Saturday, February 21, 2015

Pheaturing Connie Crothers And Jessica Jones

Hey there, welcome to the Phile on a Saturday. How are you, kids?  Hey, tomorrow night it's the Oscars. Let's gather Sunday and pretend we've viewed non-pornographic films this year.  Well, this is good news I think... Louie the Clown... a life-sized clown doll that went missing from an amusement park in Wichita, Kansas a decade ago was discovered in the home of a convicted sex offender who used to work at the park. There, now you know what your nightmares will be about tonight. I wondered what he clown looked like so I had to find a picture.

Ugh. Send this clown back to Hell where he belongs.  A tanker truck accidentally spilled around 350 gallons of raw sewage onto an I-65 exit ramp in Indiana Thursday night. The liquid slurry of feces and urine quickly froze solid in the sub-zero weather conditions, prompting some genius working at the local newspaper Lafayette Journal & Courier to describe the fallout as a "toxic poopsicle." Ladies and gentlemen, we are no longer accepting applications for this year's Pulitzer Prize for journalism. Better luck next year.  A Michigan pediatrician is so very, very sorry that she will be unable to care for the six week old infant child of a lesbian couple, on account of her crippling homophobia. As she explained in a letter to the parents: "After much prayer following your prenatal (visit), I felt that I would not be able to develop the personal patient doctor relationship that I normally do with my patients." I hope this doctor gets through this difficult time in her life.   According to new data acquired by the New York Times, the average meal at Mexican chain restaurant Chipotle contains approximately 1,070 calories, which is somewhere between two-thirds and half of the recommended calories for one day of eating. It also contains "close to a full day's worth of salt (2,400 milligrams) and 75 percent of a full day's worth of saturated fat." Luckily, most of us only eat there three or four times a week. Myself I think I've eaten at a Chipotle just once last year. I like Tijuana Flats a lot better.  Grizzly bears at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming are apparently emerging from winter hibernation a month earlier than normal, according to park officials. Assuming they're anything like me when woken up early, visitors to the park should avoid them at all costs, lest they be mauled or forced into a unnecessarily vitriolic argument about why there are still so many dishes in the sink from last night. I hate when you're in the shower and a grizzly bear bursts in and gnaws off your good leg. It's true. Haha.  Okay, I mentioned tomorrow is the Oscars. Well, a street artist trolled all of Hollywood with a coke-snorting Oscar statue. Here is a picture of it...

Whose line is it, anyway? Street artist Plastic Jesus put up this amazing statue criticizing Hollywood drug culture right at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles, right at the end of the section of the street that will be cordoned off for the Oscars on Sunday. In light of the sad and untimely death of talented comedian and "Parks and Rec" producer Harris Wittels at 30, who publicly struggled with heroin and fatally relapsed this week, the criticism couldn't be timelier.  Hey, do you kids have Comcast? I don't, which is good considering their ad.

How rude.  With the Fifty Shades of Grey movie out Disney thought it'll be cool to cash in and rerelease some of their animated classics with Fifty Shades scenes thrown in. Why? I have no idea. Take a look though.

I have no idea what movie that is supposed to be from. The Princess and the Frog maybe?  I was flipping over the channels the other day and I stumbled upon the original "Star Trek" series and I spotted something I never spotted before.

Hahaha. I'm so sorry, that's so stupid. Wanna see what else is stupid?

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

Top Phive Sneak Peeks At This Year's Oscar Acceptance Speeches
5. Steve Carrell, Foxcatcher: And finally, to Rainn Wilson, who told me it would be career suicide to leave "The Office": Fuck you! "Backstrom" sucks!
4. Julianne Moore, Still Alice: And thank you for not nominating Matthew McConaughey for Interstellar... I couldn't have made it through another rome of his confusing nonsensical speeches!
3. Reese Witherspoon, Wild: Do you know who I am? DO YOU? Because I will RUIN YOU, you pathetic... oh, sorry! Wrong speech!
2. J.K. Simmons, Whiplash: Thank you for acknowledging my art... this'll really give me leverage when I renegotiate for those Farmer's Insurance commercials I do!
And the number one sneak peek Oscar acceptance speech is...
1. Michael Keaton, Birdman: In Birdman, I played a has-been superhero actor starring in a pretentious production to win back respect... yet everyone gushes that American Sniper was based on a true story!

How come pretty much every movie sounds like a superhero movie? Birdman, Whiplash, Foxcatcher, Nightcrawler... Crazy. Anyway, if you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so, I have to mention something important that I forgot to last week when the Phile returned after its sort hiatus. I used to have a pheature on the Phile called The Peverett Phile Rock and Roll Hall of Phame where Joe Ramsey, who was a member of unHOF would induct a different band. Well, last year I mentioned that Joe was really sick. Sadly Joe passed at the young age of 58, on December 29th, 2014, after a long brave battle with health problems. Thanks for all that you did, Joe.

Okay, another friend of the Phile is here to talk about something that is on his mind. He is a singer, patriot and renaissance man, and he hasn't been on the Phile in awhile so it's good to have him back. You know what time it is.

How far, the mighty have fallen... As you may have noticed, I don't go in much for following sports. Two reasons... 1. As I have said in the past, I feel the same about sports as I do about porn. Unless I'M the one getting sweaty and exhausted... I don't care to be a spectator. and... 2. When I was young, we had sports heroes like Mohammed Ali, Joe Namath and Willie Mays. They may have drank or caroused a bit... but we didn't hear about massive cover ups of steroid use, animal abuse, knocking out their wives or attempted murder charges. I just can't look at this lot as role models the way I did as a child. These "role models" are payed absurd amounts of money and lavish contracts to act like common thugs. I'm sorry... it's just wrong... and I choose to watch my children and grandchildren play little league over watching pampered, entitled, criminals throwing away their God given talents in favor of being crass villains in numbered jerseys. And that's all I've got to say about that...

It's 11:48 AM, 65°F and Kelly is playing at Universal Studios Orlando tonight but I'm not going. Anyway...

Today's pheatured guests are two jazz musicians who came together to record "Live At the Freight." Please welcome to the Phile... Connie Crothers and Jessica Jones.

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

Connie: Hi, Jason. Doing very well, thanks... very busy! 

Jessica: Things are sparkling and popping. And glowing and flowing! 

Me: You are both jazz musicians who have separate careers, and now have a new album out together called "Live At the Freight." Have you known each other long? 

Connie: We've known each other for over a decade. Maybe longer, if you count other lives. 

Jessica: Ha, yes, those other lives. It's all been a pleasure. 

Me: This is the first time you two worked together, isn't it? Or at least recorded together? 

Connie: We've performed together before then, but not duo. I was on two tracks on Jessica and Tony's CD, "Nod"... "Bird's Word", my tune, and "Happiness Is", a Joseph Jarman composition. This is the first time Jessica and I performed duo. 

Jessica: I loved working duo with Connie after hearing her in so many contexts. She's got both the power of forcefulness and real sensitivity. You definitely visit places you haven't been before when you play with her. 

Me: Is the Freight The Freight & Salvage in Berkeley? 

Connie: Yes. 

Me: Connie, you recorded there before, right? 

Connie: I'd never been to The Freight and Salvage before, even for coffee (it was a coffee house in its first incarnation). I've been to Berkeley quite a lot. I went to the University there. This was long before The Freight and Salvage was even a thought in someone's mind. I think it might have been there but it was hiding down on San Pablo Ave for the first forty years, not near campus at all. 

Me: I first heard of the Freight when a friend of mine went to see Graham Parker in concert there, and Graham recorded there as well and released a CD. Do you two know who Graham Parker is? 

Connie: I don't know Graham Parker, and I intend to familiarize myself with his music. 

Jessica: I don't know him either, but it must be the new location that he recorded at. The club moved to downtown Berkeley in the two-thousandsies. That's where we played, and the sound of the room and the facilities are amazing... as are the people. 

Me: So, was your CD recorded in front of a live audience? 

Connie: Yes, it was a concert. 

Jessica: Yes, hometown crowd. 

Me: Was that the first show you did together or was it part of a tour? 

Connie: It was the only concert we did. I was visiting family and friends there, not being on tour. It's a little funny that the recording was our first show together, because we have since performed some in New York City and are arranging a spring tour on the West Coast too. 

Me: There's some standards on the CD as well as some improv pieces. Were the improv pieces really improv and done on the fly? 

Connie: One hundred percent spontaneous improvisation, not even a talk-through. 

Jessica: That's how Connie rolls. I can roll with it too. 

Me: One of the pieces is called "Clothespins In a Row." Which one of you two came up with that name? 

Connie: Jessica. She is the one with a fun, quirky sense of humor. Notice, one clothespin. 

Jessica: Okay, that's how I roll I guess. 

Me: Okay, Connie, you play piano, right? How old were you when you started playing? 

Connie: Nine years old. 

Me: Have you always played jazz? Were you into other types of music as well? 

Connie: When I was nine, I began composing. I always felt I would be a composer, create my own music. I played classical music during my childhood, and performed quite a bit. When I went to the University of California at Berkeley, I majored in music, with an emphasis on composition. I couldn't identify with the composition of that particular time, because I felt it was too caught up with procedures, such as serialism, and not enough concerned with feeling and musical beauty. One of my boyfriends had taken me to hear jazz at the Philharmonic. I remember hearing Roy Eldridge and Ella Fitzgerald and the Modern Jazz Quartet. Through a process of logical deduction, I realized that jazz was the other great art music of our time. I couldn't improvise at the time. I studied with an arranger, a radio show host at KPFA, Cous Cousineau, then Lee Konitz, who was temporarily located on the West Coast. Very soon, I left for New York City to study with Lennie Tristano. Everything opened up for me then. Jazz became my life. 

Me: Where are you from, Connie? 

Connie: I'm from the San Francisco Bay area... born in Palo Alto; raised in Redwood City; lived in Woodside, San Jose, Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco. 

Me: Jessica, where are you from? 

Jessica: Berkeley, from 3 years old. 

Me: Jessica, you play sax. How old were you when you started playing sax and how did you end up picking that instrument? 

Jessica: I was 13. I was really late, for my crowd. The unique and innovative jazz program in the Berkeley schools started when I was 8, and I watched kids around me become these great improvisers. I loved jazz but didn't think I could play it. I was taking classical piano lessons and wanted to play jazz, but someone told me when I was 11 that you can't learn it, you either "got it or you don't". Which, as it turned out, was not all that helpful! A better tidbit of advice might have been, "listen to these recordings, and try playing along". Anyway, I kept listening to jazz and there was always a saxophone, so I figured maybe if I picked up that instrument some jazz might come out. Eventually, it did... LOL. 

Me: Not many women play sax, it's mostly a men's instrument, am I right? Or is that a bad thing to say or think? I've never really been PC. 

Jessica: It's no doubt an accurate observation for your experience. If you wanted to be more PC you could say "mostly men play that instrument, right?" cause that makes the instrument's wishes itself neutral... I mean, mine doesn't mind if I play it. But yes, certainly the current landscape has a majority of men. There are a few caveats to that... of course, things are progressing and there are more young women out there now who are visible and playing. A woman sax player, Melissa Aldana, won the sort of American Idol of jazz... the Thelonious Monk Competition last year. However, I think there's a deeper question involved, and more action required than just waiting for things to change. There are a lot of girls playing brass instruments and saxophone in elementary and early middle school. We lose a lot by high school and beyond. There are definitely some changes that need to happen. It's pretty weird to play and have someone think you are exotic or enticing or radical, or make other kinds of judgements because of the sound you want to happen in your music. You know? There is a lot of importance put on how a woman looks (looks playing an instrument, in this case) that is not put on men. I feel like music is just a sonic thing, and it makes me really uncomfortable when people respond to the visual part. But I'm also kind of ├╝ber shy at heart. We are each on our path. I like the sound of this hunk of metal. I have fun. 

Me: Jessica, you usually perform with a quartet, right? Who is in the quartet? 

Jessica: Well, my husband Tony Jones on tenor sax, like me, and drummer Kenny Wollesen and currently bassist Stomu Takeishi. We played with these rhythm guys 20 years ago and are happy to be reunited with such great players. We were all shortly out of college when we started together, and now we're... well, now we're not shortly out of college. 

Me: Isn't your husband a sax player as well? 

Jessica: He's my favorite sax player (cue the violins!). 

Me: Is that where you met? 

Jessica: We met in high school jazz band. He was a fierce player then too. 

Me: Jessica, did you know there's a Marvel superhero named Jessica Jones? I gather you didn't. 

Jessica: Haha. Yes, I think we are getting a TV show soon! I know who should be composing the theme song, hint hint... 

Me: Jessica, your band which is the Quartet had a name before which was Rhythm Crush, and it was your husband's name. And now it's The Jessica Jones Quartet. How did you convince him and the others to change the name to your name? 

Jessica: Tony and I started the band, and we both wrote for it but I was doing all the legwork stuff. We just changed the name because I had a lot of students at the time and I thought they'd be more likely to come to shows if they realized I was in it. It's kind of hard to get recognition for a band name starting from scratch. I think the name Rhythm Crush would fit into the scene more now though... everyone seems to be two word names like the Demented Toasters and Mysterious Blubber and such. 

Me: I interviewed different musicians on the Phile who work with their spouses or siblings, and I'm always amazed. How is it working with Tony? 

Jessica: It's great. Music is always there as a central part of our relationship, and we are always sharing our excitement about new songs we've heard and so forth. We practice together once in a while, and I love to perform with Tony because there is so much that doesn't need to be said. Sometimes practicing space within a small NYC living space is difficult with two musicians. By the way, it was Tony who turned me on to Connie! 

Me: I interviewed a lot of jazz musicians who also teach. Do any of you teach on the side or have done? 

Connie: I have been teaching since 1972. I only teach privately... individuals, not classes or groups. I only teach improvisation, all instruments. It is a great way to live, a continuously inspiring experience. I teach a lot of kids. Over and over. It's like groundhog day with the 11-14 year olds, for the last 30 years. I hope to graduate soon. 

Jessica: I truly love to teach though, as Connie says it's really inspiring. Kids especially are so creative. I teach at Brooklyn Friends School, and also for jazz at Lincoln Center with, again, 11-14 year olds. 

Me: Have any of you played at Carnegie Hall? 

Connie: I've done five concerts in Carnegie Recital Hall, now called Weill Hall. 

Jessica: Not yet! 

Me: Okay, Jessica, I have to ask you about your daughter Candace. Talent runs in the blood and she's gorgeous. Do you help her with her career? 

Jessica: Ha! She should help me with my career! She is also an astute business woman and sharp as a tack. What I do though, is pull her back into the jazz family periodically, which I know she appreciates. We sometimes perform as a family, and just did at Dizzy's Club in NYC. She's a great performer and, yes, a startling talent. Again, I'm about the sound.

Me: She's a singer, right? 

Jessica: Yes. 

Me: Do you think she'd like to be interviewed on the Phile sometime? 

Jessica: One never knows. A smart parent does not answer for her offspring! I'll happily connect you two. 

Me: Connie, do you have any talented children and is your husband a musician as well? 

Connie: I am not married. Carol Tristano, like a daughter to me, is a great drummer. She was in my quartet with Lenny Popkin for many years. 

Me: Okay, I have to ask you about The Lennie Tristano Foundation. What is that and who is Lennie? 

Connie: Lennie Tristano, one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time, an incredibly great piano player, an amazing improviser. He was also a great person, a great teacher. When he died, I formed The Lennie Tristano Jazz Foundation with friends... Lenny Popkin, Liz Gorrill, Lynn Anderson and his daughter Carol. At present, the only activity of the Foundation is Jazz Records. One of the concerts I did at Carnegie Recital Hall, "Solo," is on that label. The concert was produced by the Foundation. Jazz Records now produces mostly Lennie's music.

Me: So, with this CD out, will you two be working together again do you think? 

Connie: We have already performed since then, in New York City. We are hoping to organize a tour in California for later on this year. 

Jessica: We're on for the California tour! And throwing stuff out in the universe for future engagements, we'll see what sticks. The world is our oyster. 

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile. On the Phile if I remember I ask questions thanks to Tabletopics. Are you ready? I'll ask you both the same question. If you could do something dangerous just once with no risk what would you do? 

Connie: If there is no risk, it isn't dangerous. Being a jazz improviser, I like risk. Since I don't control anything that I play, every note is a risk. I don't guide my improvisation, or know what I am going to play, even a split second before, so I am always going into and through mystery. It is an amazing feeling. Having expressed that, I will try to come up with an answer to your question. I would time-travel to the Northeastern American continent, then called Turtle Island, sometime in the 1300s, before the arrival of the Spaniards. As much as I know about it, I identify strongly with the Algonquian nation as it was then. We European diaspora people would have learned a lot from them, if we'd been intelligent enough to know it at the time we arrived. I guess I'd have to say that this isn't really a dangerous idea. However, it might be highly risky. if I went back there and didn't want to return. 

Jessica: Woah. Connie, always able to twist your head around! I was just going to say skydive, but now that sounds kinda dull. 

Me: Haha. Thanks again, ladies. Plug both of your websites and please come back on the Phile soon. 

Connie:, Thank you, Jason. It was fun! 

Jessica: Thanks, Jason!

That about does it for this entry of the Phile, kids. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim, Connie Crothers and Jessica Jones. The Phile will be back next Sunday with cosplayed and actress Jacqueline Goehner. So, 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

Friday, February 20, 2015

Pheaturing Matt Borck From YUCA

Hey, everybody, wel ome to the Phile. How are you? So, today is the 20th of February. It's my 27th anniversary today working at Disney World. Yep, they haven't fired me yet.  America's weather is officially the most bizarre on the planet right now. Large swaths of the continental United States from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast are being plunged into the coldest, most desolate depths of Hell this week, carried on the back of the so-called "Siberian Express," a wave of frigid Arctic air from northern Russia. People caught in the grips of these historically low temperatures are being advised to stay indoors and solemnly contemplate the nauseating emptiness of existence. It's TV reporter forced to stand out in the cold seriously questioning career choice"-degrees.  Eddie Murphy came this close to performing a Bill Cosby impersonation for a sure-to-be-legendary 'Celebrity Jeopardy' sketch on this past weekend's "Saturday Night Live" 40th anniversary show, but ultimately declined because he thought "the laughs are not worth it" and that he wouldn't "kick a man when he's down," according to the sketch's author, comedian Norm Macdonald. "I am very appreciative of Eddie and I applaud his actions," Cosby later said through a spokesperson who may or may not have been under the influence of will-bending drugs. Okay, I'm good on I'm good on Why Isn't Eddie Murphy Doing What We Want Him To Do? stories.  Texas... along with its massive allotment of 38 electoral votes may not simply get handed to the Republican presidential candidate du jour for much longer. According to a new Gallup poll, the longtime GOP stronghold currently maintains a mere 3.9% Republican advantage, knocking it out of the "leaning Republican" classification but not quite making it enough of a swing state to justify candidates giving a shit about any of its voters. Possibly one day, though. Swing state means everyone's banging everybody, right?  Actress Allison Williams... notable for having her ass eaten out on HBO's "Girls" several weeks ago came mildly to her father Brian Williams' defense in a recent interview with Seth Meyers at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. "He's a really good man. He's an honest man. He's a truthful man. He has so much integrity. He cares so much about journalism," she said before launching into an irrelevant story about a dance recital or something. Is Brian Williams really the father of Allison Williams or did he lie about that too?  Nearly 200 patients at UCLA's Ronald Reagan Medical Center were reportedly exposed to a deadly antibiotic-resistant "superbug" between October 2014 and January 2015, in case you were wondering how the beginning of the end of the world was going to go.  Sunday is the Oscars and I was thinking may this year's Oscars feel shorter than the length it took to film Boyhood.  So, did you see that Fifty Shades of Grey movie? Disney... the greatest company to work for ever is rereleasing some of its classic animated movies with scenes based on the Fifty Shades movie. Check it out...

Hey, I didn't mention this last entry but I am so excited that Spider-Man is gonna be a part of the MCU finally. If you don't know what I'm talking about Marvel Studios announced that it has come to a deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment to bring the comic book character Spider-Man into their cinematic universe. Many excited fans are speculating that this means the classic superhero will play a major role in next year's scheduled Captain America: Civil War. Others are simply relieved that, with the franchise rebooting yet again, they won't have to see anymore of Paul Giamatti as Rhino. Well, I am glad to tell you that they already started to film a movie with Spider-Man in it and I have the screen shot to prove it.

Haha. That is stupid and clever at the sometime. Wanna see something else that is stupid?

Haha. I'm cracking myself up. Okay, let's see who has a one-way ticket to the end of the line.

Lesley Gore 
May 2nd, 1946 — February 16th, 2015
You would cry too, if it happened to you.

Louis Jourdan
June 19th, 1921 — February 14th, 2015
He escaped Nazi-occupied Paris and starred in dozens of critically-acclaimed, classic films alongside some of the most famous and beloved actors of all time. But you probably remember him from Octopussy.

This is a dumb one... if you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so you know I live in Florida, right? A lot of interesting stuff happens in Florida that wouldn't happen anywhere else so that's why I have a pheature on the Phile called...

Thirty-one year old Amie Carter took a bunch of unknown drugs and/or alcohol and strolled naked down an Orlando street until she faced off with a couple driving a Lexus. That's when her sense of self-romance struck and she began to masturbate, much to the horror of the of those inside the luxury vehicle, as well as those now stuck in traffic behind it. After she "finished," she climbed onto the hood of the Lexus, stomped on the roof, and then threw her cell phone at the car behind her. When cops arrived on the scene, it was easy to finger the culprit: they found Carter totally nude. In the police report, officers wrote that "Carter appeared to be under the influence [of] a heavy unknown substance." Add a heavy dose of self-induced oxytocin to that mystery cocktail. They also wrote that "she appeared in an altered mental state, displaying extremely irrational and volatile behavior." Volatile, sure. But irrational? I mean, she really didn't have much of a choice. Once you've walked down the street, you kinda have to masturbate and then jump on a car, otherwise what's the point? Carter was arrested and taken to Orange County Jail, where she was charged with criminal mischief and exposure of sexual organs. I find this all to be very circumstantial. Maybe she wasn't masturbating. She didn't have any pockets, isn't it possible she was just looking for her keys? I hope she gets off.

Does this look like the face of someone who just masturbated?

Today's guest is the lead singer and guitarist for the Canadian rock band YUCA whose new album "Rebuilding the Fallen Empire" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Matt Borck.

Me: Hey, Matt, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Matt: Thanks for having me on Phile. I am doing absolutely awesome... thanks for asking. So, how are you?

Me: I'm good. Okay, so, I went to watch your video on YouTube and instead I got the words "video has been removed because its content violated YouTube's Terms of Service." Man, good job. What was on that video?

Matt: I know, how badass is that, hey? Even YouTube can’t handle what YUCA through at them...  LOL. All joking aside, I still have no idea why the video was removed and what sucks the most is the video was climbing in views extremely fast. What can you do?

Me: What song was it for?

Matt: The video was for our brand new single “I’m alive she said”. How’s that for hype hey? "Brand new single from YUCA gets banned from YouTube!”

Me: I have this great idea for a video now... static, then those words, and then the band breaks through the screen and rocks. Whatcha think? I was kinda expecting that.

Matt: Haha. That’s awesome... I love it.

Me: Okay, YUCA is a trio, right? Who else is in the band with you?

Matt: YUCA is a trio and when I’m on stage over my left shoulder is Andy Boldt on bass and keeping my heart pumping in time every night is Dave Atkinson on drums.

Me: How did you all meet?

Matt: Online dating for lonely musicians. Joking.

Me: I have to ask about that tattoo down your arm, Matt. What does it mean and what exactly is it?

Matt: It has a very personal meaning for me. But the story behind it is that I fell in love with this artist’s work years ago when I was a skateboarder. I followed his career and art since then and always said that If I was ever given the chance, I would be honored to have a piece of his artwork on my body. That dream came true and it blows my mind that I have a tattoo done by him.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your band... YUCA. What does the name mean?

Matt: YUCA's name originated from an aggressive and absolutely majestic fish we had called a Malaysian Flowerhorn. When we were choosing a name for the band we felt the name YUCA just perfectly fit the band... “Aggressive, majestic, powerful and if you stick your hand in our tank we’d bite it off!”.

Me: Okay. You're from Canada, right? What part?

Matt: Yes we are from Canada and we are from the very best part... British Columbia!

Me: So, I ask every Canadian musician I interview on the Phile what they think of one of my favorite bands Barenaked Ladies. Do you like them?

Matt: I have never met them but I have heard that they are nice guys and as fellow Canadians we are stoked at how successful their career has been.

Me: YUCA's music is very Coldplay and U2 sounding, are they influences of yours?

Matt: I have always loved U2 since I was young and I’ll never forget hearing Coldplay’s “Parachutes” album when I lived in England and falling in love with them too. I don’t really listen to either band much these days but it’s always amazing how much of your influences bleed (unintentionally) into the music you create. Just wait till you hear my Cypress Hill and Beastie Boys influence come out!

Me: That'll be cool. What other music do you listen to?

Matt: Now and growing up?

Me: No, right now.

Matt: I love new music. In fact, I am very addicted to finding new music that moves me, I always have been. It can be hip hop, alternative, pop, dance, metal... as long as it moves me in some way... I love it! Right now my top three bands I have been listening to are: The Big Pink, NIN and La femme. When I was younger I was heavily influenced by the music my parents listened to so I grew up singing along with the greats like The Beatles, Elvis, The Stones, etc. I am forever grateful to my parents for introducing me to brilliant artists and bands since I was very young.

Me: When did you decide you wanted to be in a band and sing?

Matt: I’ll never forget that day because until then it was a “what if” and an “out of reach dream”...  but moving back from England I remember sitting in my living room with a cup of tea and my love. Fear turned to courage and “what ifs” turned to belief and it was then that I decided it was time to stop making excuses and start pursuing the dream I had since I was a kid. I’ve never looked back...  don’t ever plan too.

Me: Good for you, man. Alright, let's talk about your album "Rebuilding the Fallen Empire." What Empire would that be, Matt?

Matt: This album title means so much to me. “Rebuilding the Fallen Empire” to me represents rebuilding fallen dreams... the dreams that we had since we were young and innocent. The dreams we had when we didn’t think about what others thought... when being cool overrides what we are passionate about. The dreams we had of becoming presidents, world changers, firemen, rock stars, doctors, teachers, artists, researchers, students... the list goes on and on. Rebuilding the fallen empire is a statement, a movement and journey.

Me: Where did the album name come from?

Matt: My heart.

Me: I have to say, I listened to your version of "Roar" by Katy Perry and really dug it. Are you a fan of hers?

Matt: Who isn’t a fan of Katy Perry? Pop music is the guilty pleasure in all true music fans. I became even more of a fan of hers after my niece got me to watch the making of her "Roar" video. In the video Katy Perry is honest and shows a rash on her thighs from dancing, how tired she is and so on. What massive pop star lets the world see their true self? Not too many. I liked her music even more after that.

Me: That was surprising you did that song, but it's great. It needs to be a single or on a future YUCA release. Any plans for that?

Matt: No, too much copyright crap to deal with... LOL.

Me: You guys performed at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics... that must of been pretty cool.

Matt: We represented British Columbia’s Music for the Olympics and it was absolutely incredible... a moment that I will never forget and cherish forever. Who gets to say that they represented their province and performed on TV, radio and live while the world watched? So awesome!

Me: Did you get to see any of the events there?

Matt: Nope none.

Me: You also had a song on the video game for the Olympics for Playstation 3 and Xbox... did you all get copies. Have you played the game?

Matt: We did get copies and yes, I played the game. It’s very cool to hear your song being played over and over and over and over and over as you constantly bail cause you suck at video games... haha.

Me: Matt, you opened for a lot of bands, and one of the bands who played with is The Killers... I love that band. Did you get to meet them and hang out?

Matt: I was able to sneak a peak of them as they chilled in their dressing room before they hit the stage but no didn’t get to meet them of hang out. I did get about 5 feet from Brandon Flowers... enough to see his amazing moustache. I love their drummer... he just makes their music for me.

Me: Is there a band you would love to open for?

Matt: There are tons of bands that we would love to open for... you ready? MUSE, U2, Radiohead, Foo Fighters, NIN, Lenny Kravitz, Kings of Leon, Black Keys, The Cure, Coldplay, The Stones How crazy would that be hey? I could go on forever.

Me: Good choices, Matt. Okay, so, on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Ready? If possible would you live year round in your favorite season?

Matt: Without a hesitation... YES! It would be summer all year for me!!!!!!

Me: Matt, thanks for being on the Phile. Plug your website and I wish you continued success.

Matt: Take care. Jason, thanks so much for having me and from all of us in YUCA we thank you for your support and for sharing our music with your fans! Here’s our shamless social media plugs: YUCA’s website: ,Twitter:,  Facebook:,  iTunes:, YouTube:, Bandcamp:, Instagram:

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Matt Borck for a great interview. The Phile will be back tomorrow with two jazz musicians... Connie Crothers and Jessica Jones. 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

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Pheaturing Phile Alum Tish Meeks From 3 Kisses

Hey there, did you miss me? The Phile is back, kids! I know I said it'll be back in the end of January, but my plane was fired upon. Just kidding, I wasn't in a plane. So, every U.S. citizen east of Colorado should expect to be cryogenically frozen into a block of ice next week, as an extremely frigid wave of Arctic air descends upon the nation. Okay, to be fair, that's a little bit of an exaggeration. The lower half of Florida here looks like it will remain mildly warm.  Have you heard about this app called MassRoots? Apple has has reportedly changed its mind concerning the marijuana-themed social network, MassRoots, and will henceforth allow the app to be sold in their online store. There are, however, two caveats: 1) it may only be made available in states where cannabis has been legalized for recreational or medical purposes, and 2) buyers need to have sufficient motor skills to mash a finger onto their phone's screen to purchase the app. The craziest thing about marijuana being legalized is seeing stoners start businesses.  A new study of 5,000 Americans has found that being in a perpetual state of owing tens of thousands of dollars to moneylenders for having been given the chance to waste valuable years on college degrees that are near valueless in the modern job market may have a detrimental effect on people's mental health. They're still looking into it, though.  Robert Kirkman... creator of AMC's "The Walking Dead" has reportedly signed a deal with Cinemax to frustrate the expectations of its subscribers by creating a new sporadically worthwhile series about demonic possession, called "Outcast." An exorcism must be incredibly bittersweet because you stop being 1) possessed by a demon 2) the center of attention.  Animals researchers have found significant evidence to conclude that our pet dogs are adept at reading our emotions by monitoring our facial expressions. Not that that's going to stop them from pissing you off by shitting in the corner of the laundry room when you leave the house for more than four hours. But they will know for sure that you're mad.  At the beginning of this entry I referenced in a round about way the Brain Williams story. Well, recently a rare photo of Abraham Lincoln taken with Brain Williams after his horse was shot by a Confederate bullet surfaced. Don't believe me?

So, it's 2015 and this year we are supposed to dress like this...

Haha. Speaking of Back to the Future did you know I was supposed to play the part of Biff?

Oh, that's so bad.  So, that 50 Shades of Grey movie came out yesterday and Disney is cashing in by releasing some of their animated movies with some 50 Shades scenes thrown in. Check it out...

I know this happened a week ago but I have to mention it... After Beck's "Morning Phase" beat out Beyonce's self-titled album for Album of the Year, Kanye West, class clown, headed up on the stage to grab that award right out of his hands at the Grammys. He then seemed to think better of it and went back to his seat, while Beck called after him to stay. It cracked Jay-Z and Beyonce up, and everyone seemed entertained by Kanye repeating the notorious episode where he grabbed the mic out of Taylor Swift's hands after she won at the VMAs. When I saw this I thought was a dickhead Kanye was, and then when I saw this picture it all made sense.

Oh, God, I apologize. That's crazy and disgusting at the same time.  And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York here is this weeks...

Top Phive Things Brian Williams Says He's Doing But What He Actually Is Doing
5. He says he's parachuting into the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant to secure the rector core but he's actually sitting the kids down and coming clean about cheating on Monopoly for the last 30 years.
4. He says he's reconnecting with his teammates from Seal Team Six but he's actually finally watching that "Peter Pan Live" that's been sitting on his DVR for more than a month.
3. He says he's ghost writing Harper Lee's next novel but he's actually made those guest appearances on "30 Rock", or made those up too.
2. He says he's rereading journal entries from the time he hiked the Adirondack Trail but he's actually walking out to the garage to look for the rake.
And the number one thing Brian Williams says he's doing but what what he actually is doing is...
1. He says he is reliving the horror of seeing a body floating in New Orleans' French Quarter but he's actually realizing in horror that his entire career is swirling down the toilet.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, let's see who ate it recently...

Gary Owens 
May 10th, 1934 — February 12th, 2015
From beautiful downtown Burbank!

Jerry Tarkanian 
August 8th, 1930 — February 11th, 2015
Rebel without... well, anything, really.

Dean Smith
February 28th, 1931 — February 7th, 2015
Ran out the clock.

Charlie Sifford 
June 2nd, 1922 — February 4th, 2015
Looks like he took one stroke too many.

Rod McKuen 
April 29th, 1933 — January 29th, 2015
He tried out ranch hand, surveyor, railroad worker, lumberjack, rodeo cowboy, stuntman, and radio disk jockey before he landed on poetry. I can't figure out if he did it FOR the girls or because he HATED girls.

Today's guest is a Phile Alum and the lead singer for the great band 3 Kisses whose new CD "Cardboard Cutouts" is available right now. Please welcome back to the Phile... Tish Meeks!

Me: Hey, Tish, welcome back to the Phile. You are one of my favorite guests and it's been awhile since you were here. How have you been?

Tish: I’m doing great, Jason! Lots of exciting stuff happening, as usual. Never a dull moment around here. Thank you for having me again!

Me: I can't believe this is your sixth visit to the Phile. You first were here Christmas Eve in 2008. The Phile and 3 Kisses have come along way, haven't they?

Tish: I can’t believe it’s been that long since my first interview with you. Indeed they have! It’s always fun to watch the growth of not only my band, but those I work with. It’s a wonderful experience to be able to share in the success of others.

Me: This year the Phile is celebrating it's 9th anniversary and 3 Kisses is 11 years old, right? What has been the biggest change in the band all these years?

Tish: Happy 9th Anniversary! Yes, I started 3 Kisses in January 2004, so this is the 11 year anniversary of the band. The biggest change was moving the band across the country. That has been interesting to say the least. And of course, I have never had a very steady line-up, but I think each player I’ve worked with has brought what was needed to the project at the time. I have a pretty relentless vision and it is difficult to find people who share it. I’ve started listening to my mentors and changing my perspective that 3 Kisses is truly more of a solo project. I’ve always wanted that die-hard team of musicians, but it has been elusive. I’ve stopped looking for it and I am enjoying working with my current co-writers.

Me: So, you're still living in Alaska, right? You're not tired of the snow yet?

Tish: Yes, I am still living in Alaska. I will be here for a few more years, at least. I bought a house in May and I have no intention of moving my kids again. I am NOT a fan of winters, but this one has been unusually mild, so I am surviving. You get used to it after awhile.

Me: Do you make it back to Texas often, Tish?

Tish: I don’t make it back to Texas nearly as often as I’d like. My last two trips were due to funerals, so that wasn’t very pleasant. I’m going to try to make a trip with my kids this summer to see all of our friends and family, but first... we are taking a trip to Boston to spend some time with my dear friends, Joe & Donna Cannatelli at On the Fringe Studios.

Me: Benji and Hannah, your kids must be getting big, Tish. Are they getting into music as well? 

Tish: Benji and Hannah are growing up way too fast. Hannah has been in choir the past several years, but she is taking a break from it. She is still into art and drawing. I do hope she continues to sing. She has the voice of an angel. Benji has gotten into composing EDM and he is DJing events at local high schools. He has also gotten a song accepted by APM Music for licensing and I anticipate more of that happening in the coming months. He is working with my producer and our long-time family friend, Eric LaBrosse of Cherry Pit Studios who has produced my last 5 albums.

Me: So, your music has been on the 2014 Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards, a few food shows, and something called "Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare." I know when "Slow Ride" is on a TV show, or movie or commercial it helps sales, so I'm guessing those license placements help your sales. Am I right?

Tish: Some of the placements do help sales. It really depends on the placement. People don’t make as much effort to seek out new music as they once did, but it definitely doesn’t hurt! I never get tired of hearing my music on TV. I’m looking forward to continued placements with previous material and I think "Cardboard Cutouts" will bring much licensing success, as well.

Me: Tish, let's talk about 3 Kisses' latest album "Cardboard Cutouts". The band is hardly a cardboard cutout. Where did that album title one from?

Tish: The album title is a line from the song "Burn it Down."  The reference is to the flat society we have become and how so many people seem to be lost now more than ever before. I see way too much of it. The problem with becoming disheartened is that it takes enormous will to return to our true nature where we can thrive.

Me: You wrote all the songs on the album, am I right, Tish?

Tish: Yes, I wrote all of the lyrics, with the exception of the chorus on "March" which was written by Nate Lankford. All of the music was co-written with Nate Lankford, Ian Gallagher (who plays bass on the album), Nate Rouse, Scott Roseman, and Aaron Hay… except for "Aim High" and "Slow Down", which were co-written with my producer, Eric LaBrosse.

Me: Your past albums have been on Rat Pack Records, but this album you are doing everything yourself... has that been hard?

Tish: I have done a ton of promotion on past releases and the majority of sales have come directly from the band, not as a result of label promotion. The only difference this time is that the label doesn’t get a cut of the sales, so I will be rewarded for my hard work. If you are signed to a label and still feel like a DIY outfit, there is no point in being signed.

Me: Does living so far away in Alaska make it hard for you as well?

Tish: It is what you make it. I have been pursuing a masters degree, so I am not performing live much at the moment. I am focused on writing and recording the best songs I possibly can and continuing to work with APM Music for licensing my material. I will be playing live when I go out to Boston this summer. Touring out of Alaska presents certain challenges, but I believe there are many ways to get your music out there and you just have to find creative ways to get as much exposure as possible.

Me: On "Cardboard Cutouts" you have a brand new band, is that true? How many members have been in 3 Kisses altogether, Tish?

Tish: “Cardboard Cutouts” has numerous co-writers and session players on guitars and drums. As I mentioned, I am taking a new approach, so I will be working with various people from this point forward. Benji and I are even working on some ideas together, so you may hear something from the mom-son team down the road. I’ve worked with a lot of people… I don’t even know exactly how many different musicians I’ve played with… over 20!

Me: Do you ever think about releasing a solo album, or are you happy releasing music under the band name?

Tish: I own the band name and it always has been and always will be my band. I’m not really sure what the benefit would be to releasing an album as Tish Meeks. But you never know what the future holds.

Me: I have to ask you about a few of the songs on the album... what inspired the song "Aim High"? 

Tish: One of the things I’ve been doing with each new album is trying to write one tune that would be a good fit for licensing to sporting events. Eric and I sat in my studio and pulled this one together after he came up with the idea for the music. It’s a positive, upbeat anthem and one of my favorite tracks on the album. It inspires success, whether it be in sports or any other aspect of life.

Me: And I love the end track "Slow Down." Who are the children singing chorus on the song, Tish?

Tish: LOL… there are no children singing on “Slow Down.” The voices you hear are former high school students of mine, all graduated. Aaron Weber, Jacqueline McLean, and Sara Graffeo. They all took my songwriting class my first year as a tutor/advisor... all very talented young adults!

Me: Well, I hope you never slow down.

Tish: I don’t suppose I will! Music is in my blood and a driving force in my life. Without it, life would lose meaning for me in many ways. I love seeing new songs come to life and I constantly challenge myself to write compelling songs with a universal message.

Me: You are actually working on another album, am I right?

Tish: You are correct. We have four songs completed and are working on several others in preparation to record in April. Eric will be back up to Alaska to record Vicious Mammals, Derek Dean, and 3 Kisses. I am working with Dale Payne, who also plays drums for Vicious Mammals and we coordinated this recording session with Eric. I am also co-writing with Drew Owens, a phenomenal talent on both bass and guitar. Additionally, he has an amazing voice and will be contributing to backing vocals and harmonies on the new album. I’m extremely impressed with the songs we’ve written thus far and I am sure there will be more magic happening prior to our session. 

Me: So, will you be making a video for a song on this album?

Tish: I will be releasing a video for "Love is a Grave" sometime this week. It is in the final stages of production. I’ll also be flying my videographer up this summer to shoot some additional videos.

Me: Speaking of videos, I love the video for the song "Terminal Adolescents" from your last album "All Or Nothing Hero." That video looked like it was fun to film, Tish. Was it?

Tish: Filming that video was an absolute blast. We had a great time switching out costumes and there was a lot of hilarity in that shoot. I think the video is a great fit for the song... it’s all about having fun and not taking life too seriously, no matter how old you are. Who wants to grow up? Being an adult is a lot of work!

Me: You play a number of different characters in it... what was your favorite part?

Tish: I think I liked the 70s disco segment the best. I thought my costume was pretty funny for that one, although the rapper segment was ridiculously silly!

Me: Do you like to act and dress up?

Tish: I do enjoy it. Taking on a different persona allows for a whole different side of creativity. It’s fun to be someone else for a minute, sometimes.

Me: I always ask you about tattoos, do you have any recent ones? I am thinking about getting a tattoo of Graham Parker that my dad drew years and years ago. Do you know who Graham Parker is?

Tish: I do have a fairly recent one drawn by my artist, Cyndi Bruketta, at CynFul Ink. It is a trash polka piece with a grenade, music staff, mic and lots of red and black splatter. We’re going to add on to it eventually. I am familiar with Graham Parker. That’s an interesting tattoo choice! Having your dad’s artwork memorialized on your skin is a cool thing.

Me: Tish, thanks so much for being back on the Phile. Please come back again when you next release comes out. Go ahead and mention your websites and I wish you continued success. Now you need to come to Florida to play.

Tish: Thank you for your continued support over the years, Jason. It means a lot to me! I will keep you posted on the next release... look for it around the same time in 2016. You can order “Cardboard Cutouts” here: Follow 3 Kisses on Facebook: Follow me on Facebook: Follow 3 Kisses on Twitter: And check us out for the latest news on ReverbNation:

There. That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Tish for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Friday with Matt Borck from the band YUCA. So, 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