Sunday, May 31, 2015

Pheaturing Carmen Townsend

Hi there, welcome to the Phile for a Sunday. How are you, everybody? What's going on?  Dennis Hastert, former Speaker of the House and current high-paid lobbyist... was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury for allegedly attempting to pay an unknown person $3.5 million to cover up some sort of "past misconduct." We still don't know what this misconduct is, so I guess that means it worked?  Your favorite porn stars might soon have to wear protective eye gear while banging away for the cameras, if new rules proposed by California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health Standards end up going through. "These are regulations designed for medical settings, and are unworkable on an adult film set... or even a Hollywood film set," Free Speech Coalition CEO Diane Duke said in a statement. I actually think this is workable, just so long as they start phasing in machining plants as a common locale for hot sex.  It's bad enough that California is in the midst of one of the biggest droughts it's experienced in years, but now it seems as though the state's largest lake is picking up and moving to someplace less dry: the sky. The Salton Sea, located in the middle of the Sonoran Desert, is quickly evaporating into a mere pond of its former self, leaving behind dry and powdery lake bed soil that could pose an environmental hazard if large amounts of it were stirred into the air.  Lindsay Lohan has miraculously managed to complete more than 100 hours of court-ordered community service just ahead of the deadline, and is now... for the first time since the Bush administration... off probation and right with the law. “Hard work pays off. Thank you to all those that allowed me to volunteer while in NYC. God bless you all. Amen,” the actress wrote on Instagram. As of press time, she has not been arrested for any new crimes.  The 1980 movie Urban Cowboy... which improbably featured John Travolta as a cowboy hat-wearing good ol' boy who likes to line dance... is being remade for a new generation of people who will eventually come close to killing themselves trying to ride poorly maintained mechanical bulls. It is currently unknown what Jersey-born Italian guy will star.  A few weeks ago Simon Pegg accidentally revealed that Daniel Craig wanted to make a secret cameo in the new Star Wars movie. Well, apparently it's true and I have proofs, kids.

Man, that looks great.  So, have you seen the new EA Sports FIFA game that just came out?

Now that FIFA officials are being arrested, what's left to believe in? Oh, yeah... everything.  I have to show you this, a Phile reader sent this picture in...

And made the comment that they didn't know Obama played Potsy on "Happy Days." I laughed my head off when I saw that. It does look like Obama, does't it? Crazy.  Okay, so, you've seen in some magazines where they show you pictures of stars without their make-up, right? Well, here on the Phile I like to do the same thing. Check it out...

Kaaahhhhnnn! Sorry, I had to say it. And now, from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's...

Top Phive Reasons Why Pope Francis Hasn't Watched TV Since 1990
5. Constant arousal from watching "The Golden Girls" was too big of a risk of eternal damnation.
4. A million prayers to St. Anthony and he STILL can't find that damn remote.
3. Things just weren't the same after "Alf" went off the air.
2. There was this one episode of "The Outer Limits" that scared the bejeepers out of him.
And the number one reason why Pope Francis hasn't watched TV since 1990 is...
1. The cable went out and he's been waiting for the Time Warner guy ever since.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, you know I live in Florida, right. Well, there's some sone strange stuff that happens in Florida that happens nowhere else... that's why I started a pheature simply called...

In order to learn medical procedures, students often practice on each other. At Valencia State College, two female students were asked to participate in transvaginal probes to teach their fellow students how to complete sonography exams. The transvaginal probes were supposed to be voluntary, but when the students were told by professors that opting out would negatively affect their grades and their futures in medicine, it didn't feel so voluntary.  The students filing the suit claim they had to partake in the invasive procedure, which involved disrobing and entering a room of their peers, on a weekly basis. Aside from the embarrassment of being naked on an exam table because their grades depended on it, one professor allegedly told one of the plaintiffs she was 'sexy' and should be an 'escort girl' during a probing session. Did that give you chills? It's because the creep-factor just went through the roof of one of those giant buildings in Dubai.  If this story is giving you a rage-induced panic attack, you are having an acceptable reaction. As if choosing to go into medicine wasn't already punishment enough, can you imagine if your professors were basically blackmailing you into getting your vagina probed? If these allegations are true it will inspire a new show called "Law & Order SVU: Japanese Horror Porn." Here's more info about the case, I need to go scream or something...

Okay, I recovered. Anyway, the 37th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Phile Alum Patricia Cox will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

Today's guest is a singer from Canada whose album "Waitin' and Seein'" is available on Amazon. Please welcome to the Phile, the gorgeous... Carmen Townsend.

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

Carmen: Thank you, I am doing awesome.

Me: I have to compliment you before we start, Carmen. You kick ass. Not only are you a fantastic guitarist, you're an amazing singer, and you are hot. You are the total package. When did you realize you had a musical talent?

Carmen: Well thanks. I started performing live at 14.

Me: Being a red head like me... I am actually strawberry blonde, do you have a temper? All red heads do. I have a feeling you let it flow through your music, not like you sing angrily or anything. I have a temper, but I just swear a lot.

Carmen: Well the truth is... I have been dying my hair red since I was 15! I am not a real red head. I actually have blonde hair and blue eyes. BUT! Many au natural gingers have told me that I have the spirit of a true red head... and I do have a temper. I guess playing live is kind of like a tantrum really. 

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

Carmen: I am from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.

Me: I ask every Canadian I interview, and there's been a lot of you guys, and girls, if you like one of my favorite bands of all time who are also Canadian. So, do you like the Barenaked Ladies?

Carmen: I like their early stuff. I really love their cover of Bruce Cockburn's "Lovers In A Dangerous Time."

Me: Let's talk about your music, my dear. I heard some of your album "Waitin' and Seein" and looked for it on iTunes but it's not there, not on the U.S. version anyway. Will it be up there soon?

Carmen: I really hope so... I would love to play more shows in the states. We are waiting on a U.S. iTunes release but stay tuned!

Me: When and where was the album recorded, Carmen? You wrote all the songs on it, right?

Carmen: The album was recorded at Carriage House Studios in Connecticut and Soundpark Studios in Cape Breton. I wrote every song except for "Start All Over," that was written by Jesse Harris. He contacted me by email (he is friends with one of the album producers) and said he had a song he wanted me to sing. He was very generous and let me make it my own. I was living in Toronto and I was planning on moving back home to Cape Breton after 5 years to finally focus on my solo stuff.  My mantra at that time in my life was "I just want to start all over" so when he told me the name of the song I thought that was quite freaky.

Me: I was surprised when I found out who produced it. Tell the Phile readers who it was.

Carmen: The record was produced by Gord Gano of the Violent Femmes and Warren Bruleigh.

Me: Did you grow up listening to The Violent Femmes? What music did you grow up listening to?

Carmen: I used to cover them in high school! I grew up with my dad's records. Everything from The Beatles to The Ventures, Motown, classic rock... everything.

Me: Who did the album cover, and whose idea was it not to have a photo of you on it?

Carmen: Priscila Floriano of Sao Paulo, Brazil designed the album cover. We put the project on a website called where people from all over the world can enter their artwork for a specific project. There were over 200 entries! But, Priscila's was by far the coolest. I actually had no idea what we were going to do because I wasn't really into any of the entries. I was going to suggest that we just take a picture of my head and have the title written across my shoulders, the next day I woke up to find Priscila's entry. It was like she read my mind! Very cool!

Me: Carmen, I imagine you played all over Canada, but have you played the rest of America?

Carmen: We were lucky enough to travel to Australia twice last year... such a beautiful place. I am off to the U.K. in a few weeks which I am pretty stoked about. I would really love to tour the states! We had an amazing trip down to SXSW... we drove in a minivan to get there. I must say that spending 5 hours in New Orleans on the way home was by far the highlight. What an incredible place.

Me: I bet that was cool. Everybody I interviewed who played there love it. It gives you a lot of exposure. Do you like to play outdoor venues?

Carmen: Yes, I love to be a part of a major festival. It's such a blessing to be able to celebrate your passions. I love to play outdoor venues in the summer. Had to play in... 14 once in New Brunswick, that was not enjoyable. 

Me: You need to come down to Florida to play. Have you been down here yet? We stopped in Jacksonville Beach for a beach/surf day on our way back from SXSW. It was amazing!

Me: You mentioned you played in Australia... I bet that was an expensive trip. Did you go over there to support anybody?

Carmen: We have been to Australia twice in one year. We are very lucky here in Nova Scotia as we were sometimes eligible for funding to help finance the trek over. We supported a band called The Fumes and played The Woodford Folk Festival and the Peat's Ridge Festival while we were there.

Me: I have to ask you about your band, Carmen. There's three of you in it, right? Who are the lucky bastards that play with you?

Carmen: My band members are Shane O'Handley on the bass and Thomas Allen on the drums. They have been my band since I decided to get my solo stuff on the go.

Me: Has any of them asked you out yet?

Carmen: LOL. No, we are like siblings. That would be wrong.

Me: You did a song for a Neil Young tribute album, is that right? What song did you do, and how did you get involved?

Carmen: I covered "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere." A friend of mine suggested I submit a song and they really liked it! The tribute was called "Cinnamon Girl" and it was released from Laundromat Records in the U.S.

Me: I imagine you are a fan of his. Have you ever met him?

Carmen: I have seen Neil young 5 times... once unplugged and I cried my eyes out. The last show I saw from him was about a year or so ago and it was one of the best rock shows I have ever seen. I have yet to meet him.

Me: I read you were in a movie called Just Buried. Did you act in it, or do you sing in it?

Carmen: I didn't act in the movie but I did sing a song for it called "Just Buried." The song was written by John Wesley Chisolm and it's an amazing movie.

Me: Carmen, thanks so much for doing this interview. I wish you lots of luck and hope to see you in concert soon. Go ahead and plug your website and Twitter, Facebook, everything.

Carmen: Thanks for having me. You can download a free tune on my website and check out my stuff in all these places: Website:, 

Me: Take care, keep rocking, and come back again, okay?

Carmen: Thanks, and I'll come back anytime!

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Carmen for a great interview. The Phile will be back on Tuesday with actress Rachael Drummond. 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

Monday, May 25, 2015

Pheaturing Phile Alum Martin Belmont From Graham Parker And The Rumour

Hello, and welcome to the 800th entry of the Phile! Eight hundred. Can you believe that shit? Not only that but Happy Memorial Day, people. It's also the 38th anniversary of when the first Star Wars movie came out. Man, today is a lot of things. So, did you go out for Memorial Day? May your travels this Memorial Day be less delayed than our veterans' medical treatment. The only traffic I plan to encounter this Memorial Day is on the Internet. Let's commemorate our departed WWII veterans by eating German frankfurters and Italian sausages. I'm honoring Letterman's retirement by sitting around doing nothing this Memorial Day weekend. Yep, I gave been pretty lazy all day. Okay, what is going on?  The ancient city of Palmyra, located in modern day Syria, has been seized by ISIS militants. Many fear the religious fundamentalist group will destroy ancient artifacts of unmeasurable historical significance, as they have in other locations of which they took control. "Mesopotamia, Iraq, Syria, this is the wellspring of global civilization," historian Tom Holland told CNN. "It really couldn't be higher stakes in terms of conservation." Well, I hear these guys are kind of conservative, so maybe they're take that into consideration. Hey, ISIS, Queen Zenobia of Palmyra says hi.

Joe Francis, the man who popularized calypso music through his popular "Girls Gone Wild" beach resort videos... is currently hiding out in Mexico after a federal judge issued an arrest warrant for him on Tuesday, due to his failure to turn over two luxury cars as payment for legal fees. Why is the world always trying to tear down powerful men? Weird that Joe Francis is such a douche when his dad is like the coolest pope ever.  Despite the fact that giant pandas have been eating bamboo exclusively for approximately 2 million years, their digestive tracts are only capable of processing about 17 percent of what they consume, meaning that more than four-fifths of everything they eat goes to waste, according to new research from China. "Unlike other plant-eating animals that have successfully evolved anatomically specialized digestive systems to effectively deconstruct fibrous plant matter, the giant panda still retains a gastrointestinal tract typical of carnivores," the lead researcher explained. The prevaling theory about their existence is that God got super drunk one day. So, I sent to the grocery store the other day and I noticed something that I was offended by...

Ummm... excuse me, we'd preferred to be called "white folk."  I have to share this...

That's great, isn't it? Does anybody know what that comic strip is?  "Lulu" I think, or something like that.  Today's pheatured guest is from England like myself and there's some unusual named places in England lie this one...

That's not funny I know. You know what else is not funny?

Yeah, told you. Makes you think this Memorial Day, right? And now for some sad news...

John Nash 
June 13th, 1928 — May 24th, 2015 
Soon to be maximumly minimal.

In your initial visit to Tomorrowland, you're not really there at all. That's what scientifically-named Casey Newton (The Longest Ride's Britt Robertson) discovers when she first goes there by touching a tiny, metal, "T"-emblazoned pin. She takes three steps and bumps into a wall, knocking her back into the glum present. Tomorrowland is a real place, yes, but she can't quite live there just yet.  Casey and a middle-aged, embittered inventor named Frank Martin (George Clooney, refusing to downsize the twinkle in his eyes enough to convince you that he is truly all that unhappy) are thrown together by a charming British robot-child from the future (Raffey Cassidy... and just go with it) and forced to hop on a Phantom Tollbooth-like ride into poptimism.  See, it turns out that we abandoned Tomorrowland. It was to be a place of progress and miraculous advancements, flying cars and jetpacks. But humanity gave in to negative thinking and naysayers, and all the special people who would have created that gleaming place were squashed by... well, something. That's the official story, at least, from director Brad Bird and his co-screenwriter Damon Lindelof, one that nods in the direction of Objectivism without embracing it, but one that also fails to acknowledge that the real-life disappointing present is actually controlled by extremely powerful, government-influencing, corporate entities, such as oil companies that would gladly ruin the future in the name of profits.  But I digress. Tomorrowland wants to know how one young person (or at least one young person and one old guy and one kid robot) can make the world a better place in spite of everything. And the answer is to re-ignite hope, to re-shape minds, to assert control over our own destinies. Bird and Lindelof's vision is one where "dreamers" win simply by being dreamers and by outsmarting the forces of darkness that attempt to kill those dreams.  The film succeeds as a mechanical process for child audiences, who neither know nor care about the sadness of our collective stalled approach to progress. They will experience Tomorrowland as an exciting, set-piece-based, special effects adventure, and love it for that.  Adult audiences will rightfully notice more, like that it borrows from/references a string of earlier Disney product, both the light and the dark: the company's own theme parks in Anaheim and Orlando, and films as varied as Pollyanna, Peter Pan, The Black Hole, and Meet The Robinsons. But for all those ties to Disney tradition, and for all its self-administered compassion, it's a chilly object, one that just misses in its desire to be moving. As for its refusal to provide a blueprint for the rebooting of that glorious utopian future, that must be what's on tap for a sequel. From 1 to 10 I give Tomorrowland a 7. 

This is a really hard one. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. "Nancy"... that comic strip is called "Nancy." It literally just came to me. Moving on... well, it's Memorial Day and a friend of the Phile wanted to come on and say something about today. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man... you know what time it is.

Good afternoon humans... Happy Memorial Day... I have always detested the need for war. Not the idea of it, but the need for it. To be honest, the idea of cutting through an enemy like a chainsaw through butter gives me an erection. You pick a fight with someone for no reason... then by God, you'd better be prepared for that someone to burn you down and piss on your ashes. What I'm speaking of is the need for humans to go to war. John Lennon said it best... "Nothing to kill or die for..." Wise words indeed. We can all imagine a world where there's no need for war... but the reality of it is this... we live in a world where there are equal portions served up of GOOD and EVIL. While the Good wish for sunshine and romance and peace on Earth... The Evil wish for nothing more than a chance at killing the Good. For this reason... I am grateful for those out there who are willing to stand and fight. Good men and women... willing to commit unspeakable acts and unleash havoc... in order to destroy Evil. Anyway.... now, you sons of bitches know how I feel... enjoy your burgers. 
At some point during today take a moment away from eating grilled animal flesh, drinking WAY too much... and hoping others didn't notice you just puked behind the pool house... and remember the REASON you're off on Monday. Because an American soldier willingly and proudly gave their life to protect your right to be a drunken, drooling mess. As you were, my freaky little darlings...

Memorial Day
Memorial Day is a U.S. holiday honoring the military men and women no longer on a VA hospital waiting list.

This is so bloody cool for my 800th entry... today's pheatured guest is a Phile Alum who is a member of one of my favorite bands ever... Graham Parker and the Rumour. They have a new album out called "Mystery Glue" which is available on Amazon and iTunes. Please welcome back to the Phile, the great Martin Belmont!

Me: Hello, Martin, welcome back to the Phile for its 800th entry. How are you?

Martin: Hello. I'm good.

Me: I have to say I am so excited that Graham Parker and the Rumour have a new album out. When "Three Chords Good" came out in 2012 I wondered if you guys would all record another album, and I am sure a lot of GP's fans did as well. Did you guys or was it discussed back then you guys were gonna record a second album?

Martin: When we were recording "Three Chords Good" and filming later that year (2011) we were just concentrating on the present. It wasn't until 2013 around the U.K. tour that I seem to remember GP talking of a new album which we then recorded in April 2014.

Me: You guys must be having a lot of fun playing together. Does it seem like the old days again? 

Martin: We have a lot of fun playing together and it is so enjoyable because we are... well... just so dammed good together.

Me: I have my copy of the new album "Mystery Glue" and really like it. But then again I never disliked anything Graham has done. Anyway, how would you compare this album to "Three Chords Good"?

Martin: I find it hard to compare albums. I would just say that this one is maybe a better sounding record. As you would expect all the songs are great on both albums... "Mystery Glue" has more swing rhythms on it but apart from that they are both albums packed with great songs performed by a combination of great players!

Me: Martin, where was the album recorded and who produced it?

Martin: Rak Studios in London. Produced by Graham and Dave Cook.

Me: Did you all write the songs together or did Graham present the songs to the band?

Martin: Graham writes the songs as always. Then we play them as a collaboration of his directions and our contributions on arrangements, etc.

Me: Do you and Graham and the other guys on the band share the same musical tastes?

Martin: We share a whole lot of musical tastes... we are all of a similar age, give or take, so have a lot of the same influences.

Me: On this album and other Graham Parker and Rumour albums in the past there's always been a slight reggae sound, with rock, and soul. How do you think these all mix to make the bands sound unique, Martin?

Martin: Well, as you just said... soul, reggae, rock, pop are the basic ingredients that makes us sound the way we do. Take a little Dylan, Van, Stones, Motown, Otis, Beatles, rockabilly, Marley... stuff from the 50s, 60s and 70s and stir until it comes out as Graham Parker and the Rumour.

Me: So, I have to ask, do you have a favorite track on this album?

Martin: No, I like them all equally!

Me: I was told to ask you this the last time I interviewed you... what is your favorite GP album of all time?

Martin: "Howling Wind," "Stick to Me," "Squeezing out Sparks," "Three Chords Good" and "Mystery Glue." Can't pick just one!

Me: This album took a little bit longer to record than the previous album, am I right, or did it just seem that way to me?

Martin: No, it took about the same time to record (a week). There was a gap of a few months before it was mixed then a long gap before it was released.

Me: I have to ask you about the album title... "Mystery Glue." Where did that title come from, Martin?

Martin: It's in the song "Long Shot." You heard of dark matter? That's the stuff that holds the universe together but nobody can see it... GP thinks it should be called mystery glue instead and I think he's right!

Me: Would you care what ever he wanted to name the album? Shit, if I was in the band he could call the album anything he wanted.

Martin: Not at all. I think generally he comes up with great titles.

Me: I have to ask you about the cover as well... it has definitely a 70s look to it. Is that what you guys were going for?

Martin: I have only seen the front cover which looks great and a little weird which is appropriate.

Me: Who did the cover art? It's so good.

Martin: I don't know who did the artwork. I don't have a copy yet so I haven't seen the credits!

Me: You guys are about to go on the road... when was the last time you all played together?

Martin: U.K. and Europe tour last summer.

Me: Have you been practicing and learning any songs that you guys haven't played together before? 

Martin: We'll be rehearsing in Minneapolis before the first date but we all do our home work for songs we haven't played live before.

Me: Martin, how would you compare audiences in America to audiences in England?

Martin: On the recent tours all the audiences have been brilliant whichever side of the Atlantic they are. There is a lot of love out there towards us.

Me: And do you have a favorite city to play in?

Martin: No favourite city! Love them all.

Me: The first time you were here, Martin, you were promoting Ducks Deluxe. How is that band going?

Martin: Ducks Deluxe have ceased to be.

Me: What? That's a shame. Alright, so on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Ready? What makes you a good teacher? That's stupid, I'll change it. What makes you a good guitar player?

Martin: If I am a good guitar player it's because I learned from great players like Scotty Moore, James Burton, George Harrison, Robbie Robertson, Ry Cooder, Lowell George, Chuck Berry, Hubert Sumlin and many more. Notice there are no hard rock/heavy metal/100 notes a second type players in this list and no young people!

Me: Haha. Yeah, I noticed. Martin, thanks so much for being back on the Phile. Tell Graham I would love to interview him again for the third time or anybody in the Rumour. Take care, and please come back again soon.

Martin: Okay. I'll tell Graham and bye for now.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Laird Jim and of course Martin Belmont. The Phile will be back next Sunday with Canadian singer Carman Townsend. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Be safe driving out there this Memorial Day.

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

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Pheaturing Tony Smith From Gone Dead Train

Hi there, kids. Welcome to the Phile for a Sunday. How are you? Let's see what is happening in the world, shall we?  Josh Duggar, Christian activist and first child of the family featured on the TLC reality TV show "19 Kids and Counting" is stepping down from his position as executive director of the Family Research Council, a vehemently anti-gay political lobby, after admitting to the molestation of several underage girls when he was a teenager. "Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret," he said in a statement he apparently saw fit to make through Facebook. Couldn't he have just been secretly gay like the other anti-gay lobbyists? Josh Duggar: "I am so very thankful for God's grace, mercy and redemption." God: "My what now?"  Robert Gates, former Secretary of Defense and current president of the Boy Scouts of America is calling upon the century-old youth organization he heads to reverse its stance on homosexuality and allow gay men to act as scout leaders. “We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be," he told a crowd at the Boy Scouts' annual national meeting in Atlanta. Does that mean they're also going to reverse their position on square knots? Those things were goddamned impossible to figure out. By the way, I don't support the Boy Scouts of America because of their anti-gay policy, but really mainly because they don't sell cookies.  Pixie-American actress Reese Witherspoon will be playing Tinker Bell in Tink, a live action adaptation of the Peter Pan story, reimagined and told from the perspective of the fairy sidekick. This is the closest that Witherspoon has ever come to portraying her actual lineage onscreen. I love Reese Witherspoon and that video of drunk Reese Witherspoon arguing with a police officer only made me like her more. Here's a story about France... groan. France's National Assembly is in the process of passing a law that would make it illegal for supermarkets to destroy unsold food, instead forcing them to make it available it for charity or animal feed. Do you see the unimaginable evils that come from unchecked socialism? Supermarket spokespeople contend that they already donate a lot of food, and the real culprit of food waste in France are the French people themselves, constantly flinging baguette ends, Brie rinds, and cigarettes (the French diet) everywhere as they make their honking laugh at everyone else's expense.  In what is a historic day for gay civil rights, Ireland has just become the first nation in the world to legalize same-sex marriage by a popular vote. The combination of high voter turnout and thousands of Irish ex-pats flying #HomeToVote helped push the outcome toward supporting the 'yes' side. Votes are still being counted but both sides have said the results are clear: Ireland supports marriage equality. I hope we replace the export of St. Patrick's Day with the much better holiday of Legalizing Gay Marriage Day.  Last week I said I am not gonna say or joke about this whole Patriots deflated ball story, or Tom Brady. But... I have to at least one more time. Please forgive me. I cannot resist. So, here we go... do you know what this is?

A Patriots cheerleader. Hahaha. Sorry, I could not resist.  Disney is coming out with a new movie that is a musical and is cashing in on the popularity of the Avengers movies. I'm really not sure if I want to see this...

What do you think?  So, do you like Little Debbie snacks? Well, the company has just changed its name to keep up with the times.

Hahaha. Oh, man. Today's guest is from England lie myself, and there's some very oddly named places over there. Like this one...

That's a stretch I know.  So, last entry I forgot the Mindphuck again. It's pretty much the only consistent pheature I have on the Phile and I forgot. So, today there's two Mindphucks. Here's the first...

I'll show the other one in a minute. I have to say first that after 33 years in late night, David Letterman aired his last episode of "The Late Show" Wednesday night. As per Letterman's style, the show was classy, irreverent, and self-deprecating, but not overly sentimental. It was a perfect sendoff, and made many people realize just how much they'll miss seeing Dave on TV. The show, which featured classic clips as well as new material, had no interview segment. No guests were announced ahead of time. In fact, none appeared during the show, except during one part: the final Top Ten list. And for that, Dave pulled out all the stops. The list, entitled "Top Ten Things I've Always Wanted to Say to Dave," featured ten celebrities and former guests who have made a personal connection with Letterman over the years. The lineup was amazing: Alec Baldwin, Barbara Walters, Steve Martin, Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Carrey, Chris Rock, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Peyton Manning, Tina Fey, and of course, Bill Murray. Each came out in turn, most of them finding their mark, to give David Letterman one last sick burn. The best part was how much Dave loved it. It's exactly how he would want to go out: as the butt of the joke. Dave, you will be missed. By the way, a day after his last show CBS started taking his studio apart...

Anyway, because of Dave I have this pheature... now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's...

Top Phive Ways That Disneyland Is Celebrating Its 60th Anniversary
5. Moving that homeless encampment out of Mickey's Toontown.
4. Thoroughly de-lousing all character costumes for the first time since the 30th anniversary.
3. Finally getting to the bottom of who keeps taking dumps in the moat of Sleeping Beauty's castle.
2. Adding one free small diet root beer to the $999 family pass (weekdays only; no refills).
And the number one way that Disneyland is celebrating its 60th anniversary is...
1. Tricking thousands of saps into visiting a mediocre, crowded, overpriced theme park.

Brown University
Brown University is the Ivy League's Ringo. Haha. Just kidding. Congrats to my nephew Noah for graduating from Brown.

This is a classic. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. By the way, what is Ariel looking at? Alright, so, I get a few emails asking me why I introduce Laird Jim here on the Phile as a singer. Well, that's because he was a singer in a lot of bands. What bands? I don't really know, so I thought it'll be cool if he tells you himself. Yep, he's a singer, patriot and renaissance man. You know what time it is...

Hope I'm not missing any. Saturn: first band in 1976, Queens N.Y. Xanadu: high school band with a line up that I drew from for the next three decades worth of bands. Outrage: first Long Island club band I was in. Cintron: Yes, I was in the first line up of George's solo band. Jelley: After George fired the whole band, the bassist, drummer and I joined with Eddie Jelley and John Havlichek. Swiftkick: After my split with Jelley, I was asked to join Swiftkick when their original singer John left. Shelter: I was an idiot and left Swiftkick for this ill fated band managed by Tommy Mattola, with a record deal and a guaranteed opening tour slot with Hall and Oates. They tore up my contract when their original singer wanted back in. Whitestone: (Closest we had to an actual name). Greg Smith from Alice Cooper's band called and asked if I wanted to play with members of Twisted Sister and KISS... and that Gene Simmons was the manager... of course I said yes. Slaughter" (Yes, THAT Slaughter) before they got Mark and named the band after him... their management called and asked me if I wanted to join a group with former members of The Vinnie Vincent Invasion. I said no... they got Mark... they became huge... I felt like an idiot for saying no. The Young Breed: A reformation with my old classmates from Xanadu. Mostly original music. G.T.X: Again, an original project with high school friends... Almost made it with this one. Music Street: An outstanding wedding band (Yes, a wedding band... LOL) that was probably the inspiration for The Wedding Singer. Steel Breeze-Unplugged: I gathered some amazing guitar players I knew and performed acoustically. People loved this band. Four Sticks: Some friends had this great Led Zeppelin tribute and their singer split. I had a blast playing in NYC with these guys. Incredible line up. The Raw Poets: Original group who lost their singer and were being managed by Roger Daltrey. I didn't fit in with their style of writing. No Alternative: Amazing group playing the best of grunge music while it was new and fresh. Third Childhood: Amazing line up, amazing selection of hard rock hits, amazing band. Rhythm Shtick: An odd pairing of music and comedy executed by myself and several very talented friends. Joshua Tree:  First of two U2 tribute bands I founded left when I wasn't having fun anymore. Pride-The U2 Show:  After leaving J.T., I started another U2 tribute with some very talented gents. Mugsy: Richie from Swiftkick called and wanted to put together a "Kick Ass Band"... so, we did... then, we took a break that we're still on. No Alternative 2: Most recently, I got together with the fellas from Pride... for a re-boot of No Alternative. Sadly, life takes twists and turns. New babies and work schedules prohibited all of us from being able to devote the time needed to get this group off the launch pad. Current status: on hold.

Okay, today's pheatufed guests is the lead singer in the band Gone Dead Train whose latest CD "Where There's Blood" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Tony Smith.

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

Tony: I'm fine thanks, it's been a nice warm day here in S.W. France.

Me: So, recently on the Phile I interviewed John Bentley. He's been on the Phile before, but this time he was here he mentioned he was working with Gone Dead Train. I thought then right away I should pheature that band on the Phile. Anyway, as you know John was a member of Squeeze. His interview here got some attention as he talked about leaving that band. When did you find out he was leaving Squeeze and what did you think?

Tony: John told me last month that he wouldn’t be in Squeeze for much longer. He was here in France to play with Gone Dead Train to present the band's new album. I thought John leaving Squeeze? Hmm, that’s a bit déjà vu (as they’d say here). Well, he’s the original bass player on all the hits and it’s a fact that a decline in the band’s fortunes coincided with his first departure and a revival occurred when he re-joined the group in 2007. Actually, he is still lined up to play a couple of festivals with Squeeze this summer. After that, will his departure affect the band's fortunes? Watch this space (or another space probably).

Me: Did you grow up a Squeeze fan?

Tony: I was a friend (at college) of Squeeze's first bassist Harry Kakoulli. We lost contact and I happened to be watching "Top of the Pops" one Thursday evening a few years later and saw him onscreen and then a few months after that I saw Squeeze on the box again but with John B. as bass player and I also knew him.

Me: So, I have to ask you what's your favorite Squeeze album.

Tony: I only really know the singles I'm afraid. I like all of them... real classics.

Me: John mentioned he taught you guitar, but you had to remind him, am I right?

Tony: Well, he had a lot of pupils at the time as he worked in schools as well as giving private lessons and he’s had an exciting life on the road since then.

Me: When and where did he teach you, Tony, and were you aware of who he was at the time?

Tony: A mutual friend recommended John to me. He taught me in '75/76 in a big old house in Bromley. I knew he'd been a founder member of The Fabulous Poodles who I used to go to see perform very often at The Marquee and other London venues with the aforementioned friend.

Me: So, how did John begin to work with Gone Dead Train?

Tony: About 3 years ago I got in touch with John and asked him to have a listen to the album ("Sensatorial" by Audiosonics UK21) that I had just made with a young French keyboard Wizzard. The album got noticed by a wealthy Russian guy who offered some money to record another album. Luckily, he's a nice guy because I went off at a complete tangent and formed a folk/country/alt band. John liked the resulting album which was the first Gone Dead Train album and offered to produce the next one... which he did. And the Russian likes it too.

Me: He wrote a few songs on the album and played on it, am I right?

Tony: John co-wrote 4 of the songs on this second Gone Dead Train album and we're continuing writing together. During the recording process, one thing led to another, and he ended up playing a lot of the instruments too.

Me: So, is John an official member of Gone Dead Train?

Tony: He said he's ready to come on tour with us and he comes on stage with us to play either guitar or bass when he comes to visit. He can become an official member when he likes but that would involve a lot of flying as he lives in Sussex.

Me: Who is in the band with you, Tony?

Tony: They are all French: There's a super harmonica player, a drummer (who also plays banjo, guitar, flute, melodica and accordion, depending on the songs, while still maintaining a beat) a brilliant slide guitarist, and a bassist.

Me: I have to say as I'm British myself you're in a band with some French guys. Is that allowed?

Tony: I've been in a lot of line ups with French guys... they're often very good musicians but it's best to keep them away from the microphones... unless they're singing in French, although sometimes even then it's not a good idea... and the women are worse! They either sing with a gasping bat's breath or they belt it out a la Johnny Halliday.

Me: How did you meet these guys? Do you live in France?

Tony: I've lived in France since 1982.

Me: Alright, I have to ask you about the band name... did you take it from the Randy Newman song in Performance?

Tony: Yes, and then I found out that it's also the name of a 1932 blues track by King Solomon Hill. 

Me: That's a great soundtrack, and a weird movie with Mick Jagger for people that don't know. Are you a fan of the movie?

Tony: It's one of my favourite films and the best one that Jagger's ever been in by a mile.

Me: And are you a Randy Newman fan?

Tony: Not particularly.

Me: What music did you listen to growing up?

Tony: Sixties golden era: Kinks, Beatles and Stones and Small Faces and some ska and rock steady because of the skinhead influence in the youth club that I attended. Sixties folk music too... Bert Jansch, Roy Harper, Fairports etc. and some west coast American.

Me: Anyway, I have that Performance soundtrack on CD somewhere. It's a great CD if you don't have it.

Tony: I have it.

Me: Alright, let's talk about "Where There's Blood." This is Gone Dead Train's second CD, right?

Tony: Right.

Me: Where was it recorded, Tony?

Tony: Mostly in John’s studio. I added the vocals in a studio called La Cave Sonore run by the keyboard Wizzard I recorded the electropop album with. He played some keyboards on both Gone Dead Train albums. 

Me: I really like it, it has a very Americana sound. Is that what you were going for?

Tony: Thank you. Yes, I’ve been watching so many super U.S. TV shows like "Justified" (set in Indiana) that I’ve been picking up the accent. Some of it’s tongue in cheek style but I do seriously like the Americana genre. And the album is released on Decibel Records Nashville which isn’t bad for a U.K./France band based in France!

Me: On the album you have a song called "Gone Dead Train," but that's not the Randy Newman song.

Tony: No, it’s after the name of the group. ‘I’m on that gone dead train, I’m gonna be with you again, oh our hearts became unchained, I’m comin’ home, don’t wanna live my life alone.’

Me: By the way, have you ever heard the George Thorogood version if it?

Tony: No ‘fraid not.

Me: My dad was gonna record that song but never did for some reason. Allegedly George heard my dad perform it in concert and recorded it instead.

Tony: Shame, because everyone that recorded it had a hit of sorts with it.

Me: I love the song "Runnin' Outa Beatles." Anyone that does a song about the Beatles is cool with me. I have a "band" called Strawberry Blondes Forever and on the album we have a song called "I Wish I Was a Beatle." Look it up on iTunes. Anyway, what was the inspiration behind your song?

Tony: "I Wish I Was a Beatle" is funny! Could have been on an early Zappa album.

Me: Thank you.

Tony: John came up with the line ‘Runnin’ outa Beatles’ and a couple of others and I sort of took it from there.

Me: There's another song called "Fuhgeddaboutit." I hope that is correct. That's something you don't hear British people saying... that's something out of the "Sopranos." Where did that title and song come from?

Tony: Fuhgeddaboudit is an expression from Brooklyn that was popularised by Johnny Depp in the Mafia infiltration film Donnie Brasco. It means don’t worry about it or no way.

Me: I know, but... never mind. Tony, I have to ask you about the woman on the album cover. Who is she?

Tony: She’s Amandine, my son’s muse. A lovely girl and a good actress. She’s dressed as she’ll be in the video he’s making for the song "Runnin’ Outa Beatles'. The release date has been set back a bit because he’s directing a big budget video clip in Casablanca and following it up with some well paid film work in Morocco at the moment. He made a brilliant video for the song "Waiting for Salvation" (a song from the first Gone Dead Train album) that has close on 12,000 views on YouTube.

Me: So, what is a typical Gone Dead Train show like, Tony?

Tony: A high energy rock, country and ska jamboree package that has people up and dancing.

Me: Were you in a band before Gone Dead Train?

Tony: I fronted a band called The Unsound in France in the 90s that was signed and distributed by Night and Day, a French label and distributor.

Me: Alright. So on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Ready? This is really dumb... what's under your bed right now?

Tony: Dust, small coins, and possibly my favourite belt now I come to think of it that’s been missing for a few days.

Me: Tony, thanks for being on the Phile. Please come back again soon, and tell JohnI said hello. Wanna mention your website and stuff?

Tony: Here's a link to the video of "Fuhgeddaboudit" that I wrote with John Bentley... it's on the "Where There's Blood" album. Sam Flynn (who played for a few years with Eurythmics is on piano). And this is a link to the full album on CD Baby There’s a Facebook page for Gone Dead Train.

Me: All the best, and I love your music. Don't forget to check out Strawberry Blondes Forever.

Tony: Thank you for having me. I have checked out your band and I think there’s some fine playing and a good sense of humour in there, which is a good mix.

Me: Thanks.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Laird Jim and Tony Smith. The Phile will be back tomorrow with the 800th entry pheaturing Phile Alum Martin Belmont from Graham Parker and the Rumour. 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

Monday, May 18, 2015

Pheaturing Young Stella

Hello, and welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? So, kids, did you graduate? If so I have to say congratulations on getting through the easiest part of life. Even though you're now highly educated, don't dismiss the advantage of dressing a little slutty for job interviews.  Alright, what is going on? Barack Obama is announcing a ban against the federal government providing military-style assault rifles to local police departments. This sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. I can't imagine how a police officer is supposed to enforce jaywalking statutes without a semi-automatic Zastava M70AB2 rifle with a pistol grip in his hand.  Nine people are dead, 18 are injured and another 165 are behind bars after a massive brawl between three rival motorcycle gangs broke out in a Waco, Texas restaurant yesterday. Chains, knives and guns were all used as the melee spilled out into the parking lot and police became involved. The really sad part of all this is that it is likely to give the town of Waco a bad name in the public eye.  Senator Lindsey Graham just announced his intention to join the other 374 members of his party who are seeking the Republican nomination in 2016. "I'm running because of what you see on television," he explained to the press. "I'm running because I think the world is falling apart." That's silly. The final "Mad Men" episode wasn't that bad.  Speaking of... AMC's groundbreaking period drama series, "Mad Men"... the story of one man's decade-long journey through life and love en route to creating the world's most iconic television commercial drew to a close last night, leaving heartbroken fans thirsting for a show equally as cool and refreshing.
People across the country continue to debate whether or not a comedian should be able to go on television and tell the kinds of jokes that they personally do not like to hear. This time, it's because of Louis C.K.'s controversial monologue on "Saturday Night Live," which touched upon issues of racism, child abuse and other topics that should never be spoken of in public, lest they become real.  Who saw the Billboard Awards last night? I started watching it hoping the Disney's Hollywood Studios Star Wars Weekends Billboard would win, but no such luck. Look at it though...

Anyway, last night at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas, Taylor Swift won 8 awards, for a career total of 20 Billboard awards. She broke Garth Brooks's record of 19 wins, so now she's the top artist for the publication who tracks top artists. Wins on wins on wins. Taylor Swift is sort of crushing it lately. Her bitchin' new video blurred the lines between music and cinema, she's got a new boyfriend, plus she's just a really good person. Taylor is so popular Disney is re-releasing some of their classic animated movies replacing the princess with Taylor. Check it out...

Okay, I'm a New York Giants fan, so it makes me laugh about this whole Tom Brady-Patriots-deflated football deal. I promise though, I'll make one more joke about it. Did you see the new book Tom Brady wrote?

Haha. Okay, I have one more... but that's it. Did you see they are coming out with a new TV show this fall about the whole thing? No? Check it out...

Okay, there you go. I just hope the Giants don't have any drama next season.  Okay, in yesterday's entry I made a joke about the new Oreo's that are coming out and I showed this...

Haha. A lot of you corrected me saying that's not Oreo's, that's M & M's. You are right. So, let's try this again. Did you see the new Oreo's that are coming out?

I might have to try them. There. That's done. As you know I live in Florida and there's some stuff that happens in Florida that doesn't happen anywhere else. That's why I started a pheature called...

This is one of the most bizarre stories I've seen in a while. Cheryl Treadway is a mother of three from Highlands County, Florida. She got into an argument with her boyfriend, Ethan Nickerson, which escalated until Nickerson was threatening her with a knife. The two argued all day, and when Treadway attempted to leave and pick up her children from school, Nickerson grabbed her. He took her cell phone and wouldn't let her leave unless he accompanied her.  Back at home, Nickerson continued to deny her access to her phone or computer, preventing her from contacting anyone. Treadway feared for herself and her children, and had become a hostage in her own home. Out of desperation, she hit on an idea. She was able to convince Nickerson to let her have her phone back just long enough to boot up the Pizza Hut app and order a pizza. He was watching, so she couldn't call or text for help, and she knew he would take the phone back as soon as the order was placed. So she placed it.  Treadway ordered a small hand-tossed pizza with pepperoni, but before she submitted it, she wrote a plea for help in the comments section. The workers at Pizza Hut were shocked when they saw it...

Store manager Candy Hamilton told "Good Morning America," "I've been with the company for 28 years and I've never seen nothing like that come through." She and her co-workers immediately jumped into action, calling 911. Police were dispatched to the house, where Treadway met them on the lawn holding her baby, and explained the situation. Nickerson, for his part, locked himself inside with the two other children and didn't want to come out. Lieutenant Curtis Ludden told WFLA, “His first words were, of course, 'I'm not coming out because I know I'm going to jail.'"  After 20 minutes, police were able to convince Nickerson to come out peacefully. The children were taken to safety, and he was arrested. He's now facing multiple felony charges including aggravated assault with a weapon without intent to kill, false imprisonment, battery, and obstruction of justice. Police believe he may have been high on meth at the time of arrest.  Even though everything worked out, this is still a chilling story. Knowing the Internet, I'm sure people will attack Treadway for becoming involved with an abusive psycho like Nickerson and putting her children in danger, but the truth is that it happens to people every day. One day, your significant other seems like the best thing that's ever happened to you. Then the warning signs of abusive or unstable behavior appear so gradually that you don't realize you're in trouble until they've penetrated every aspect of your life, and you're too scared to act. That's the abuser's M.O.  So don't be too hard on Cheryl Treadway. It could have been you resorting to a pizza app to save your kids. And for the record, she did save them. She's a hero.

Okay, today's guest is a hip-hop artist or rapper... I'm not sure which, whose single "Twerk That Work That" is available on iTunes. Yep, that's the real title. Please welcome to the Phile... Young Stella.

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

Stella: Thanks for having me. I am doing great.

Me: First of, should I call you Young, Young Stella, or just Stella?

Stella: I usually end up being called Stella from everybody I encounter so you can go with Stella.

Me: You are young, right? How old are you, man? And is Stella your last name or first name?

Stella: I am young but I am not getting any younger. I'm 28 and Stella is just my stage name.

Me: Where are you from, Young? You don't hear the name Stella to often in America. It's more of a British name.

Stella: I'm from Charlotte, N.C. British name though? I had no idea that was a British name. I didn't name myself after the female name "Stella" I named myself from the word "Stellar". Which means star or like a star. It also means a great performer or entertainer and I love to put on a good show when I perform.

Me: Ahhh. Is rap big in North Carolina, Stella? Or in Charlotte? For some reason I would think country was. Do you know a lot of hip-hop and rappers who live there?

Stella: It is very big all throughout N.C., not just Charlotte. It's so big that it makes you wonder what's holding N.C. back from taking off in the industry. I know the reason but that's a different story. I wouldn't say country is real big in N.C. It's the country here but country music isn't too big here. I know tons of artist who live in Charlotte and surrounding areas because I have a recording studio that they come to.

Me: You worked with a rapper named J-Face, right? Is he from N.C. as well? 

Stella: Yes, I worked with J-Face multiple times. Yes, he is from N.C. too.

Me: By the way, if I had a rap name it would be Plain White Rapper. What do you think of it? 

Stella: Nowadays you have to be unique to make a impact in this industry. If people see your name is Plain White Rapper then they will most likely think you have plain rhymes and tend to pay you no attention. BUT, at the same time you could get attention from depending on how you approach an audience because a lot of people pay attention to things out of the normal. 

Me: Now, I know there's an east/west rapper rivalry. And I couldn't tell you which rapper was from where. I think Snoop Dogg is from the west. Where does North Carolina fit into this? The East I am guessing.

Stella: No, that rivalry was a long time ago that been over and N.C. was not involved in it. New York was involved in it.

Me: Speaking of rappers, who did you grow up listening to?

Stella: I grew up listening to Missy Elliot, Pastor Troy, DMX, Eminem, and Faboulous. There is many more I grew up listening to though. I always loved all different kinds of artists.

Me: I interviewed rappers and hip-hop artists in the past, and spoke to a few over the years, and I am always corrected on the differences between hip-hop and rapping. To me, it's the same. Do you consider them the same, Stella? How would you describe your music?

Stella: Hip-Hop is about real life situations, inspirational music, music that will get you through your day. Rap is just people that rap about anything and everything. it doesn't have to be inspirational. Rapping about money, cars, girls. So I do not think they are the same. As far as my music goes I have my hip-hop type tracks and my rap type tracks. I mix it up, I cant stand being one dimensional.

Me: I have to ask you about your fans. Do you have both black and white fans?

Stella: Yes, I sure do, I have a huge mixture of races because I have a very universal style.

Me: Let's talk about your music, man. When you go into the studio, do you know what you are going to rap about before hand, or does it come free flowing when you are recording?

Stella: I usually write my music before hand but on occasions I come up with music off the top of my head depending on how I am feeling.

Me: Are you currently working on an album now?

Stella: No, not at the moment. I'm just working on mixtapes at the moment and trying to get a lot of exposure.

Me: I have to ask you about the song "Swag-O-Matic". What does that mean? How can you tell if someone has swag?

Stella: "Swag-O-Matic" means somebody who has a automatic swag. Like you don't try to look good, you don't try to make people compliment you. You get fresh and look good on a daily basis. Automatic swag. You can tell if somebody has swag if their fashion is looking good and by the way they carry themselves.

Me: Your music sounds very commercial, Stella, I don't hear any swearing. Is that something you don't do on purpose?

Stella: Good question, I be thinking nobody notices that I don't swear in my music. Yes, that's my choice on purpose. I believe that I can make good music without cursing and it's going very well for me so far. Something else that sets me aside from every other artist.

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile, Stella. Go ahead and plug your website and anything else you wanna. Take care, be safe, and continued success.

Stella: Thanks for having me. You can check me out at you can get to my other social websites from my official website which is

Okay, I have to say some interviews are easy and the questions just come out, others... well, are a little bit harder if you know what I mean. With that said thanks to Young Stella for the interview. The Phile will be back next Sunday with Tony Smith from Gone Dead Train. 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