me: You belong to something called Superhero Disney Princesses Group.

Chrissy: I do!

Me: I have worked for Disney World for 26 years and I have never heard of this group, Chrissy. I have a picture of the group here...

Me: Where are they based and who do you play?

Chrissy: I was so lucky to be invited to be apart of such a wonderful group of ladies in 2011. You do? That is amazing! I have an annual pass to Disneyland, but have only been to Disney World once sadly. The group is mainly based in California, but the cosplayers are from all across the states. We cosplay every year at San Diego Comic Con, last year they even included villains! I cosplay the part of Superhero Nala, but haven't been able to attend the last year due to SDCC ticketing.

Me: Nala? That's a lion. Why did you pick a lion over a human character?

Chrissy: She is indeed! The Lion King is my all time favorite movie, so to be able to bring Nala to life as a badass superhero it was a dream come true! Though I wasn't able to do everything I wanted at the time (made the costume in about a week) I have definitely wanted to revamp her and add more superhero elements.

Me: Okay, I saw this picture with you an an owl.

Me: That's not a real owl, is it?

Chrissy: It is!! She was indeed very real, and it was amazing!! Owls are one of my favorite animals, and I actually based my original steampunk costume around owls. I have a fake one on my shoulder and one tiny one that hangs from my birdcage purse. So when I attended Salt City Steamfest last year, they had invited a local bird rescue group and you could take pictures with their birds for a small donation. They had owls and even falcons! It was a dream come true! :)

Me: You're crazy! LOL. That owl could of scratched your eyes out. Were you scared?

Chrissy: Haha! No not at all, though now that I think about it some of the poses I was doing had her right up to my face. Probably wasn't the smartest thing... hehe, but I would do it again and again in a heart beat!

Me: Did you walk around with it all day?

Chrissy: No sadly, I wish I could have! I only posed with her for about 10 mins. I would really like to do it again with a proper photo shoot instead of just a camera phone... hehe.

Me: Okay, I saw this photo of you as a cute cowgirl character... posing with a TARDIS. First, are you a "Doctor Who" fan? I am a huge "Doctor Who" fan since 1974. I might as well show that picture as well...

Chrissy: Haha, yeah they had a TARDIS at Salt Lake Comic Con this past year. So of course I had to pose with it! I have a ton of friends that are big fans. Though, and I am going to get a lot of flack for this, I haven't really watched any "Doctor Who." I know, I know!! I used to watch a few episodes with the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, when I was small. But haven't sat down to watch the series yet! 

Me: What is that cowgirl character?

Chrissy: She is Applejack from "My Little Pony"! I have always loved "MLP" since a young girl, Firefly and Applejack were my favorite from "G1." And Applejack is still my favorite from the newest "My Little Pony." She is also super fun and super comfy to cosplay :)

Me: There's one character as well with really long eyebrows and armour. I have no idea who that is but you look like you can kick my arse, Chrissy. Who is that?

Chrissy: Aw, thanks! I always love being able to look like I can kick some ass... haha! That costume is from 2011 BlizzCon, when I did a female version of Nozdormu. Who is from World of Warcraft, leader of the Bronze Dragonflight. When he takes on his human form he does so in the form of a Blood Elf, thus the really long eyebrows!

Me: Do you make your own costumes and props?

Chrissy: I do!! I love being able to wear what you make! Especially being able to take common household items and turning them into works of art! And I love to push my self with new materials and learning new crafts! One day though I will learn how to sew... haha!

Me: How long does it take you to put a costume together?

Chrissy: Depends on the complexity of the costume. Armored costumes tend to take more time, also depends on materials, etc. For example Nozdormu took around 3-4 months on and off to make, Steampunk took about a month, Nala took about a week, and Applejack took a few hours. :)

Me: By the way, your Venom is very original. Are you a comic book fan?

Chrissy: Oh ,why thank you!! I first did that back in 2009 and again in 2010 for Halloween. Liquid latex can be fun, but also hurts like a banshee taking it off! And I am a big comic book fan, though I don't read as much anymore I am still a big collector :)

Me: Okay, so, I have to ask, DC or Marvel?

Chrissy: I enjoy both in their own way, but I have always been more of a DC fan to be honest. Our house is very much split on that topic, many a nights have we gotten into heated discussions about both universes... LOL.

Me: I'm a big Marvel fan myself. Do you have a favorite character?

Chrissy: Marvel does do better movies, that is for sure... haha! I would say my favorite characters are Black Canary and Wonder Woman for DC. And a toss between Venom/Carnage and Elektra/Psylocke for Marvel.

Me: Do you play video games as well?

Chrissy: I play quite a bit! Mostly PC games now, but I grew up on consoles. My husband and I used to own a LAN Gaming Center for 5 years, called Toxic Gaming. Lot's of good gaming memories there. I also used to game competitively, "Halo" actually... LOL, I used to be apart of an all ladies gaming clan called PMS! And I also was part of a World ranked guild in World of Warcraft for many years, we were Top 30 and even 12th at one time. Now I just play casually, mostly "League of Legends" with friends while waiting on Wildstar to come out :)

Me: Okay, we need to talk about your artwork. What's your favorite medium?

Chrissy: Ohh, tough question. I love to draw traditionally, can never take my pencil and sketchbook away from me! I like to do a lot of small cards called Artist Trading Cards, which are small 2.5"x3.5" cards. And I mainly use either Copic markers or acrylic paints to color them.

Me: It looks like you use paints a lot, am I right?

Chrissy: Recently, yes. I have been really into painting galaxy silhouettes as of late, it is just so much fun to fling white paint everywhere... haha!

Me: And you like drawing females more than males, is that true?

Chrissy: Also very true... hehe. Females just tend to be more fun and easy for me to draw. Gotta love them curves! Though I have been on a Batman kick lately.

Me: Your mermaid one looks good, Chrissy. Is that colored by computer?

Chrissy: Thank you! I just recently finished her. And yes, it is inked and colored digitally. I usually color all my prints digitally, unless it is a painting.

Me: It has an anime style? Are you into anime?

Chrissy: I can see that, though I tend to lean away from that style anymore since that is all I ever drew in high school. So many drawings of random eyes and Sailor Moon... hehe. I used to be into anime quite a bit, but now I am so out of the loop it is quite sad! The last anime I watched was High School of the Dead and FMA: Brotherhood. Though I have been told I really need to watch Attack on Titan!

Me: There's one of Harley Quinn that looks cool, and she's really popular, but it says "Jinx" on it.

Me: Is it not Harley?

Chrissy: Thank you! That particular one is not miss Harley but actually a recent character from "League of Legends." She is a pretty crazy girl, so when she first came out I did a quick speed painting of a skin idea for her that mimicked Harley Quinn's outfit. But I always love drawing Harley, I think I need to do an updated picture of her soon :)

Me: There's this very colorful Wonder Woman one you did which would look great on a t-shirt. Have you ever done art work for t-shirts? This should be your first.

Chrissy: Aw, goodness, thank you!! I have not actually, but that would fit very well on a shirt! Especially with t-shirts only being able to be 5-6 colors, I think I could convert that pretty easily. Thank you, no one has ever mentioned that before! :)

Me: So, what are you planning on doing next, Chrissy?

Chrissy: I need to get a whole new line up of prints going! So for the next month I am going to be doing a lot of new works! MegaCon is the first next year, and I also hope to have a new cosplay to wear by then! Hope to have Forecast Janna done in time, and also going to update my Gladiator Wonder Woman with a new skirt.

Me: I like to ask artists I pheature on the Phile what they think of the Phile's logo... what do you think?

Chrissy: I like it!! Bold lines, bright colors, awesome flying filing cabinet, what's not to like! Though it would be cool to see some different colors for the text, might really make it pop.

Me: Okay, I like to ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Here we go... Would you rather be a great musician, artist or athlete? I'd say musician.

Chrissy: Oo, you know I have always wanted to be able to sing and play an instrument. I think you can train hard enough to be an athlete and work/learn hard enough to be an artist. But singing, that takes something you were born with. And I for one was not born with the gift of musical capabilities... haha!

Me: Go ahead and plug your websites, Chrissy, and I'm sure I'll see you at MegaCon. Take care.

Chrissy: Thank you so much for such an awesome interview!! It was such a pleasure!! You'll definitely have to stop by my table at MegaCon so I can give you a hug! Websites- Facebook:, DeviantArt:,  Tumblr: Twitter: Print Store:

That does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to the beautiful Chrissy Alberston for a great interview. The Phile will be back on Wednesday with Phile Alum Kirk Waldrop from Nine Times Blue and then on Sunday with singer Barbara Lusch. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker