Thursday, November 30, 2017

Pheaturing Colin Hay

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Thursday. How are you? I have cookies for everybody! Haha.  A few days after the announcement of Meghan Markle's engagement to Prince Harry, "The Daily Mail" ran an article charting Markle's family history. Check it out...

Well, we knew coverage of Markle wasn't all going to be perfect, but this sort of article is particularly troubling as it is not completely overt. The article headlines are examples of systemic racism. Whereas Markle's white father's family is described by their jobs, the mother's family is just "dirt poor." The article headline defines Markle's black heritage on the basis of slavery and so very incorrectly states that the Civil War resulted in unadultered freedom for former slaves. The general reaction with people has reflected how this type of response was expected but is nonetheless painful. This sort of coverage is not new for the "Mail." Again, completely expected.
On November 2nd, Americans enjoyed a few fleeting moments of relief after President Trump's Twitter account was temporarily disabled for 11 glorious minutes. And now we know who we can thank for that. Meet Bahtiyar Duysak... the hero America needs, but not the hero America deserves. Duysak is a German citizen with Turkish roots who was doing customer support for Twitter’s Trust and Safety division while in the U.S. on a work and study visa. It was Duysak's job to sort through the thousands of reports of abusive behavior on Twitter and determine which are legitimate and which are not. On his very last day of work at Twitter, Duysak says that a report on one of Donald Trump's tweets popped up on his computer. Donald Trump's account is reportedly exempt from any content flagging due to it's apparent "newsworthiness," so Duysak decided to jokingly set the president's account to "deactivate," thinking the report would never actually go through. Well, we all know how that turned out. It didn't take long for Duysak to see the ramifications of his prank. Although some were upset with the stunt, many were calling Duysak, whose identity at that time was unknown, a hero. But all the attention... good and bad... made him uncomfortable. "I want to continue an ordinary life. I don’t want to flee from the media,' he told TechCrunch in an exclusive interview. "I didn’t do any crime or anything evil, but I feel like Pablo Escobar, and slowly it’s getting really annoying." He added, "But I love Twitter, and I love America." Yeah, dude, we know! Duysak says he is no longer interested in a career in tech, and is considering a job in finance. Well, he definitely went out on a high note!
A day after his public termination from "The Today Show" due his history of sexual assault and harassment, Matt Lauer has spoken out. Lauer released an apology, which Savannah Guthrie read on "Today."   Read the full statement, "There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC. Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly. Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I'm committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full time job. The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It's been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by the people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace." Rather than shy away from the scandal or stand behind Lauer, NBC is (finally) confronting the story head-on. After the statement was read on "Today," NBC's Stephanie Gosk reported on Lauer's history of sexual harassment and past victims who are now coming forward. Gosk went so far as to read Variety's negative comments about NBC and how former complaints about Lauer "fell on deaf ears." That a number of women from Lauer's own show are presenting on Lauer's story makes this coverage powerful: it is a major change from how sexual predators' legacies have been protected in the past. The public have been quick to point out how Lauer's statement is problematic. If he follows in the footsteps of his predecessors, Lauer will hide away at a swanky sex rehab center in an attempt to rehabilitate his image.
Today in News That Will Totally Not Surprise You, it turns out that in 2000, Donald Trump told a reporter profiling him for the now-defunct "Maximum Golf" magazine that “there is nothing in the world like first-rate pussy.” Well, if that's not presidential, I don't know what is. The journalist, Michael Corcoran, was spending the weekend with Trump at his Florida club, Mar-A-Lago, when the comment was made about a "young socialite" one evening at dinner, according to The Daily Beast. Corcoran apparently ended his profile with the quote ("the kicker"), but the comment never made it to print, because a top editor at the magazine wouldn't allow it. Instead, the word "pussy" was changed to "talent." I'm no magazine editor, but I'm pretty sure those two words are not synonyms. Corcoran's editor, Joe Bargmann, told The Daily Beast, “I was asked to change the last word of the story from ‘pussy.’ When I refused, my top editor changed the quote." (At the time, "Maximum Golf"'s top editor was Michael Caruso, who hasn't returned The Daily Beast's request for a comment.)
When I imagine Christmas being ruined, I envision the Grinch slithering down the chimneys of Whoville and grabbing every Christmas gift and wreath in sight. While that imagine certainly conjures more festive concern, the real threats on Christmas this year is primarily a shoddy traveling algorithm. More specifically, a computer glitch for American Airlines could possibly ruin the holiday for thousands of people. Basically, the glitch automatically gave all of the American Airlines’ pilots to take their vacations during the week of Christmas. According to Reuters, this means as many as 15,000 December flights currently lack pilot assignments. In an attempt to solve the problem, American Airlines is offering pilots one-and-a-half times their normal rates to help fill in. However, a grievance filed by the union against management claims this offer violates restrictions on overtime pay. Understandably, travelers across the country are concerned about the possible tamper on their Christmas plans. While the fate of Christmas is still partially hanging in the balance, a spokesperson for American Airlines released an updated statement yesterday afternoon. According to the statement, they are planning to avoid all cancelations and thusly, save Christmas. "We are working diligently to address the issue and expect to avoid cancellations this holiday season. We have reserve pilots to help cover flying in December, and we are paying pilots who pick up certain open trips 150 percent of their hourly rate... as much as we are allowed to pay them per the contract. We will work with the APA to take care of our pilots and ensure we get our customers to where they need to go over the holidays.” This is a huge relief. It looks like once more... Christmas will be save from the clutches of hell.
Meanwhile, in Russia...

Haha. You know, sometimes there's directions in life you just might need that will help you. Luckily, there are signs for that...

Whew! I have never been arrested but if I do I hope I'm not wearing this t-shirt...

Haha. Actually, I almost purchased that t-shirt a few times in my life. I do like to do what I am told but some people take it just a little bit too far...

Haha. Well, the sign does say "men's hats" in that guys defense. If I had a TARDIS I would want to go back in time and try to save John Lennon from being shot and killed. I'd take a bullet for him, but knowing my luck I'll get there and see this...

So, one of the best parts of the Internet is you can see porn really easily... and for free. So, as you can imagine trying to be entertaining and not having people stop reading your blog and go look at porn is hard. So, I thought why not show a pic from a porn clip here so you don't have to leave. But then I thought what about if you are at work or school... I wouldn't wanna get you in trouble. So, I came up with a solution...

You are welcome. Hey, where in the world is Matt Laurer?

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

Top Phive Surprising Phacts About Prince Harry And Meghan Markle
5. They met on the Royals-only version of Tinder.
4. Queen Elizabeth already had a soft spot for Meghan, since she's a "Suits" fanatic.
3. Meghan's adorable pet name for Harry is "Harry."
2. Their gift registry includes a new moat, his-and-her scepters, and plenty of Tupperware.
And the number one surprising fact about Prince Harry and Meghan is...
1. They ain't gonna make it.

If you spot the Mindphuck and I am sure you will let me know. Hey, it's Thursday. You know what that means...

In 2004, Turkish man Mehmet Yilmaz squirted milk from his eye into a coffee cup at a distance of 2 meters and 70 centimetres, setting a bizarre new Guinness World Record. Mr Yilmaz, 28, has mastered the discipline of eye-squirting... sucking milk through the nose into the eye before squirting it out across a table. Ugh! and here's me drinking a French vanilla organic protein shake.

Okay, it's time to talk football with my good friend Jeff...

Me: Hey, Jeff, welcome back to the Phile... so, today's pheatured guest os Colin Hay. Were you a big fan of Men At Work growing up? I think you were.

Jeff: Always glad to be back here on the Phile for some Phootball Talk. Of course I was a fan of Colin Hay and Men at Work. He also cover a Men At Work song on "Scrubs" once and actually appeared to sing the song, then they did the classic Animal House scene where someone grabbed the guitar out of his hands and smashed it while he was playing.

Me: Ha! I remember that. So, did you see Michael Crabtree and Aqib Talib got into a full-fledged brawl that led to both players being ejected? Broncos CB Chris Harris Jr. claims Crabtree sucker-punched him prior to the brawl? This is kinda unusual. right?

Jeff: There's been a few fights in the last few weeks. Both players have been suspended because of that fight. Talib ripped a chain off Crabtree, which is the second time he's done it to the wide receiver!

Me: So, did Cameron Wake try to tear Tom Brady’s ACL with a leg kick? Did you hear this story? Unfortunately Brady didn't get hurt... hahaha.

Jeff: I've said it before, I'll say it again. Regardless of my personal feelings towards a player, I don't want to see anyone get seriously injured. Not even Tom Brady. Yes, I saw the story of Wake. I think it's pathetic. How would Dolphin fans react if someone tried to injury Wake?

Me: This was awesome... during the Broncos-Raiders game in Oakland, the Raiders took a second to honor Mickey Ganitch, a 98-year old Pearl Harbor survivor and diehard fan of the Oakland Raiders. During the tribute, Mickey looked like he could still shed a block or two and was ready to suit up for his Oakland Raiders. Would you ever like to suit up and play one game with the Steelers, Jeff? No way would I ever like to suit up... unless it was the Giants' mascot. Hahaha.

Jeff: Would I ever suit up? Nope. Not at this point in my life. It would end badly.

Me: So, what do you think about Eli not being the starter QB? I’m sad. I have a feeling he’s going to the Broncos next season.

Jeff: I understand why they are doing it, it's been a dismal season, but I also feel bad for Eli considering he had the longest active starting streak. It's one thing to bench him for injury. The Giants have a lot of problems this season, not just Eli.

Me: True. Okay, so, what NFL news do you have?

Jeff: Speaking of injuries, the QB of the 49ers got injured late in the game. They brought in Jimmy Garappolo who they had traded for earlier in the season. 49er fans were cheering their own player got hurt, which didn't sit well with some players on the team. And I can't say I blame them!

Me: It would of been nice if the Giants won on my birthday but there's no point of winning now... they'll be better losing and getting a better draft pick, right?

Jeff: I'd say I'm surprised the Giants lost, but come on now. And yes, at this point they are probably tanking the season to get higher draft picks.

Me: So, Disney has taken over another team...

Me: I love that logo! What do you think?

Jeff: I hope that mascot doesn't choke late in games in Super Bowls or anything. Sorry. Couldn't resist.

Me: Ha! Okay, so, how did we do last week?

Jeff: You gained a little on me last week! You went 2-0 and I went 1-1. The Steelers won, Giants lost. I still have a lead, that's mostly based off the Steelers winning more. I only have 3 more predictions right then you do.

Me: Damn Giants. Let's do this week's picks... I say Seahawks by 4 and Falcons by 6. What do you pick?

Jeff: I'm going Rams by 6 and Chargers by 2.

Me: Okay, I'll see you back here next Thursday.

Jeff: See you next week.

Okay, so, a "friend" of the Phile says it's okay if Trump retweets fake videos. What? She wanted to come onto the Phile to talk about it so please welcome once again to the Phile...

Sarah: Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling Clementine... hi, Jason.

Me: Hi, Sarah. So, yesterday Trump's tweets went to the next level, where the first level was already outrageous.

Sarah: Yes, I know it's hard to believe that the president could top some of his previous classics in shock value.

Me: Yup. But his Wednesday morning series of retweets, sharing unverified, inflammatory, nakedly anti-Muslim videos caused a collective jaw to drop. Via the "New York Times," "The videos were titled: 'Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!,' 'Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!' and 'Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!' As the "New York Times" pointed out, "it was unclear on Wednesday morning whether the perpetrators in the videos were [actually] Muslim."

Sarah: Jason, put it this way, "There is, however, nothing on this original site to indicate that the perpetrator was either Muslim or a migrant." For their part, the Netherlands Embassy denied the man in one of the videos was a "Muslim migrant."

Me: Sarah, where there's outrageous tweets, there's a spokesperson to defend them. You defended them, right? What did you say?

Sarah: I said, "Whether it is a real video, the threat is real," I told a group of reporters, Notably, this time, I did not use term "fake news." I said, "Whether it is a real video, the threat is real. That is what the president is talking about, that is what the president is focused on is dealing with those real threats, and those are real no matter how you look at it." You can make up whatever you want as long as you're promoting something important.

Me: Sounds like a plan.

Sarah: Yep. See how this works?

Me: Sarah, others weren't having so much fun.

Sarah: Regardless of if the president's videos are actually legitimate. The threat needs to be addressed. The threat has to be talked about and that is what the president is doing in bringing that up.

Me: Sarah, are you surprised that the "fake news doesn't matter" defense didn't sit well with anyone? 

Sarah: Jason, the videos President Trump retweeted are from a "tiny fringe group of anti-Muslim activists in Britain" and were met with an especially loud denouncement from the U.K.

Me: Now here's a tweet from Paul Joseph Watson, an editor at Infowars (yes, the far-right conspiracy theory website)...

Me: Where even Infowars sees a problem, you see a president "focused on... dealing with those real threats." Good sign.

Sarah: Thank you. Are we done?

Me: For now. Sarah Huckleberry Sanders, everybody.

Thanksgiving might have been last week, but President Donald Trump captured the spirit of insulting Native Americans today. Trump honored Native American World War II veterans in front of a painting of the man who signed the Indian Removal Act and by dropping an ethnic slur on Elizabeth Warren, because he thinks being Native is an insult. The only way this could have been more offensive was if he presented them with Washington Redskins jerseys while singing "Ugh-A-Wug" from Peter Pan. Senator Elizabeth Warren responded, highlighting just how sad it is that what's supposed to be an event honoring heroes turned into the president doing dumb, racist, open mic-caliber standup jokes. Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted that "Pocahontas" isn't a racial slur, but also failed to explain why Trump would try to smear a political rival at an event honoring Navajo Code Talkers. It's not an appropriate time for partisan namecalling, like the BOY SCOUT JAMBOREE.  "Pocahontas" quickly started trending on Twitter, and not because it's the name of a Disney movie with pretty good songs. Another shining moment for the Trump Presidential Library.

The 71st book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Lol will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks. I'm excited.

A little boy goes up to his father and asks, "Dad, what's the difference between hypothetical and reality?" The father replies, "Well son, I could give you the book definitions, but I feel it could be best to show you by example. Go upstairs and ask your mother if she'd have sex with the mailman for $500,000." The boy goes and asks his mother, "Mom, would you have sex with the mailman for $500,000?" The mother replies, "Hell yes I would!" The little boy returns to his father. "Dad, she said 'Hell yes I would!'" The father then says, "Okay, now go and ask your older sister if she'd have sex with her principal for $500,000." The boy asks his sister, "Would you have sex with your principal for $500,000?" The sister replies, "Hell yes I would!" He returns to his father. "Dad, she said 'Hell yes I would!'" The father answers, "Okay son, here's the deal... Hypothetically, we're millionaires, but in reality, we're just living with a couple of whores."

Today's pheatured guest is is a musician who came to prominence as the lead vocalist of the band Men at Work, and later also as a solo artist. His latest album "Fierce Mercy" is available on iTunes and from Amazon. Please welcome to the Phile... Colin Hay.

Me: Hey there, Colin, welcome to the Phile, sir. It's so great to have you here. How are you?

Colin: My pleasure. I'm good.

Me: Okay, so, I first became a big fan of Men at Work when "Business As Usual" came out, and then I got "Cargo" on cassette for a New Years Day present in 1983. Anyway, all this time I thought you were Australian but you are not from there, right? Where are you from originally, Colin? 

Colin: Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, on the southwest of Scotland originally. I moved to Australia when I was fourteen.

Me: Cool. I never knew that. Anyway, I love your new album "Fierce Mercy," sir. I love the title, it's a great oxymoron. Where did it come from, Colin?

Colin: Thanks. It's not really my title. My songwriting partner, Michael Georgiades, came around with a music idea and he played me a song and said "fierce mercy," that's all I've got. When we finished all the songs Gary West from Compost Records said to me, "So, do you still want to call the record 'Fierce Mercy'?" I had no recollection of ever saying that's what I wanted to call the record. But I said to him yes, and he said fair enough. That's how that happened, but Michael had a bit of a health scare which didn't take him out, just tapped him on the shoulder saying, "excuse me, you better address this." So, there was some velocity to it, but it was also so merciful.

Me: I love the single "A Thousand Million Reasons." That's a lot of bloody reasons. And why sing about Paris? Was that your idea?

Colin: It was Michael's impetus. He called me up on a Sunday and he said, "I have this idea... come over." So, I went over to his house and he had this old optogorn, a keyboard from the 80s, made by Mattel which uses tapes, so it's kind of like a toy for adults. It's got this fanciful, fairground quality to it. You put in rhythms and it does these random things which sounds like nothing else. So, he played the music on that and it was like a jaunty little piece. He said, "Come up with something, come up with something." I was sitting at his house and I just picked up a magazine and there was an article about Paris. I told him to keep playing that thing so he kept playing it faster and faster and I just wrote down the words quickly in about a half an hour or 45 minutes. I have them to him and he said, "Wow! These lyrics are really good. Did you write these?" He was joking, but it was like a nice backhanded compliment. It was a bickering process really. I've known him for many years and he kept on coming over with song ideas which I really liked, so we just worked on it. He's retired, you see, so he has a lot of time on his hands. Some of them he would play on the telephone and I would say that's a good one, skip that one, let's do that one. "Come Tumbling Down" was my idea, and "Secret Love" was mine. "A Thousand Million Reasons" was his and "Fierce Mercy," so it as a mixture who brought what to the table.

Me: Do you prefer to write on your own or with somebody else? Did you plan to co-write on this album?

Colin: Well, I wrote a couple of songs myself and finished them, but I had about fifty or sixty things on my phone which were just rough ideas. I like to play them for someone quickly and just run through them. I run through them myself and think that's quite good, but I'm never sure if they are good enough. But when I run through them with Michael he'll say what's that, that's good. Most of the time it coincided with that I thought was good, so I got confirmation in a sort of way. But that's an unusual thing, I've only co-written a little bit. I hadn't done it very much. I had three people in my life where I've felt a kind of strong connection in that way where it opens my mind up. There's a guy called Gate in Melbourne who I used to play with in the mid-70s. He was a 12 string player who used to play things and I was like, wow, what was that? Then there was Ron, the other guitar player in Men at Work who was like that, and Michael. He just turned 71, so he's been around since the 60s. He opened up for the Doors in 1968, so he's got all this history, he grew up in the 50s. He's an addict as well, of alcohol, so we connected on that. We don't drink anymore, so we obsess about guitars. Two weeks after we met he called me after midnight one night and asked me what I was doing. I said nothing, and he said, "Wanna go down to Fullerton and look at a couple of amps? Sam Hutton has a couple of amps." Sam Hutton used to work for Fender and he a couple of reverb amps in his garage. He just got them and throughout they were clean, that they were good. So, we get into this old F-150, and headed down the 101, and we became friends and started writing songs. But it is a bickering process trying to make them good. Neither one of us had particularly worked with other people for years, so it was sort of a little bit experimental but it worked really well. One of the things he would do is come around with a musical idea which was pretty often, and was good for me as I could just go through lyric ideas and come up with a whole set of lyrics and he was amazed by that. It was a cool process.

Me: I like the song "I'm Going to Get You Stoned." Who are you talking to in that song, Colin, and why? Haha.

Colin: It wasn't a particular person, there's quite a few people in the last few years especially since the "Scrubs" thing I would get these young hippies come up to the shows and they would ask me about things like "what was it like back then?" I hadn't really had that experience in reality where I want to get anybody stoned, but it was just the idea of MY fantasy of how fantastic that was when I first was stoned and somebody did that for me. It just went poof, opening up all these doors doing that with Greg Ham, saxophone player for Men at Work. Just all those creative doors that it opened, but then looking at it now, looking at the reality... Hunter S. Thompson would say you could see where the tide line is, where hope proceeded at the end of the 60s, it's just oh, fuck, the world is not going to change. It's all the same shit, Nixon got into power, and they took away Muhammeed Ali's crown, and you realized everything's the same. But for a minute you thought oh, maybe the world can change for the better.

Me: There's a few story type songs on this album, like "Frozen Fields of Snow" and "Blue Bay Moon." Where did those come from? Do you like writing those kind of songs?

Colin: With "Frozen Fields of Snow" I had this little musical idea and didn't have anything to go with it, then an elderly gentleman appeared in my brain, and I was standing in his kitchen looking out at the frozen fields of snow. Having gone through his whole life, he keeps on coming back to his house, because that's where his family was. Now he's family is all gone he's the only one left. I don't really know but in my head he;s trying to figure out what what to do with the house... either to sell it or keep it. He'll probably sell it. The only thing that was the constant was the fields of snow. So, it's just going through things in his head, what happened during his life. I liked that song, I played it for Michael as well, and he got annoyed by it. Haha. "Blue Bay Moon" was him... he came over and had this idea and I tried to compliment it and he said, "No, it's much more simpler than that." What I think he meant to say was "Blue Moon Bay" or he told me that later, but he said "Blue Bay Moon," and I said I liked that title. He said, "That's it... I've got nothing else." I said what about it's about a guy that's wondering about his wee town and he sees this lights over the bay and no one else saw them. He then runs around and trying to convince the people in his town he had this transcendence experience of seeing a spacecraft fro somewhere else. Apart from that his life is pretty dreary. He's just walking about the town, he tries to leave it, but he comes back, and maybe a bit depressed, but this is one thing he has, that no one can take away from him. He saw that.

Me: So, do you have any rituals day to day to keep you working, Colin? You have released a lot of music and are always working.

Colin: I involve myself with a bit of self trickery where I tell myself it's all over. I've got nothing. And I wonder around thinking what else am I going to do. I could do this, or I could do that... all the things I can possibly do with my life. Then after awhile a part of my conscious starts to rebel until I think I have an idea, and I have this sort of inner dialogue. I'm sort of half joking and half serious as well where I just should of leave it for alone for awhile, especially after I finish a record. I just sort of leave to alone and don't think of writing songs at all. But what I do is I try to practice playing the guitar. I think I'm just going to try and be a guitar player now, and be a side man which I will not be very good at. I imagine myself getting a job, being hired by somebody, so I try and learn the intro "Johnny B. Good" or something. I don't think I could manage playing that every night the same way. After awhile I maybe will learn a different chord that takes me somewhere else then all of a sudden I'm going down this road that I think that's an interesting idea. Then I think it'll turn into something or not. To me it's like trickery, I just try to avoid it, and then out kind of comes to me.

Me: You've been playing the guitar since you were a kid, am I right? What was the first song you learnt how to play, Colin?

Colin: Yeah, since I was 12, so I should be good. I learnt how to play "House of the Rising Sun" which has most of the chords you'd need. That song will fuck you up, that one.

Me: How old were you when you started to write your own songs?

Colin: I started writing songs when I was 14. I don't remember them, but they were probably rubbish.

Me: Your parents had a music shop, right? Did they sell musical instruments or records?

Colin: All that. Pianos, guitars and drums. My father was one of those people who was a great singer and a great dancer. I pretty much know he was a writer, who can write anything. He wrote a couple of things. He had that talent, but didn't follow it, he didn't pay attention to it. I remember going around to see him one day a few years before he died and he said, "Hey, I saw this guy on the television the other day, Snoop Dogg! He's got pigtails. He's very good. I just wore this wee poem when I was listening to him." He just wrote this song that was really good called "Use By Date" about how he's passed his use by date, but maybe not. It was a cool song, and I thought that's good. You get it from somewhere, but he didn't really believe he had that talent. He actually knew he had the talent but just didn't do it. He said he don't want to be on the stage anymore. I think something sort of freaked him out about it, that's what I expected. An interesting thing, that's interesting to me anyway, but since he died which was in 2009, there was a sort of subtle thing that happened where I would be performing and selfishly wanting to feel close to them all the time... close to my father and mother because they were both gone and I was very close to them, I wanted to somehow physicalize them. So, I would talk about them in the show and I would just try to realize them in some way. I felt very much inhabited by them since he died. I felt like in a weird way I was performing the shows that he never performed. I'm not religious at all, I know they're gone, but it's almost like they are inhabiting me, they are apart of my DNA.

Me: I know what you mean, I feel the same thing about both of my parents who I lost. Who is the song "She Was the Love Of Mine" about? I kinda wish I wrote that song about somebody I know. 

Colin: My mother. At the last year of my mother's life I got to spend a lot of time with her back in Melbourne, at this wee flat that overlooks the bay. We were watching the ships go out every night and she was ill, taking a lot of drugs and stuff for the pain. On my computer I had this photograph of this wedding from 1944, and it had all these people in the wedding. In the morning, we would get up, have a cup of coffee, open the computer and I would go "okay, whose that person there?" She would go, "That's Ethel. She was a naughty girl. She had an affair." She would tell me about all these people and that's how we spent months, talking about all these people in the photograph. I valued that so much, it was a great way to just spent the time, talking about these people that I never knew.

Me: Okay, so, let's talk about Men at Work as my readers and your fans would get mad if we didn't. How did the song "Down Under" come to be? I don't think I knew when that song came out it was actually about Australia... I don't think I knew Australia was called Down Under then. Actually, I'm sure I did...

Colin: Ron used to have wee cassette tapes that were brilliant, and he would have about fifteen to twenty ideas on a tape. We would have bottles with different levels of liquid in each one and that's how the sound on the beginning of the record came to be. It was like a trance groove, or chill-out music, before it was called chill-out music. I had the phrase "living in the land down under" separate from that, but I had that running around in my head. I was driving down the street line day and I started singing that over his tape. I thought that was something, that's where that came from. It was that door that opened up and the door was in that room, so to speak.

Me: What is the song about, Colin, not just about Australia?

Colin: It's about the typical Australian traveling overseas. If you go to Australia, especially as an immigrant, it's awesome in the true sense of the word. I was hippie and worried about the selling of the county to the Japanese, or the Chinese, or the Brtish, or the Americans, as it was so pristine comparatively, it was a huge place selling stuff that could me made into uranium and made into bombs. There was desegregation of the coastal lands and they were knocking down the forests. There was also the incredible oppression of the indigenous people that's been going on since we got there and seemed to be not getting any better. That's not really directly dealt with in the song but in essence it was the spirit of the place, how the uniqueness was being lost, but it's ultimately still a song about celebration. It's like the fact that we have to try and look after it. I don't know if it says that lyrically, as you can only say so much, but the ides was a lot of men who didn't really even understand the beauty of what they were. They were walking around completely unconscious of the land they were in. There's a lot opt people who are "Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!" and flag waving. There's something a lot more precious about the place and we are in danger of losing that. I think that's still the case, but Aboriginal people have a different take on that song. They sort of get it in a different way. If you go on-line there's some different Abroginal versions of "Down Under." These kids have taken it like it's almost a different song but it's "Down Under." It's illegal and fantastic at the same time. They took this song, as it's really their song.

Me: Okay, I have to ask "Who Can It Be Now?" That song is heavy on sax, so I was wondering if it was written that way.

Colin: It was written in guitar. It sounded spooky and interesting and haunting so Greg played that. Interestingly when we played that live it didn't come in til half way through the song. When we did to live the sax was in the middle of the song only. When we recorded it the producer said to bring that saxophone to the front of that song, it was no good languishing half way through. When we were playing it live no one cared as everyone was getting fucked up so it doesn't really matter.

Me: What about "Be Good Johnny"? Where did that song come from?

Colin: Greg and I were sitting in the studio and no one else showed up. He was playing that run down keyboard and I just started singing "be good, be good." We were taking about writing it from the sand point of a 19-year-old boy. So, we just sat there and he was playing that and I just had the chance of repeating that line over and over again. We had that, then we worked back from that and just put the versions in accordingly. I think it's just the idea of being misunderstood, I think everybody could relate to, you know.

Me: So, after Men at Work broke up, what did you do? How was it for you starting a solo career? 

Colin: I was two years sober so I started to think about addiction being a gambler and just play one more hand here, or just looking back it's cliche really but it's just who I was. I was going a bit mad too, I was thinking to myself, hey, I used to be somebody. Now it was the world turns away and I observed that and didn't get caught up in it. I thought that's interesting, people don't give a fuck anymore. What do I do about that? So I thought I might as well take the first step which was leaving the house and doing gigs for nobody. And I dealt with it that way. That in a sense creates an action and very people would come for many, many years, so I played for twenty to twenty-five people. People would order a CD so I'd put it in a wee bag and take it down the post office and send it off. Five or six years I was doing that, and I didn't particularly like doing it but that's something I had to do. I would look around and see no one else was in the room so I thought I'd better do it. I had tunes coming all the time which was good, then I would play places and people would realize there's hardly anybody in the room and they'd go please don't stop doing this, and so the wee things were meaningful and people were getting stuff out of it. I felt useful, and I know it sounds not like much, but really that got me by when I thought I was useful in someway, when I just came along doing a service here.

Me: What is your favorite song you recorded with Men at Work, Colin?

Colin: "Overkill." I brought it to the band but they just didn't see it, we were rehearsing and I played it and was so excited about it, I thought it was such a good song but I got no reaction. They then went to lunch and so I just recorded it myself in a wee demo studio. I played the drums, and I played the bass and guitar and sang it. When you have a band it's great because everyone has their thing but sometimes it's good, and sometimes it's not so good. I thought to myself, oh, if I don't have a band I'll be okay because I am complete and I don't need anybody else. I thought maybe I could be a songwriter if I don't continue with a band.

Me: Okay, I have to ask you about the song "I Come Tumbling Down" from the new album. Where did that song come from? It's my favorite song from the new album I think.

Colin: I had the idea on my iPhone of "I Come Tumbling Down." It's just climate change, large populations of people looking for somewhere to live, and I just had this image of people dancing in all different cultures. They have a way of dancing, a way of release which connects everybody which seems to be lost. There is some hope, it's not like okay, let's do nothing. I suppose in the narrative of it it's saying while everything is collapsing just dance... dance your way out of it. It's advocating escapism in someway. I don't really want to do that, but it just kind of suits the song. Things just get a bit bleak... we worked together, Michael and I, it's just the image of a Greyhound bus, which is to me just an American thing and there's the second verse of drinking and going that up. When I used to wake up with horrendous hangovers it was deathly, but to me being in the south often you could hear the screams of slavery. I'm just dropping in all these cultures, and the idea if just the child being in some war torn zone who had seen everything but yet has some kind of hope. That's really where the song came from.

Me: Thank you, Colin, for being on the Phile. My good friend Rich is a huge fan so I am sure he wants me to tell you hi. Please come back to the Phile again soon, and I hope to see you in concert down here in Florida soon.

Colin: Hi, Jason's friend Rich. It was my pleasure, Jason. Thank you very much, it was nice to chat to you.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile, Thanks to Jeff Trelewicz and of course Colin Hay. The Phile will be back on Sunday with Keith Moffat from The Retroaction. 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, November 27, 2017

Pheaturing Kevin Godley

Hey there, welcome to the Phile for a Monday... not just any Monday, but Cyber Monday. I hope shopping on Cyber Monday doesn't take too much time away from your regular schedule of wasting the day on the Internet.
It's like an early holiday present! Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have announced their engagement and Kensington Palace is doing a great job of supplying us with lots of content. The newly engaged couple appeared for a photo call at the Palace Gardens today to show off Markle's ring and talk about how much they love each other. When asked by press about the moment he knew Markle was the one, Harry said, "The very first time we met." Markle, according to "People," described the proposal as "very" romantic." Markle's giant sparkler of a ring is highly sentimental. The side diamonds come from Princess Diana's jewelry collection. The center diamond is from Botswana, where the couple vacationed in August. Harry designed the ring himself. Here's a grainy close-up of the ring from a photo by royal photographer Mark Stewart.

A modern classic, just like this love story. Awe.
On Saturday, the "New York Times" published a profile of a nazi in Ohio titled "In America’s Heartland, the Voice of Hate Next Door." The profile is written in the same journalistic style a writer would use to profile a famous musician, an activist, or a slightly misunderstood public figure, not someone who condones white supremacy and mass violence. I won't hyperlink to the article here (you can easily Google or click on several embedded tweets), because I don't think the full original article needs to be spread any further. The article itself describes the daily life of Ohio resident nazi Tony Hovater, his love of pasta, his recent marriage, and his love of genocidal propaganda. The language in it is so terrifyingly mundane and soft, it begs readers to understand and even empathize with a nazi. Since the time of publication, the online headline has been changed to "A Voice of Hate in America's Heartland," due to massively warranted backlash. And there have been several brilliant response pieces written. James Hamblin wrote a scathing (and pristine) satire of the profile for "The Atlantic." The writer Indrani Sen wrote a smart analysis of the "NYT" piece for Quartz. Plus, many people on Twitter have chimed in with rightful anger, and also, examples of how journalists can cover white supremacists without normalizing nazi ideology. The Jimmy Kimmel writer Bess Kalb shared her family's story in response to the profile. Other people let the pull quotes speak for themselves. Because no matter how you mince it, and regardless of original intention, this profile is written in a way that completely normalizes and ingratiates Hovater to the rest of America. Given the fact that a growing faction of Americans are already turning towards nazism or "alt-right" ideas, the risks of this profile far outweigh any potential journalistic exploration. Many writers online shared examples of how the "New York Times" could've tackled the subject of American nazis without painting a flowery portrait of one. One of the points made was the fact that largely white writing teams, white editorial boards, and white interview subjects are highlighted in our current political landscape. So, whether an article is aiming to showcase the growth of racist factions, or highlight the growth of activism, the sought out lens skews towards whiteness. Which, regardless of intentions, feeds a dangerous acceptance of the white perspective as universal. As the Twitter user and graduate student J.H. Swanson pointed out, this isn't the first time the "New York Times" has profiled a nazi going about their daily life. In 1939, the publication profile Hitler as a relatable and sober vegetarian. Still, there were some people who didn't think the profile was dangerous. Regardless of the high journalistic aim to present facts and ideas across the spectrum, there are some subjects and ideologies that should not be presented as "misunderstood" or "alternative." Nazism is one of them.
Donald Trump's first wife Ivana has a new memoir out called "Raising Trump," which, despite the versatile name, is about raising three kids with the current president... not raising Trump himself. As part of her promotion tour, Ivana appeared as a guest on "The Ray D'arcy Show" to chat about the book. Unsurprisingly, at one point the conversation touched on Trump's presidency and Ivana's theories about a possible second term (NOOO PLEASE GOD NO). Without a doubt, the most cutting moment in the interview was when the current First Lady Melania came up. Apparently, the two women aren't on great terms after Melania became livid when Ivana made a comment about being the First Trump Lady herself. But as she tells Ray, the comment only referenced being Trump's first wife. "I said I’m ‘First Trump Lady’... and First Lady went bananas over it. I have no idea why. I don’t know how it spark her, but I am definitely Trump First Lady. I was married to Donald, have three kids with him and I have no idea why she resents it." Ivana then suggested that Melania "leave it at that, who cares?!" And when Ray asked how Melania's doing as First Lady, Ivana simply replied, "I think she's doing her best." Ivana's comment has TEETH. At another point in the interview, she revealed she doubts Trump will run for a second term because he misses his rich and carefree lifestyle too much. Of course, to most of us paying attention to his actual "work ethic" as president know there's not much of a difference in his lifestyle. But hey, whatever it takes to get him out of office. As of yet, Melania hasn't clapped back to the interview. But I have faith that if the desire strikes, she'll do her best.
The president of Cleveland State University, Ronald Berkman, is facing some serious backlash after telling students that he would not be removing fliers on campus encouraging LGBTQ people to kill themselves. The horrifying fliers, which said at the top "Follow your fellow faggots," seemed to have been posted up by an organization called Fascist Solutions. They included statistics about suicide among trans and LGBT youth. Twitter account @spookyknafeh tweeted a picture of the vile pamphlet, along with an email from President Berkman to CSU students. The email read, in part, "CSU remains fully committed to a campus community that respects all individuals regardless of age, race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation and other historical bases for discrimination. CSU also is committed to upholding the First Amendment, even with regard to controversial issues where opinion is divided. We will continue to protect free speech to ensure all voices may be heard and to promote a civil discourse where educational growth is the desired result." These two paragraphs contradict each other. No campus where they are encouraged to kill themselves is "respectful" towards targeted individuals. And while free speech is the cornerstone of this country, these fliers have absolutely no potential for "educational growth." After the backlash, Berkman issued another statement, this one inviting students to an open meeting to discuss the fliers. He didn't apologize, nor did he back down from his original "First Amendment" argument. The student response was less than enthusiastic, but Demi Overley, a member of CSU's Queer Student Alliance, told BuzzFeed that the "president's hands were tied by the laws of Ohio." Overley added that the focus should be less on the school's response to the fliers, and more on changing state laws regarding free speech. The fliers were eventually taken down, but for the most bureaucratic of reasons: the group didn't have prior approval to post them. William Dube told BuzzFeed that the posters "did not conform with CSU policies and procedures regarding posting and were removed." So all Fascist Solutions has to do is get prior approval and everything will be on the up-and-up???? Please do better, educational institutions of America.
On Thanksgiving, Uma Thurman finally spoke directly about the Harvey Weinstein scandal with an Instagram post and tweets revealing the depths of her anger over Weinstein's disgusting actions. Weinstein produced a number of Thurman's films, including Kill Bill.

Uma Thurman As "Vanity Fair" pointed out, the photo of Thurman is a still from Kill Bill Vol. 2 when Thurman's character is plotting revenge. The photo and caption suggest Thurman has first-hand experience of Weinstein's monstrous actions. Somewhere in the over 160,000 likes Thurman's post garnered are double-taps from celebrities supporting Thurman. Celebrities also took to Twitter to show their support of Thurman's statement.
Do you guys like "The Flintsones"? I stumbled across an episode the other day and noticed something for the first time...

Crazy, right? Did you see Marshall Amps new ad? I like it...

Haha. You kids know what Tampax is, right? Well, their new product is kinda odd...

Guess it's aimed for young kids who are starting out on their periods. Ugh. Moving on... speaking of Spongebob... I was trying to Google "Spongebob" and instead Googled "Spongedog" and this is what came up...

Hahahahahaha. That pic cracks me up. Hahahaha. You know, some people are just the worse...

I would be so mad if that happened to me. I hate getting glitter on myself. Ugh. So, the best thing about the Internet is you can look at porn easily for free. But I always worry that people would stop reading the blog and go look at porn. Then I thought what if I showed a porn pic here? But then OI thought what if you were at work, or school. I wouldn't want you to get in trouble. Then I came up with a solution...

You're welcome, people. So, I have to show this real quick... last week I interviewed "Weird Al" on the Phile and I received this...

I was hoping it was his 200 plus dollar box set. Hahaha. Alright, yesterday I mentioned net neutrality... Next month, the Federal Communications Commission is voting on whether to repeal rules instated under the Obama administration that protect Internet users from surcharges. Without these rules, internet providers (ISPs) won't have to remain neutral: they can introduce additional costs to access certain websites and platforms. I decided I would help explain net neutrality even more with the help of memes...

I didn't plan to have a few Spongebob related jokes... it just happened. So, ever have deep thoughts in the shower? I do...

I could go to a public park with a dog whistle and just create fucking anarchy if I blew it discreetly enough.

Haha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so, how is your family? Do they get along? Well, the other day I met this family who seem to be the happiest, sweetest family I have ever met in my entire life and I thought I'd invite one of them onto the Phile to see what makes them so wonderful. Please welcome to the Phile for the first time...

Me: Hey, how are you? So, you're one of the daughters, right?

Jane: Yeah, I'm the oldest... Jane Joule. Hi, Jason.

Me: So, shouldn't you be at school?

Jane: I skipped school...

Me: You did? That's not very good, Jane.

Jane: I used to do it all the time because my parents worked 7am-5pm most days. I was in my room as per norm and he came home early.

Me: Did you ever get caught?

Jane: I didn't wanna get caught so stayed perfectly still. My bedrooms at the top of the stairs, the computer is RIGHT at the base of the stairs. Dad watches porn for the next hour. I think he heard a squeak cos he stopped to holler up the stairs for me. But I didn't budge. Didn't move. Didn't say anything. Just waited... five minutes pass, he's satisfied. I went back to his business. Never told him. Never skipped school again... until today.

Me: Ummm... I don't know what to say. Jane Joules from the Joules Family, kids. Man, that was lame. Hahaha.

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Good? Great! Well, reality is back to slap you in the face, and our president started off the week with this truly insane tweet...

Yep, this is real life, folks! The president just proposed a "contest" to determine the most dishonest news network. He called himself your favorite president. He said the winner would be awarded a "fake news trophy," whatever that is. This is more fucked up than the hunger games. According to that tweet and this one the president sent after it, it would seem that Donny Trump is rather paranoid about so-called "fake news," as usual. At this point, Twitter was hardly surprised by the President's odd tweets. Here's a more fitting contest: What is the president deflecting from now?

This is freaking cool... today's pheatured guest is an English musician and music video director whose book "Spacecake" is the 70th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Please welcome to the Phile, the great... Kevin Godley.

Me: Kevin, holy shit, welcome to the Phile! Thank you for being here! How are you?

Kevin: It's a pleasure, I hope I can answer your questions.

Me: I am sure you will. I have interviewed some cool people over the years, and some I wish my parents were still alive so I can tell them. You would be one of them, sir. I don't know where to start... Godley and Creme, 10cc, your book, your videos, producing... ugh! What do you prefer out of everything you have done?

Kevin: It has been pretty perverse, and I can't say... it has essentially been all the same stuff. It just comes out of different taps. It's exactly like sculpting air. If you are a sculpture or architect or designer I think your brain trains itself to think or to be intuitive in particular ways to be useful.

Me: What's the easiest art form you worked in, Kevin?

Kevin: Songwriting. For it to be tangible you've got to do something with it. For the most part to me I don't write the same way today as when I began to write because I don't play an instrument just  drums. The only instrument I do play is the hardest instrument to write music to. When I began to write music I used to sit opposite to Lol Creme and he had a guitar. He'd strum and I'd warble and things would happen but it doesn't always work like that. It is really about stimulating something. That could come from anywhere, like visual stimulation, or it can come from sitting with somebody and playing. But unceasingly for me it comes from letting it dwell and more than anything else I'm singing to myself when I'm driving. I suppose it's because my mind is becoming intuitive. I hate it when I can't stop to write to down because I'm on a motorbike but by the time I ended my journey in an hour I could still remember it. Maybe it's okay but if I can't then it's not. Maybe it's a word or phrase that becomes meaningful in the prices sod someway and I hang on to that.

Me: When and how did you start to write, Kevin?

Kevin: We were kids when we started, we were pretty young. I think most people, and I could be wrong, when they start to write they try to emulate to a degree their heres because they set the bar of what songwriting is like. I think we sat down and we weren't happy until we sounded like the Beatles, or we sounded like Paul Simon, or something like that because that was proper music. That's fine but we would never sound like the Beatles and we would never sound like Paul Simon, we weren't them. We tended to throw away the bit that didn't sound like them which was weird. But what tends to happen is gradually our own style developed. It came to a point where I was trying to go down this road, but actually went down the other road. I don't sound anything like the bloody Beatles but actually it's not bad.

Me: What was it like recording and writing 10cc's first album, Kevin?

Kevin: We done it all very quickly. I think we done it in three weeks or something, writing and recording. We just sat there and wrote, we didn't think. We didn't have the luxury and time to sit and compare it to anyone else, we just cracked on, wrote something, and recorded it and so on. That wall came down at that point and we kind of realized during that process without thinking it through to much that what we were doing didn't really sound like anybody else but maybe other albums we did did, but this first album didn't sound like anybody else, and what we found almost by accident and intuition something that was purely ours. Which is great. That is like a key moment in songwriting where you find your own way of doing things and it actually works.

Me: You wrote a song called "Neanderthal Man." That's an odd song. right?

Kevin: Yeah, I wouldn't say that qualifies as a song. I seem to being in London or something and Lol Creme and Eric Stewart and I were in a cab and he started to sing this thing, "I'm the neanderthal man" and we started singing it in the cab, fuck knows why. We forgot about it until we were in Strawberry testing the gear it was let's do the drums first, then what if we double tracked it, then we were like what are we going to put over this. We just popped things out of the air and sometimes we were lucky and sometimes it's just a waste of time. It's an experimental process that we went through. The recording studio is a lab to me and many people. At that point is what a lab more than anything else to finding stuff out. We were aiming to make it into a song but something joined our sensibilities and turned it into a recording. It's not a song, that's for sure. You wouldn't sit around a camp fire singing it, would you?

Me: I would have to go camping first, Kevin. Haha. So, you guys worked with Neil Sedaka who I might be having on the Phile soon. My parents would cringe at that. Haha. What was it like working with him? What should I ask him if I get him here on the Phile?

Kevin: That's nice, I hope you get to interview him. It was a great time for us because our responsibility was kind of different. We were following his lead in a way, his songs were already written. We were essentially trying to create an album that was very natural, very warm. We were just playing together and discovering we could not only produce interesting noises but we could also function as a house band for Neil. So, there was slightly less of a responsibility... the kind of album we wanted to make was very low key. It was a small band sound so we had to concentrate on playing our instruments. There were still lot of ideas flying around, lots of "how about this?" and that was always going to be inevitable. In this case though there was always a tight focus to make his songs come to life. The interesting thing about Neil is he plays piano and sings the harmony at the same time. He plays the piano and sings which is a pain in the arse for recording anyway. He doesn't sing the lead vocal, he sings the harmony first. That's kind of bizarre. Ask him why he does that.

Me: Okay, I'll try to remember to ask him that. You wrote with Lol Creme and also Graham Gouldman from 10cc... was writing with both of them the same or different?

Kevin: I supposed there was a bit of "wife swapping" there. Not a lot of difference but I think it was useful. When I sat down with Graham to write "Iceberg" I thought "right, I'm really going to fuck you up. Let's write something really dirty and horrible." Writing with Graham was great, and I done writing with Graham was post 10cc. Writing with Eric was different again, we came up with something else. But it's all the same process, we were prodding each other, trying to get the best for the song. When you find out what the song was going to be we'd try to find the elements to fit in with the basic structure that now exists... or we'd think it's rubbish and start again. I think by that time we were so used to working with each other we kind of knew each others fallible's on what works, so off we go. There were so few disagreements trying to understand what we were doing. Understanding wasn't the point. I wasn't in mind that I knew exactly what it was gonna sound, if I felt that it was a point of exercise to record it. The interesting thing was firing an idea through to a conclusion but being excited by it every stage of the process.

Me: Your songs all have unique backgrounds and situations, and are sooo different. Your mind and writing is so deep, and things you say, Kevin. You're very smart. Has anybody ever misunderstood any of your songs or were confused by them?

Kevin: Yes. "Rubber Bullets." It's interesting "Rubber Bullets" did pretty well in Ireland. It was a rallying cry for people over there... but the weird thing is it had nothing to do with the troubles. It was just the two words... rubber bullets. It's funny that, isn't it, that some ones have the power of suggestion, without being the subject matter that they are used for. "Every Breath You Take" by the Police is a great example of that. A lot of people play that at their weddings but it's about cold surveillance... it's about I don't trust this person. People don't hear that, they hear what they want to hear. Which is kind of interesting.

Me: I love that song... "Rubber Bullets"! Okay, so, you are an artist as well, and went to art school where you met Lol... what was that like, Kevin?

Kevin: Yeah, me and Lol were art school boys in the middle to late 60s so everything was kicking in art school. Basically to us it was if we knew what it was going to look like throw it to one side and do it again. Just keep experimenting... why stick to traditional formulas?

Me: You directed tons of videos... did you want to be a film makers at one time?

Kevin: Yeah, we were all frustrated film makes really. We wanted to make films but couldn't. So we thought let's make films with sound, so we would make this scene going on but there would be an interjection off camera from this guy and group of people would be doing this... again let's try it and see if it works. If it worked on musical tense on our terms then it stayed. Our songs were very visual a lot of times, only because we were frustrated film makers.

Me: So, why did 10cc come to an end after a few years, Kevin?

Kevin: It had to stop, it was becoming too intense. Our brains were going to burst, we couldn't so that for twenty years. I think we got to a point where we jammed as many ideas as we possibly could into a song. Or maybe we were scared in the back of our minds that it wasn't as inventive as it could be or was supposed to be. Maybe it was our downfall. I think our downfall was we out clevered ourselves. we wrote ourselves into a corner and recorded ourselves into a corner. It was always about the smile, the interesting... there wasn't great deal of emotion in our work whereas I think is the key to longevity. If you compared Bruce Springsteen to 10cc we would go Bruce is a throwback, god, it's rock and roll, so what? We'll go back into the studio and make something a lot cleverer than that and a lot more complex. But when you actually get down to it the way to connect to the audience is to touch them. You don't have to outsmart them. I think what we did worked for a time people might of been dazzled what we were doing but there was an element that was lacking.

Me: You didn't come from a musical background, did you?

Kevin: Ummm... My mum's brother had a kind of jazz band but no, not really. When we were kids we all wanted to be in bands because you get to meet girls in bands. People would look up to you instead of down on you. That's what kids did opposed to playing video games or whatever kids do today. It was part of the youth culture of the time. I had no idea I would actually do it for a living. I sense it's true from anyone from that period, you just pick up a guitar and it's fun, it's a departure from the impeding torture for the rest of your life. Traveling around in a van that used to carry chickens, playing in Stoke-On-Trent, or Manchester, and staying up all night, setting our own gear up and playing, get back in the van and drive home. It's an adventure. I guess somewhere along the lines something clicked, part of my DNA clicked that I didn't know existed. I became something that I wanted to do. It's interesting, on the last day of my art school course, I was studying graphic design, it was 1968, last day of college, off into the real world... Lol comes from Birmingham and drove down to London for our first proper recording session. So, straight out of art school studying to be a graphic designer, forget that shit, let's go straight to make a record. It's all about getting a thrill from being creative one way or another.

Me: Okay, I have to talk about Godley & Creme... what's the difference between that band and what you did in 10cc? I have a best of CD of your music that has both 10cc stuff and Godley & Creme stuff.

Kevin: Well, intentionally when we left the band it was because we wanted to do an album that used the Gizmotron, this device that we invented. We invented it back in '67, and we had prototype laying around. We used a tiny weeny bit, but we never actually tested the parameters of it. So we initiated a couple of weeks at Strawberry to try the thing put and we were so buzzing on that, that when Eric and Graham came in with a song they've written to begin the next album it was like "oh, god, that is so fucking dreary. It's so predictable and boring, why don't we just go fuck off and do something with the gizmo?" Of course at that age we were daring and ballsy and we took chances, that's what we did. But con-sequences, as I like to call it, it turned into a monster, it turned into our heaven's gate. The idea was to make music that was not remotely like 10cc. It was orchestral to a degree because the Gizmotron was designed to create orchestral sounds. Of course it moved way from that but we lost ourselves a little bit in that album. We got a little stir crazy, even though there was some good moments in there, we lost the thread. So, there was a period of time we had to pick ourselves up from that when we realised that we actually spent fourteen to eighteen months making something that people thought was a pile of shite.

Me: Hahaha. I love the song "An Englishman In New York." It's about me! Just kidding. Anyway, what was your part with that song and did you go to New York? What did you think of it?

Kevin: The lyrics. Most probably most of the lyrics I think and a desire to write it. I think we've been to New York a couple of times and we were gobsmacked by New York... the size, the smell, the tenacity, the buzz, so it was kind of capturing that spirit and the insanity and absurdity of it. It was an important song for us because you might know it was the first video we ever did as well. It made a mark for us and surprisingly it was a hit all over Europe, not in England, but in Europe, which is very odd because the words are complicated, but that didn't really matter. Or maybe the video helped. I don't know, but it did well. It's an interesting song... there's some brass parts on it I think. Whoever plated brass played the lick once, we lifted it and dropped it in on the chorus as opposed to having him play all the way through. We were trying sampling methods long before they existed. I love that song, but I don't think we'd get away with some of the lyrics now. The constraints were different then. It's a sort of tongue twister lyrics but then again it kind of worked on its own terms.

Me: Another song I think is funny is "Snack Attack"...

Kevin: You might think it's funny, at the time I slipped my disc. Before we went in to make that album I slipped my disc, so I was laying on my back for most of that album, in bed lying ion a board in pain. I was at home and I had a brain full of shit and pills and note pad and a pen and I was hungry and couldn't eat because when I chewed it hurt. So, there's a wish list of what I would like to eat but maybe couldn't because it hurt so much. It wasn't really singing was it? It was kind of a talking rap thing. I think I did that vocal lying on my back by necessity. I wasn't playing the drums... I did something on a linn drum machine. I managed to get to Lol's house, did that laying on a sofa, and went home. I did that whole album laying on my back.

Me: A lot of story type of stuff appears in your work like in the song "Under Your Thumb," which I LOVE, the music videos and projects like "Hog Fever." Is that on purpose?

Kevin: Could be. I love story telling but I wouldn't say it applied to the video stuff. I really don't like music videos that tell stories. I hate those videos where some guy is going "ooohhh, I love you, but you left me. I'm sitting in a bath, smoking a pipe." And then you see that. You just said that, so why are you wasting time showing me? It's called show and tell. You never see in a movie, unless it's film noir, a guy walking down a street naked with a pipe in his mouth saying, "I'm walking down the street naked with a pipe in my mouth" because it's painfully obvious you are because I can see it. The secret for me is to create an atmosphere that assists you with the story and doesn't bang you over the head with it. I'm not into story telling with music video, but music like yes, and things like "Hog Fever" because there was a story to be told and so on and so forth. Screenplay writing is a story to be told, and you have to tell it. You have to find ways to tell it and again to touch people and lead them to the next part without ramming it down their throats or their ears.

Me: I have to ask you about "Under Your Thumb." It's definitely one of my favorite songs of yours. How did that song come about?

Kevin: That was a weird one. Lol had set up a studio at his house and was fiddling around with synthesizers. We worked pretty regularly and I would go to his house every day. He stayed up one night late and just threw this backing track down. A really frenetic backing track. I came by the next morning and he played me this thing and I was like fuck, and just started singing with it and I got the chorus right away. It was magic. What was it? A ghost story? Gradually I put bits together and it wasn't a conscious story. It became a story once I wrote there first verse. I was like writing a screenplay, I plugged in things until it made sense. It happened pretty quickly. It took about two or three days to record it.

Me: One last song I have to ask you and that's about the song "Cry." That was the first video and song I heard you did, which might surprise you. After that song came out my dad told me about you and 10cc and that's how I learned about you. What can you say about it, Kevin?

Kevin: It took fifteen years to write. We had this "you don't know how to ease my pain don't know..." We had that. After that point we had nothing. We thought this was really good and must sit down and finish it at some point. We tried to many, many, many times but we couldn't for some reason. We could never finish it. It was almost like those first lines were so good it was our responsibility to make the rest even better. It was only after we've been in New York we filmed the Police "Synchronicty" concert and Trevor Horn was in New York at the same time and we paled up with Trevor. We resolved at some point when we went back to England to go into the studio together. Our first plan was to record something called "Hit the Box" which was an experiment we were doing. We were held up in a hotel room and channel surfing American garbage that was on the TV. That idea went absolutely no where, so we sat there and Trevor asked what else had we got. "You don't know how I..." "Oh, I like that. What else is he doing?" "I have no idea." "Okay, well, what are the chords?" At some point it took on a life of its own without actually taking it to much further at all. It didn't take much of that we had earlier written to make it a really great recording. It took somebody else to draw the song out of us and that was a revelation. Okay, so, things can be simple, they don't have to be complicated. I remember I was asked to sing it live for a charity thing in Ireland a few years ago and it took me ages to relearn the song. It was a big hit, and again it was a magic moment for us because like "An Englishman in New York" the video was a big part of it being a hit I think. It was those two things happening... the recording was good and the video was good that went with it so I think it had a real solid identity.

Me: How did you sing so high at the end of the song?

Kevin: I didn't. We used a harmonizer. If I sang that high I would of burst my bullocks.

Me: Hahahahaha. Kevin, I know we ran out of time. I don't even get to ask you about the book "Spacecake" or you working with Duran Duran, U2, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, or anything else... I hope you will come back on the Phile again soon, sir, and I hops this was fun.

Kevin: Thank you, it was enjoyable, and you asked intellect questions.

Me: Mention your website and take care, Kevin. Please come back again.

Kevin: My pleasure. You should interview Lol Creme as well. Thank you, Jason.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Kevin for a great interview. The Phile will be back on Thursday with Colin Hay. COLIN HAY, Rich! Ha! 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