Monday, January 29, 2018

Pheaturing Robert LaRoche From The Sighs

Hey, kids, welcome the Phile for a Monday. How are you? Did you watch the Grammys last night? The Grammy are a great way to get to know the bands from you favorite car commercial. I was feeling really old and confused after trying to watch the Grammys.
I don't know who Joy Villa, but apparently she is a singer who is becoming more well-known for her political outfits than her singing career. Case and point is the 26-year-old's personalized gown she wore to the Grammys yesterday. Villa's gown and purse sported an anti-abortion message that she hand painted. Arts and crafts goes fashion!

On Instagram, Villa shared that the fetus image is her daughter, whom Villa gave up for adoption after giving birth at age 21. Villa also confirmed what you're thinking... the dress is a bridal gown she custom decorated. I had to Google Joy Villa, which I suppose is what she wanted. Villa made headlines at last year's Grammys for wearing the most pro-Trump outfit conceivable, from designer Andre Soriano. If you couldn't tell, Villa is into Trump. Despite her ardent support for Trump, Villa angered the Trump base in December when she accused Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, of inappropriately touching her at an event. While Villa may have lost some supporters for speaking out against Lewandowski, she's continued full-on with her Trump marketing ploy. The same day she sported the anti-abortion gown she released new music. If you'd like to follow Villa's career, don't waste your time looking for her on best dressed lists.
The biggest moment coming out of last night at the Grammys: Hillary Clinton, in a James Corden sketch, reading from Michael Wolff's Trump tell-all, "Fire and Fury." As celebrities like John Legend, Cardi B, and Snoop Dogg read passages from the bonkers behind-the-scenes look at the White House, the sketch saved Clinton for last. "He had a long time fear of being poisoned. One reason why he liked to eat at McDonald's," read Clinton. "No one knew he was coming, and the food was safely premade." And if Corden was hoping Donald Trump would clapback and up the prestige of his hosting gig (like Jimmy Kimmel before him), well, he's already gotten the next best thing. Don Jr. tweeted immediately.

Wrote Jr, simultaneously hating on Wolff's book... which alleges that the president's eldest son has an infantile relationship with his father... and Clinton. He wasn't the only Trump official to take a strong stand against the comedy bit. Trump's Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, also slammed the "trash," saying she loves the Grammys but doesn't need "the politics thrown in it." Congratulations to the winner of the defense-of-Trump tweet awards... James Corden. Stay tuned to see if he gets the biggest prize of the day. President Trump still hasn't tweeted.
It's time to pull out your detective hat, because a very important investigation is underway. Upon first glance, the 2018 "Vanity Fair" Hollywood portfolio cover is yet another glamorous celebrity portrait taken by the prolific Annie Leibovitz.

But upon closer inspection, Twitter has noticed something peculiar about Reese Witherspoon's legs. When you truly focus, it appears the Big Little Lies actress has three legs. Is this an illuminati conspiracy?! Has she had three legs all along and we're just NOW noticing?! People also have some feelings about how snug Witherspoon and Oprah appear to be. Naturally, people has been batting around some theories about Witherspoon's third leg. Is it merely an optical illusion caused by her flesh-toned dress?! Perhaps a bad photoshop job?! Maybe, just maybe, this is Witherspoon's long hidden secret. Weird. Could be a Photoshop error, but I'm not sure why they would have to Photoshop her leg into a different position. Most likely, what we see as the third "leg" is just the fabric of her dress that seems to match her skin tone because it's in shadow. To make matters even more bizarre, it also appears that Oprah has three hands. Did a "Vanity Fair" photo editor just execute the perfect prank?! Once she caught wind of the Internet's speculation about her third leg, Witherspoon decided to settle the score once and for all. Yes, she has three legs. And now, she finally feels ready to share her truth with this cold, judgmental world. At the time of writing, Oprah has yet to comment on her third hand. Man, 2018 is already off to a weird start, so Witherspoon's three-legged photoshoot feels completely on brand.
Speaking of Oprah... After weeks of excitement and speculation spawned by that transcendent speech she gave at the Golden Globe Awards, an interview with her excellency Oprah Winfrey explicitly states whether or not she will run for president in 2020. And... she isn't. Oprah is on the cover of "InStyle" magazine this month, and was asked point blank whether she's packing up and moving to Washington. "Why would I be president when I could be Oprah?" is not what she said, but it sure sounds like what she thinks. Well that's that. Incidentally, this interview was conducted weeks before her Golden Globes Oprah made it official in her own magazine. The electorate is understanding, and still can't believe there was such huge speculation in the first place. Seriously, people want a president with actual governing experience this time. Breitbart, for their part, is claiming this as a victory, assuming Oprah has a more sinister reason for rejecting the call than simply not wanting to. R.I.P. OPRAH 2020 January 7th, 2018 - January 25th, 2018.
One company has truly reached a new low with their "Slavery Gets Shit Done" slogan. Along with the text is a graphic representing the pyramids of Egypt. You know, because a lot of people think the pyramids were built by slaves. (They were not.) Umm? What? How does this exist? And as if the fact that the clothing was created in the first place wasn't bad enough, it was actually being sold by online retail giant, Twitter user @Queen__Grace tweeted this picture of a white baby wearing a bib bearing the slogan, but it was apparently also on mugs, bags, and T-shirts, all sold by third-party sellers on Amazon's website.

Amazon reportedly pulled the clothing after complaints from individuals and anti-slavery groups. In a statement, an Amazon spokesperson said, “All Marketplace sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who don’t will be subject to action including potential removal of their account. The products in question are no longer available.” David Westlake, chief executive of International Justice Mission (IJM) U.K., said to the "Post," “Children the same age as those modeling the t-shirts will be forced to work long hours for no pay in desperate conditions where starvation, beatings and sleep deprivation are common." Jakub Sobik of the charity organization Anti-Slavery International (ASI) told Thomson Reuters Foundation, “If it is meant to be funny, it fails miserably.”
So, there's a new band I want to get on the Phile...

I bet they're good. Hahaha. That's so stupid. That's as stupid as...

Hahaha. There's a new Star Wars book out that looks pretty cool...

Hahaha. That's actually funny. If you are thinking about cheating on your loved one you might wanna think twice after seeing this...

Ha! So, a few weeks ago there was a Women's March in Washington D.C. and other states when it was the anniversary of Trump being sworn in as president. Some of these women had very clever signs...

Hahaha. So, this is the Phile's 12th anniversary year and I have been showing you some celebrities how they changed since 2006. For example... Taylor Swift...

In 2006 she was singing about ex-boyfriends. Then in 2018...

She's singing about ex-boyfriends. Okay, maybe somethings haven't changed.

Hahaha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so, yesterday friend of the Phile Laird was here and said he didn't like the movie Dunkirk. Well, that got me thinking... what movie does he like. So, I invited him back here to tell us. He's a singer, patriot, renaissance man. You know what time it is.

Good morning, humans. This movie is so thought provoking...

Not only do I highly recommend it, I think it should be required viewing for everyone over the age of 12. I won’t spoil the plot by describing anything further. Let’s just say... it’s one of those movies that’ll have you saying... “Holy shit!” many, many times. I give it five stars.

Okay, so, you know I live in Florida, right? Well, there's some stuff that happens in Florida that happens nowhere else in the universe. Well, this story might...

Jen Selter is an Instagram influencer who's gained roughly 11.7 million followers thanks to her curvaceous rear. While she's no Kardashian, Selter has created a well-known brand.

Thus, her getting into it with an airline equates to bonafide gossip. As gleaned from Selter's social media, Selter was attempting to fly from Miami to New York on American Airlines. Her plane was stuck on the runway for over two hours, creating a heated environment. It seems that some people were out of their seats and in the bathroom, which led Selter to believe she was free to grab a jacket from the overhead bin. Apparently this was a no-no and a flight attendant told ​​​​Selter as much. When asked if she wanted to leave the plan, Selter assented, only to later tell the pilot she was being sarcastic. The video shows other passengers getting mad for Selter, who remains calm when talking to the pilot. The only thing agreed upon is that nobody wants to be there. Selter posted follow-up videos of five cops coming onto the flight to remove her and her sister. "People kept coming up to me, and then all of a sudden five male officers come at me and it was really frightening," Selter told ABC News. Selter's sister talked to another passenger who got off the plan voluntarily following the incident. American Airlines released a statement in response to the hooplah. "Ms. Selter was asked to leave the aircraft after a disagreement occurred Saturday night at Miami International Airport (MIA). American offered her hotel accommodations and transportation, which she declined." The statement noted that Selter "flew on American Sunday morning back to New York (LGA)." Seems like Selter and American made up. That's great... I wanna see another pic of her.

Okay... one more...

Okay... I'm good for now...

During a CNN interview on Saturday night, rapper Jay Z called Trump a "superbug," noting that his toxic rise has empowered racist attitudes that were already embedded in America's DNA. "You don’t take the trash out. You keep spraying whatever over it to make it acceptable. As those things grow, you create a superbug. Then now we have Donald Trump, the superbug," Jay Z said, lamenting America's inability to confront racism head-on. In true Trump fashion, the president took to Twitter yesterday morning to come for Jay Z. His defense?! That his presidency has allegedly raised the black employment rate.

Presumably, Trump didn't actually watch Jay Z's interview. Since that very point was brought up in discussion. Several people pointed out that it was actually Obama's presidency that brought about these changes. And even so, there's a long way to go. Some people are relishing the concept of beef between Jay Z and Trump. While their lifestyles, career tracks, and political perspectives are vastly different, both of them technically do have a lot of experience with beefing. During his appearance on "The Van Jones Show," Jay Z also addressed Trump's "shithole countries" comment noting how dehumanizing it was to people in Africa, Haiti, and El Salvador. And in an interview that aired last night with Piers Morgan, Donald Trump doesn't identify as a feminist, a fact that rippled throughout the Internet to receive a collective "duh." "No, I wouldn't say I'm a feminist. I mean, I think that would be, maybe, going too far. I’m for women, I'm for men, I’m for everyone,” Trump said in the interview. It's hardly news that the man accused by 22 women of sexual misconduct doesn't identify as a feminist. If you look at his lifestyle, and write down pretty much any of Trump's sexist quotes about women you can parse that he doesn't hold a deep respect for the ladies. The "revelation" rendered large portions of Twitter unable to pry their eyeballs from the backs of their heads. To be fair, it would demonstrate a much bigger cognitive dissonance on Trump's part if he did identify as a feminist. We're going to need more eyeballs to roll after this piece of breaking news.

The 74th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

David will be the guest on the Phile a week from today. And now for just the...

Phact 1. The Oakland Buddha, placed by a resident on a street corner to prevent illegal dumping, the statue has now become a shrine for the local Vietnamese population who leave offerings and have even built a shelter for the Buddha. Crime in the area dropped 82%.

Phact 2. As a child, Michael Jackson’s father would torment him about his appearance, calling him fat-nose. Michael went on to have four rhinoplasties and fussed over how his body and face looked for the rest of his life.

Phact 3. Sir Ian McKellen broke down on the set of The Hobbit, announcing “This is not why I became an actor," due to filming the entire movie along with the dwarves edited in afterward.

Phact 4. Carrie Fisher delivered a cow tongue inside a Tiffany box to a predatory producer who had assaulted her friend. She said, “The next delivery will be something of yours in a much smaller box!”

Phact 5. A 17-year-old girl who hired two teens to murder her parents appealed her convictions on the grounds of being a minor interviewed by police without parental consent.

Today's pheatured guest is the lead singer and founder for the Massachusetts rock band The Sighs who had a little bit of success in the 90s. Their new album "Wait on Another Day" is available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and more. Please welcome to the Phile... Robert LaRoche.

Me: Hey, Robert, welcome to the Phile, man. How are you doing?

Robert: I'm doing good, Jason.

Me: Great. So, should I call you Bobby or Robert? I saw you mentioned as Bobby in a few places on-line.

Robert: Well, my name is Robert, but folks who have known me for awhile, even my own family call me Bobby. Sometime after The Sighs when I do my side project which I'm still doing to this day I started using Robert. I'm comfortable with either but if I had a preference I'd prefer Robert. I'm 54-years-old, so Robert sounds a little better than Bobby. Haha.

Me: Good deal. I called you Robert at the top of this entry. So, when did The Sighs become a band, Robert, and was it a struggle when you guys first started?

Robert: It wasn't a struggle because it was fun. The playing was fun and we actually got a lot of gigs. I think the first one was in '81, and we were playing clubs in '82. I was pretty young, about 19 and I was the oldest in the band. The drummer who is now the bass player, Tommy Pluta, a little known fact, he started out playing drums and was a damn good drummer. He was only 18-years-old, and he would play, and get a belly full of beer and had to go to high school with a hangover the next day. We were all working part time and I am sure we were still living at home still. It was absolutely fun as we weren't that focused at that point on original material. We had some original songs but we were playing versions of Dion and the Belmonts, late 50s to early 60s songs and of course as time went by we started to write more and more. Primarily we started as a fun party and people knew the songs. That didn't last long, as about two years into it it was half and half... half originals and half covers. It was ten years playing clubs and colleges before we got signed by a Virgin subsidiary.

Me: The whole time were you thinking you guys wanted a record contract, or were you just happy playing gigs?

Robert: We were true believers and still are and I still am.

Me: Did you go to college or anything in the meantime? Surely you didn't just play shows and nothing else...

Robert: There wasn't a back up plan and we took it as far as we could. Even when Charisma, the label went kaput we continued on and did a one off with a good independent label which was called Big Deal Records.

Me: When did your first record come out, and what was it called?

Robert: "She Is Not the Girl I Used to Know," which was released on Relief Records which was in late summer '82. We were very clever... Sighs on Relief. I remember doing mailings to all these distributors. I had help of course, Jason. I had all these people in the music scene in Holyoke and North Hampton. This was a western Mass thing. It wasn't a Boston thing. Boston was only a hundred miles to the east but this was kinda regional thing. I don't have a copy of that single, I haven't heard it in a long time. Haha.

Me: What genre would you say your music was in 1992 when the first album came out? Rock? Grunge? Pop?

Robert: I wouldn't say grunge. If you listen to the Charisma release we were pretty straight pop rock and roll. I don't really hear any grunge on that. The second record was different. That was the one on Big Deal. It had I would say had a more powerful influence from let's say the post-Nirvana period. When "Nevermind" came out that decimated the plimsols, power pop, Raspberies influence that we were in to... that kinda got pushed aside as you know.

Me: So, how did you guys originally get signed? I bet you celebrated when that happened?

Robert: Well, we partied a lot in those days so I can't give you too much information, but could only say we were excessive in our celebrating. That would be the most diplomatic way to put it. I've been sober now for quite some years and I don't regret the past but I don't need to relive it. Haha. We were young and had a hell of a lot of fun.

Me: Gotcha. So, was it one of those things were you went and signed a big contract and they threw a large bucket of money at you?

Robert: I would say yes to that. That was still happening in the early 90s. New York City wasn't that far from where we lived, it was just a three hour drive. We started playing at a place called The China Club in New York City. At that time there was a string of them in L.A., Chicago, New York, and a couple of other big towns. It was on the upper west side of Manhattan on 75th and Broadway. It was actually located in the basement of the Beacon Theater. It was one of those velvet rope clubs and they would have live from about 9 til 12, and they would have a feature act. It was not like a CBGB hardcore lower east side with people with torn up jeans and Converse... it had a lot of music fans, and a lot of models, a lot of celebrities. The Stones were there, Rod Stewart, Hulk Hogan... I remember being completely as my dad would say "half my shoes on," very intoxicating, hanging off Hulk Hogan's biceps. We had a lot of stories like that during that time period. But we started playing this China Club and we started to get popular. What really turned it around, we started packing the place and that's when record companies started to come around. I remember being at CBGB and we did a good set. CBGB was a great place as it sounded good in there. It was a dirty place with dog shit all over the floor, it was a real dump but it had a good sound system and a good stage. It was at CBGB when the president of Virgin Records, Phil Quartararo, came out and solidified the deal and said, "Welcome aboard, guys." We had leaned towards going with Virgin and that is what we did. There was a couple of other offers too that we had to think about.

Me: That's a crazy story about Hulk Hogan, Robert, but I might be able to beat that. In the early 90s when I was living at home with my parents I came home from work and saw Hulk Hogan was sitting on the couch in our living room, with my dad sitting in a chair. My mum was in the kitchen making dinner, and was getting impatient that Hulk wouldn't leave. Apparently he had been there for hours and just wouldn't leave. At that time he was making the "Thunder in Paradise" show at Disney World and wanted my dad to write and perform the theme for that show. My dad was Lonesome Dave from Foghat, and was home from touring the time. Anyway, Hulk said, "Hi, brother," and I ended up getting an autograph for somebody at work. A half hour later Hulk left to my parents relief. It was crazy. Anyway, where are you from, Robert?

Robert: From western Massachusetts. I was living in New Hampton, Massachusetts which is a little college town. We all loved one or two towns from each other but we had a band house like Big Pink. We wrote there, we recorded there, we had a nice studio seer up for demos. We made pretty good demos and funny about that, we were gonna release that as a CD. Our great guitarist, Matt Cullen, was moving his studio into his basement and he found this box of tapes. We started to remix them and thought, "How many songs are there?" There were like twenty songs and we said let's release this and we'll call it "The Basement Tapes" as it was recorded in the basement. This is why things are were they are now with the new release.

Me: Okay, so, how did you and the other guys get back together for this album again?

Robert: Well, we have always been friends all these years, even though we might not talk for about 8 months. When I went home to visit my parents who are still living in western Massachusetts we would get together and play poker. And then we rekindled our own curiosity and interest in all these songs and wondered why they weren't on the record. We then realized that we didn't pick the songs that were going on the record. The label chose that. At the time we were quite happy, we were in the batters box and thought we'll do it. The funny thing is there were so many songs left over that is what the new record "Wait Another Day" is now.

Me: Are all the songs on the new album older songs or any newly written songs?

Robert: All written back then, but with new recordings. There are three songs on it that were written in 1987... 31 years ago. The other ones were written when we were with the label in '91, or '92. None of the songs are brand new songs... that I'm aware of. I'm pretty sure that they are all from that time period.

Me: When you were originally signed were you working a day job at all?

Robert: I was working for my family. They were so, so supportive and they knew myself and the other band members had been chasing this for years. When the time came and the opportunity was presented to us we were in good shape musically. We were ready to be signed. I didn't have to give a resignation because I worked for my family. We signed in June '91 and if I'm not mistaken it was only ten weeks later we were in Los Angeles doing preproduction.

Me: The first album, "What Goes On," was produced by Ed Stasium. What was that like? He's a pretty big producer, right?

Robert: Yeah. He heard the demos, and gave the label a price... a high price. At the time we didn't realize everything was in advanced. The labels like a bank, whatever costs the x amount of dollars for so and so, in this case Ed to produce the record we weren't gonna see any money til that money's paid back. That's just the business and it's nothing out of the ordinary. Years later we looked back and thought maybe we could've made a little less expensive record. We didn't and made a very, very expensive record. We decided to record it in Los Angeles... you're talking about flights and a place to live for 3 months. The irony is we knocked this new record out in five days. Expect for the lead guitar parts that Matt did in his home studio in Iowa. He's a full time dad and a husband so he did his stuff in his home studio. At the time it was a great opportunity, where did the basic tracks, Jason, was the room where they did "We Are the World." We were in studio A in A&M. Was it necessary? I don't know. In retrospect am I glad I got to experience it? Yes.

Me: Did you run into any of your idols or cool people at that time?

Robert: Yeah, a lot of heavy cats. U2 was mixing "One," but I did not get to meet them. Tommy Pluta did in the parking lot of A&M. It was the Charlie Chaplin soundstage that became the Herb Albert took over. I couldn't believe it was still there. That facility is no longer a recording studio now but it was ion '91 and U2 was there. Patti Smythe was across the hall, Maria McKee was also recording there. The legendary drummer Jim Keltner, who is an idol for us, who played with John Lennon, the Traveling Wilbury's was playing drums for the Maria McKee sessions so we actually got to go into the control room and got to see Jim Keltner cut a drum track and that was really interesting. We had to sit quietly in the back and Jimmy Iovine was the producer and he didn't let guests in but he was a friend of Ed's and let us watch. Sheryl Crow was in there, I remember I hung out with her one afternoon. They had a lounge with a bunch of fish tanks in there which they called The Fish Lounge I think, and this was before her first album "Tuesday Night Music Club," and she was real nice. There was other folks in there too, there was a guy from Bad English... so many people.

Me: Okay, so, you're in L.A., recording your first album, and got paid a lot of money. How did you handle it? What did you do?

Robert: To give you the idea how the tone was set the thing was we were young and we could party and still be productive. I wouldn't be able to do that now, but in those days we were able to do that. The night before we arrived at the studio they had a 40th birthday party for Sting. Sting had played the Hollywood Bowl the night before and they had a birthday party for him at the Charlie Chaplin soundstage. When we met the staff of A&M they said, "Hey, Sting was here last night and they left a couple of cases of Newcastle from England. Do you guys like Newcastle beer?" We were like sure. So, we started the session by cracking the case of Newcastle brown ale. The question is why wouldn't I? We partied a lot but in fairness we worked hard. That was part of our job... partying... recording, partying some more, recording some more.

Me: I don't remember you guys or when your first album came out. How come I didn't hear about you guys? Were you guys on the radio?

Robert: Well, the radio part happened in a nice way. The single "Think About Soul" was played on the radio and in those days it wax called modern rock radio. It did get national airplay but wasn't in the top 10 of the rock charts, but it was in the top 40. I remember going to perform in Chicago at the Metro, and we played with the band The Men. There were two guys and two girls in the band. As we pulled into Chicago for our first time there "Think About Soul" was on the radio so that was a real rush. There were other places like that. Portland, Oregon was great, Reno, Nevada was great. We could tell what towns the song was being played on the radio, that was the magic of radio back then. This would've been August or September in '92, when we were touring. Then what wound up happening was Virgin Records was sold and EMI bought out Virgin. That's the short version, they bought Virgin, and they switched distributors. We went on another tour with the Spin Doctors and Dada on an MTV Rock the Vote tour. This was when George Bush senior was going against Clinton. The problem was when the label was sold we would pull onto a town like Lawrence, Kansas we couldn't find the record. We got to Lincoln, Nebraska, and we couldn't find the record there. We were not unique and this was not a unique situation. I learnt that as the years went by and to be honest with you, I leaned to make peace with it. The real way I made peace with it is knowing it happens all the time in the music business. We managed to hang on longer than most. We made it into the following year where we were recording demos and still doing a lot of gigs. It's interesting, we were never officially dropped like most of the other acts were because we were signed by the president of Virgin who encouraged us and said let the dust settle, that it might take awhile. They wanted us to record a few new songs, and rerelease other songs but we didn't want to do that. We thought we'd sign to another label, but that's hard to do. That's like being struck by lightning twice. Who knows if we had stuck around and rode put the merger, who knows what would of happened.

Me: So, with the second album "Different," did you feel the same way, or was to different?

Robert: I think we knew that the golden opportunity... golden as in the financial backing, was not gonna come back. We were a good band, we enjoyed playing together. Like any band there might have been some personality differences but we did love each other and we are still friends today. We were very reluctant to sort of let it go, but we did after that record was released. I think we felt that we took it as far as we could. It had been fifteen years I guess, which is a long run.

Me: So, what happened when the band broke up?

Robert: With me personally I ended up moving to New York City, which we had been going to for some time. I really liked the city, I liked the energy, I like it you can fall flat on your face and nobody cares. If you failed, it didn't matter, nobody was impressed by it. To get noticed there you have to really work hard and so what I did I stepped out the lead singer role and I met a girl who I'm still working with to this day, Patricia Vonne, in Austin who has a great website you should check out. We tour Europe all the time still... I'm still on the road six months of the year. I'm not the lead singer, I'm the lead guitarist, but I get to write a lot. We co-write on a lot of the songs. Then two years ago I released my first solo CD called "Patient Man."

Me: So, where do you live now, Robert?

Robert: Austin... the fastest growing city in America. I've been here about 18 years, and when I got here in '01 it was still affordable. The sun is out 365 days a year and it's a music town.

Me: It's on my bucket list to go to Austin and do this blog from there. Okay, so, do you have any regrets or any fantastic memories of your career?

Robert: I guess recording at studio A at A&M... that whole experience was surreal. Ed Stasium is amazing producer and did a fantastic job. That would be the burning bush moment for me that whole three month period. There were some live shows that were great, and oddly enough the band is still playing very well live now because we all calmed way down. Of course we are advanced in years. The bottom line it's still fun and that's why it's worth doing. Equally important it's fun to play together.

Me: Robert, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Now I want to check you guys out. Mention your websites and if the Sighs come to Orlando I'll check you guys out.

Robert: Thanks. You can check out and Thanks, Jason.
Be good.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim and of course Robert LaRoche. By the way, that's a really good album. The Phile will be back next Sunday with Gary Numan. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Pheaturing Wesley Schultz And Jeremiah Fraites From The Lumineers

Ho hey, welcome to the Phile for a Sunday. How are you? Let's start off with a nice story, shall we? The often deadly affects of volcanoes are not pretty for nearby residents. However, the weeks long eruption from Mount Mayan in the Philippines served as a stunning backdrop for a local couple's wedding photos. While some make lemonade out of lemons, Maria Hussa Maica Nicerio and her husband Arlo Gerald de la Cruz make fire wedding photos out of ashes. The couple posed at the restaurant Red Labuyo in the province of Albay to profess their love and capture the gorgeous and formidable wedding photos.

These deserve to be framed in gold. Mount Mayan is currently the most active volcano in the Philippines, and has erupted 50 times in the past 500 years. Hopefully, the volcanoes' persistence will serve as a positive omen for this couple's marriage. Except, without the whole "killing people and melting nearby villages" vibe.
Are you a busy, cool, attractive person with lots of people on your texting rotation?! Well, then you're probably suffering from the newest health issue succinctly referred to as "text neck." According to "The New York Times," perpetually craning our heads to check how many people "liked" our killer Instagram photos isn't just reflective of looming psychological emptiness, but it also bodes badly for our physical health. This feels like a personal attack on every cool person alive. At resting, the human head only weighs between 10 and 12 pounds on average (unless you have a real honker). However, when we bend our necks to text our scores of devoted fans, gravity's pull puts roughly 60 pounds of pressure on our neck. While the phrase "text neck" sounds like an insult a teen on the subway would make up, it was first coined in a 2017 study published in "The Spine Journal." According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information, our habitual gorgeous social media slouch negatively affects our mood, memory abilities, depression symptoms, and of course, the quality of our spinal health. Of course, most of us don't have the viable option (or desire) to throw out our smartphones, strap on a backpack and pull a Christopher McCandless Into The Wild stunt. Even if we had that option, it should be noted that bears exist. Bears deserve our respect and WILL eat us. Do not believe Paddington's adorable propaganda. However, daily small changes will help you stave yourself from becoming the Hunchback of Notre Dame of text neck sufferers. All you've got to do is sit with a straightened back, remember to keep your shoulders back, and keep your chin up. Beyond practicing better posture, a more obvious way to stave off text neck is by engaging in less screen time. A more realistic habit is to more of your social media time to a computer rather than a phone, that way you can sit ergonomically. Just remember, if you're dealing with "text neck," it's only because you're an incredibly cool and popular person. I support your "text neck" treatment journey however it looks, so long as you still read the Phile.
Good news for everyone who wants to see Madonna’s right nipple! Madonna so clearly wants attention that it would be rude of me not to alert you to the existence of her semi-visible nipple on Instagram. Behold, it is Madge, topless, celebrating the purchase of a brand new $4000 Louis Vuitton purse, with her areola barely concealed. Congrats!

Madonna's new Mona Lisa purse is certainly worth drooling over, and so is this picture, which to be honest, I first thought was Miley Cyrus using the aging filter on FaceApp. She says, "still drooling over a handbag," because she posted a photo from what appears to be the same selfie photoshoot back in November. That's right, people: THIS IS A LATERGRAM, BUT SHE DIDN'T LABEL IT AS SUCH! The iconic artist is known to express herself. She even sang a song about it!  Madonna does have a history of fascinating, less-than-flattering selfies on the 'gram. She even makes her life a musical. Madonna will always be in vogue.
A Human Resources manager... you know, the person you're supposed to go to if someone in your office did something racist... got fired for doing something racist. Emily Huynh, an 18-year-old in Seattle, shared a disrespectful, degrading email her dad got from a prospective employer. Bruce Peterson, the now-former HR manager/Hiring manager for Dash Delivery LLC, responded in an email to Mr. Huynh...

Jeez. Emily tweeted that a professional (nay, a person) shouldn't talk to another person in such a manner. Emily's father, Minh Huynh, immigrated to America in 1995 and owned a restaurant before working as an overnight truck driver for 13 years. According to Next Shark, Mr. Huynh was laid off after being unable to get a certain license on time. For the past two years, he's been working day and night to try and find work, using Google Translate when he needs to. Emily also shared her father's reaction. Emily's tweet went viral and people with immigrant parents shared how they can relate. The Huynhs' story was shared on the website Next Shark, and Mr. Huynh was overwhelmed by the amount of support he's received. Finally, the Internet is good for once! The story has a happy ending...  Peterson was fired for his shittiness. Emily also shared an update from her dad, who's grateful for the support but working hard to move on with daily English lessons. And the family got an apology from Peterson himself. Take a lesson from Mr. Huynh... learn from your mistakes and your ignorance. Emily told BuzzFeed that since the tweet went viral, her dad has received numerous job offers. She also said that her dad wants to thank the Internet for their support, and that she was grateful to "to shine a light to this serious problem of workplace discrimination."
Another Trump book, "Media Madness" by Fox News host Howard Kurtz, is doing its best to fill the headline void left by Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury." An excerpt of the new book, coming out tomorrow, reveals Sean Spicer's reaction to a December 2016 tweet that went viral for, as we say in the business, "the wrong reasons." Remember this one?

Then-Politico reporter Julie Ioffe, linking to an article that reported Ivanka Trump would "get [a White House] office in [the] same space" usually reserved for the first lady. Politico quickly rebuked their reporter, who was already planning a move to "The Atlantic." Iofffe also apologized to the Internet and deleted the tweet. It looks like none of that was enough for former White House Director of Communications Sean Spicer, who at some point called "Atlantic" editor Jeffrey Goldberg and demanded her firing. Goldberg defended the reporter, asking Spicer: "Haven't you said some stupid shit in your life?" If you let the light hit it in just the right way, Spicer's comeback is actually hilarious in a self-deprecating, trying-to-repress-the-media sort of way... "I say stupid shit every day. I have never suggested anyone, much less a president, is fucking his daughter." Sean Spicer, whose greatest hits would include adamantly inflating crowd sizes at Trump's inauguration and perhaps mistaking Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" for a collection of Christmas carols, might actually be poking fun at himself there. Although maybe that's not surprising, since he did that again at the Emmys, (much to the audience's horror): According to the excerpt of the Kurtz book obtained by Page Six, the Spicer phone call all but "guaranteed Ioffe's employment... [Goldberg] couldn't let an... administration tell him whom to hire or fire." Well, suppose there's no better time for this pic...

Here's to more Spicer anecdotes come January 29th.
It's Sunday, people, and instead of doing this blog I should be listening to this...

Ummm...never mind. If I had a TARDIS I would go to Mars...

That's a photo of the sun from Mars by the way. Kinda cool, right? Hey, so, I Googled "Lady & the Trump" again on purpose to see what other pic I could find. I found this one...

Hahaha. Some people have suck bad luck... but I don't think it could be any worse than if this happened...

Damn! That sucks. A few weeks ago women were marching all over the country again when it was the anniversary of Trump being sworn is as president. Some of this women had some really creative signs...

That's great. So, I think I know where everyone is getting the idea to eat Tide Pods from...

So, parents, I hope your child isn't like the one who did this...

Haha. actually, that's pretty funny. Being this is the Phile's 12th anniversary year I have been showing you some celebrities how they have changed from 2006 til now. For instance in 2006 Emma Watson was Hermione.

In 2018 she is 2018 she is Belle...

So, as you know I live in Florida and there some crazy stuff that happens in Florida that happens no where else in the universe. That's why I have a pheature called...

The concept of find a message in a bottle sound whimsical enough on its own. But finding a message in a bottle that was sent over 30 years ago from Scotland enters a whole different stratosphere of remarkable. This unlikely scenario is precisely what happened to Florida residents Ruth and Lee Huenniger when they happened upon a message in a bottle lying under a fence near the Atlantic Ocean. The message itself was sent in the 1980s by a class of students from Forfar, Scotland who were learning about pirates. "We are learning all about pirates. We would like to see how far this message goes. Please write and tell us where you found this bottle. We are class 213, Chapelpark Academy Street," the message reads. Surprisingly well preserved, the Huennigers were not only able to read the decades old message, but they were able to decipher the return address and send a return letter. The letter's paper was covered in transpaseal to preserve it from water damage. Ruth Huenniger detailed to "The Daily Mail" how they found the letter, and how promptly they wrote a letter. "Lee found it after Hurricane Irma as he was checking for damage along a fence in our homeowner's association. It was a large plastic bottle, like a Coke bottle and it was frosted over and you could not see very well inside. Lee could not get the top off of it but saw a corner of the paper near the neck of the bottle. He was going to put in the recycle bin but decided to cut it open. It was several weeks maybe six before we received a response. We threw the original bottle out because we thought we were not going to hear anything else about the note." The Forfar school's location changed in 2007, however, Huennigers' letter still found its way to school staff. They received a letter back from recently retired teacher, Fiona Cargill, of Angus, Scotland. Cargill was pleasantly shocked by the letter, and managed to narrow the messages down to one of her classes from the 1980s. She said, "It's amazing. I liked to teach a project on pirates because it helped develop a lot of different skills. One part of that would involve getting in groups, writing a letter and sending a message in a bottle out to sea and seeing if it ever came back. I believe it is one class of primary 2/3 in particular because one of the children was related to a trawlerman in Arbroath who would take the bottle in their boat and throw it a bit further out so that it was less likely to just wash back ashore. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find the pupil who wrote the letter but looking back there's an error where they meant to write 'street' which I found quite amusing. Stupidly, I forgot to get them to date the letter which really would have helped in narrowing it down." A few former students from the school found the story online and shared their memories. This must be a total mind bender for them. The story of finding this bottle truly exemplifies that one man's trash is another man's message in a bottle.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so, I have been watching "The X-Files" and it made me think... I want to look into conspiracy theories. So, once again, here's...

A secretive organization of people that control the world? Well, it turns out it does exist and many of its members are powerful world leaders and titans of industry. The real action happens at Bohemian Grove, which appears to primarily exist as a place, “where the rich and powerful go to misbehave” according to "The Washington Post." Or, alternatively, to hear it from the group directly, where members, “share a passion for the outdoors, music, and theater.” However, along with more traditional fare such as drinking and big dinners, the regular activities also reportedly include performing rituals before a giant wooden owl, according to "The Post." Owners of the property host a two-week retreat in California each year for some of the wealthiest and most influential Americans. Past attendees include Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, both of whom attended before entering the White House. Oh, and it’s where the idea for the atomic bomb was first sketched out. No big deal.

So, I wanted to see the movie Dunkirk when it came out and was gonna get to from Red Box or see if it was on Netflix. Anyway, a friend of the Phile saw it so I thought it'll be fun to invite him on the Phile to review it. If he likes the movie then I will definitely like it. He's a singer, patriot, and renaissance man. You know what time it is...

Good morning, humans. Happy Sunday, phuckerz. Dunkirk equals Tom Hardy’s spitfire slowly running out of fuel... a bunch of WW ll British soldiers NOT fighting... and Kenneth Branagh looking concerned and standing on a dock... FOR AN HOUR AND FORTY FIVE FUCKING MINUTES! That’s it. Total waste of my time.

Guess I won't see Dunkirk now. Haha. The 74th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Author David J. Hogan will be the guest on the Phile a week from tomorrow. And now for some...

Phact 1. Babe Ruth’s daughter says that her father was never allowed to be a manager because he would have hired black players.

Phact 2. British celebrity Katie Hopkins condemned parents who give geography-inspired names to their children in an interview. When the presenter pointed out that her daughter is called India she said “that’s not related to a location."

Phact 3. In 2010, British goat milk farmer reportedly discovered his goats made more milk when Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas is You” was played on loop.

Phact 4. Singer Lorde has sound-to-color synesthesia, a unique condition where sound blends with sight to create certain colors. This greatly contributed to the creative process on “Melodrama," where she wrote music to the violets and blues that appear on the album’s cover.

Phact 5. There was an attempt in Indiana to legislate Pi to the number 3.2. It was abandoned on the day of the vote by a professor who pointed out that it was lacking any basis in proof.

This is so freaking cool. Today's oheatured guests are the two founding members of the pretty popular band The Lumineers, whose latest album Their second album, "Cleopatra," was released in 2016 and debuted at number 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200, and also on the Canadian and British album charts. It is already certified Gold in the U.S. Why the fuck are they here on the Phile? Haha. Please welcome to the Phile Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites from... The Lumineers.

Me: Hello, fellas, welcome to the Phile. This is so cool to have you here. How are you?

Wesley: Hi, Jason. We are good.

Me: So, I have to tell you that I'm disappointed... I was hoping to interview the cute member of the Lumineers... Neyla. Haha. How is she?

Wesley: Sorry, Jason, we're cute as well. Neyla says hi though.

Me: Hi, Neyla! Haha. Okay, I have to say I love your latest album "Cleopatra." Is it cool to have a hit second album after the first was so popular?

Wesley: Thanks so much. It's great to have a second album out in general, it feels like an enormous weight off our shoulders I think.

Me: I love the title track, guys. This song isn't about the actual Cleopatra? What is the story behind it?

Wesley: There's a female taxi driver who probably is in her 50s at this point but through a friend of a friend I heard this love story of when she was about 15 she was in love with this boy and her father dies in the midst of all this he proposes to her and she's mourning the loss of her dad so she doesn't really give him an answer to his proposal. They live in a small town in the Republic of Georgia, next to Russia. I always have to say that as people think it's the United States' Georgia. So, anyway, he doesn't get an answer and leaves pretty rejected or hurt and he never returns to the small town. It was a rainy day when he proposed to her and he had tracked in these muddy footprints from the mud outside. She never sees him again but she refuses to wash those footprints off of her floor, and rug as it's kind of the only thing she has left to remember him by for that love that she missed. So I heard her story and learned more and more about her as time went on as I was really fascinated by that as any writer would be. Your antenna would go up if you heard something like that.

Me: What came first with that song? The story and lyrics or the music first? I'm guessing the story... 

Wesley: I think we had the music first. We were singing different lyrics with it.

Jeremiah: Yeah, Wes had a lot of the lyrics written, but that was the fun part. You know you have something great with lyrics and melody but how do you dress it up? Do you make it a fast song or a slow song? I think at first almost felt overly sentimental. It was slower and had this almost faster feel or something, for lack of a better description. And then we did the blistering fast tempo started off. 

Wesley: We built a lot of tension through holding onto that first chord way, way longer than the original demos had. It created a lot more tension where there used to be a constant movement of chords. We saved those for the choruses.

Jeremiah: It was exciting for me to as we only had one album out there so when we were pinned against something we already made we wanted to do something interesting and completely different. I was like wow, this is new material, I think we are able to do this song justice now. It was a good moment when we thought finally now, this song will get the due justice it deserves on record.

Me: My friend Sam pointed out to me recently when we were talking about you guys is that on the new album there's a lot of songs named after women... what is the reason behind this? Are they all characters you thought of?

Wesley: In the case of "Cleopatra," that was the archetype. When you're in the mode of song writing and you have so many syllables to work with to tell your story it was the most economical way of saying something. I was trying to connote that this woman was young and indestructible and viewed the world like she was gonna take it over as a young person. There was no fast way to say that so that became the title and it has a weight to it, that name. Something like "Angela" in that song, could've been Los Angeles or Fransesca. Sometimes words and names just feel right. There's a music accountability to it. I heard Keith Richards talk a lot about the music accountability of the words or if it needs to have a certain vowel sound. If the song was "Start the Engine" instead of "Start Me Up" it would make no sense. So they kinda knew that early on. Some of our songs you may notice like "Ophelia" doesn't start with an actual word. I think the sound is more important than the actual words.

Me: Cool. So, how do you work together? Jeremiah, do you work on the music and Wesley, do you work on the words?

Jeremiah: Yeah, that's right.

Me: So, what do you use to write the music, Jeremiah? You're the percussionist, but do you use piano or guitar?

Jeremiah: You're right, it's mostly piano and guitar. I'm obsessed with the notion that it's been our thesis for the last six years that a great song can just work on a single instrument. "Ophelia" for example was just written on the fact that it has to just work on the piano and just us stomping and creating this background rhythm. We didn't want to leave any room that we would dress it up in the studio or quote and unquote fix it in the studio with effects or something like that. Because when you hear a great song, whether it's a Cat Stevens song or a Bruce Springsteen or Dylan, when you hear someone play it around a camp fire I usually get a little mad at how easy it is. How simple the chords are in fact and how the mysteries are revealed. It breathes so easily on a single instrument, so once we have that completed it's really fun to strip to and work other ways with other instruments. The tedious part is trying to make it work in that simple environment I think.

Me: With the success of your first album, and working on this second album, did you go back to any songs that you left off the first album? Does that make sense?

Jeremiah: Yeah, it does. "Ophelia" was an old idea, from New Jersey, when we grew up in Ramsey that it was just this thing I would tinker around with and me and Wes were always drawn to it but we were never had time to work on it I guess. I remember when we were recording the first album the chorus was born during lunch when we spent fifteen hours in the studio and Wes just puked out "Ophelia."

 Wesley: Yeah, that was an interesting thing because I really like the Band and the Band has "Ophelia." That's their territory. I think I thought that was never gonna remain the title out of respect for the Band so it was pretty odd that the thing stuck. At the end of the day we felt okay and good about it but a lot of things in life and in music sometimes the first things that come out is the best thing. It's almost impossible to get a complete original thought or idea down. We're always building on each other I think.

Me: I read that a lot of people try and interpret your songs. What do you think of that?

Wesley: It's like all the conspiracy theories. I think also the job of the artist in my opinion is to provoke and illicit something but what that thing is is not my job. If people feel ambivalence to what we're doing there's a problem there. So people's interpretations never ceases to amaze me how different than how I thought it was gonna be. Or what I thought at the time of writing it. It really is fascinating to me. When we toured recently with U2 and Bono said how "One" was people's first dance at a wedding and how really heartbreaking that song is for him. For us from the first album "Ho Hey" was like that. That became eerily because it was about heartbreak but became people's first dance. I think with "Ophelia" a song like that definitely for me was born out of being detached from touring so much. I think we toured for almost five years if you add it all up. We only had one album that was 43 minutes long and so we were being asked to play much longer than 43 minutes which was also a challenge. We all lost our way a little bit in all that and had to find it again.

Me: How long have you been writing together and when did you first realize you could write great songs together?

Wesley: I don't know, it's just kinda out friend. We both begrudgingly both agreed to meet up as a group but none of us really wanted to be there.

Jeremiah: I think to it was really clunky. It wasn't like we met and started writing. I didn't know how to play piano when I met Wes, on a professional level you could say, 11 years ago. I remember trying to play one of Wes's old songs on this piano and it was just an easy idea but I just couldn't get it. I felt very frustrated with not having the command of a piano at all and trying to write songs. But it was cool. Whenever somebody had an idea we would just finish it. Now there is an insanely, specific, complex, process of what becomes a Lumineers song. Back then was any idea let's do it. I think we've written 75 to a 100 songs before the debut album together which is really cool. It's really hard to imagine how much we've written together. It was clunky though to sum it up.

Wesley: Yeah, I think it's good in this kind of relationship Jer was really good in the theatrical and cinematically side of things. A lot of sounds that you hear buried underneath... that's Jer's wheelhouse. And mine is coming from a more singer-songwriter perspective so I'm putting a big owness on lyrics and melody. Our strengths don't always overlap and when we first met each other we didn't really understand what the other one is doing for a while. We realized afterwards the sings would come out better if the powers unite. When we combined our efforts it was a lot more interesting than just one.

Me: I didn't realize you guys wrote the song Jennifer Lawrence sang for The Hunger Games. Did they tell you what to write? How was that experience?

Jeremiah: It was pretty strange. We got to Skype with the director, Francis Lawrence. He was really generous, he Skyped with us a number of times. He just said this is what I'm looking for. It was a little bit of a tall task because he said he wanted like a children's nursery rhyme. So we tried to create this thing that could be hummed or sung.

Wesley: It's just a timeless classic. What I realized too is a lot of nursery rhymes that we grew up on like "ring around a rosie, pocket full of posies, ashes to ashes, we all fall down" that's a really dark song when you think about it. So with the hanging tree, the subject of the song, we had to work backwards because the lyrics already existed in the book and we really never write that way. It was a really fun exercise but we went into it thinking this is a really big movie and they're probably asking twenty people to write this and they're gonna pick the best one. Then we got the news that they were gonna use it and then eventually Jennifer Lawrence sang it, and everything she does seems to be increasingly successful. It didn't shock me it got a lot of attention and she has a cool voice.

Me: So, you mentioned all the touring you did behind the first album. How did you find the time to write for the second album?

Wesley: We toured from April 2012 to mid-December 2014, so almost three years. Then we took two weeks off and then we began to write for the next record for six months. We rented a little house in Denver and treated it like a 9 to 5 and just showed up pretty much every day and drank way too much coffee and wrote as many songs as we could in that period of time and then we ended up going to a place just outside Woodstock, New York to record the album.

Me: Were you fully prepared by time you go to the studio or were you writing there as well? 

Jeremiah: We were pretty prepared. I think we learned a while ago that if we were gonna spend anywhere from thousands a day to think about let's ponder what we were gonna do is not a great business model or an artistic model for that matter. I think we like to do it in the privacy of our homes. We have our own studio, and I mean that pretty lightly. It's like a pro-tools rig and a couple of mics basically, and a few instruments that we love. We find it easier and more fun to go into the studio and do these things that we know already worked instead of this idea like we are gonna meet around the campfire and smoke some weed and it's gonna be a black out moment of epiphany and fun or whatever. The song "Angela" however was written in the studio through a lot of handwork. Wes kept on tinkering with it and tinkering with it and the producer, Simone Felice, I could see this really cool thing happening, they were really kinda egging each other on musically. It was so magnetic or something. The song was born in the studio. It was so cool to see that and be a part of that.

Wesley: I think there's a little uncertainty about it. If the whole album sounded like that I don't think it'll be as good but it sticks out for me when I hear it because it's so fresh to all of us when we're playing it.

Me: Your music sounds basic but obviously isn't. Did you ever get any grief from your label, manager or anybody about the music?

Wesley: Yeah, I think it's something we found interesting, even at festivals playing, we have a song called "Slow It Down" which is on the first record, and we were up against it with the label. They said it's gotta be a real recording and we looked at each other and thought what does that really mean. 

Jeremiah: Yeah, it was kinda like "your painting is beautiful can't wait til you redo it." What do you mean? You said you loved it.

Wesley: So, that stayed on the album. We noticed when we played something like Glastonbury, it was interesting that that was almost one of the most special moments of the show. For a lot of people it seemed like a risk but I rather go out with something we really believe in and find interesting, not trying to appeal to the "lowest common denominator" by adding drums and more arrangement.

Me: Did you ever put something on a record or add something to a song and you were like no way, that sucks, or that is way too much?

Wesley: We had some of Bruce Springsteen's horn players come in to play on "Ophelia." I was thinking is this one of those moments when we were just taking advantage of our resources and we're really not thinning this few.

Jeremiah: When we have these guys come in, they're human beings in front of us and we hit play... it was really fun listening back to it, but thinking I don;t really want to use this. That was hard to make a decision like alright, thanks guys. We didn't mean to sound like a mean person but that sounds cool but I don't anybody to hear to ever again.

Me: Okay, so, who are your influences, guys? I couldn't guess who'd you say. Haha.

Wesley: I remember listening to Feist a lot and people don't normally bring her name up probably as much as her influences actually carries but she had a dramatic impact on both of us hearing her albums. I remember that song "The Park," where it's just birds in the background and a shitty acoustic guitar and a french horn suddenly comes in and it's just her and it's unbelievably moving. It's so much powerful than what's out there that you hear. I kinda see us a combination of Feist and Billy Joel somehow.

Me: Okay, so, I have to mention "Ho Hey." How did that song come about and were you surprised when it got so popular?

Wesley: I think we figured out that was a live phenomenon song so wasn't gonna work in the studio. We almost didn't put it on the record because we weren't happy with the recording and we tried all sort of things in the demo phase. I remember we ended up in a bath tub trying to write the reverb. We were gonna back to the original open mic setting at a dive bar we liked because we liked the sound of the wood when Jer slammed his foot down we were gonna record there. We had all those ideas but I think what we went back to was just the layering. Like with Queen with "We Will Rock You," when they layered the stomps and claps they were trying to create how long it takes for the guy clapping in a distance to the guy next to you, how does that sound with a big sound of claps in a real way. We began honing on that and creating a chunkier, fatter stomp and fatter clap. Then it started to feel like it did live. But I don't think we had a whole lot of faith in that song. We didn't think it'll do anything, just be this sort of live thing that people looked forward to. 

Me: So, what's the story behind the song?

Wesley: It was written very quickly in an apartment in Brooklyn I was living in. A lot of songs came out of me then, which may be a good lesson which wasn't the best of times. Sometimes you have to turn inward to create those good times when you are struggling a little bit. I think it was a stubborn defiance to the shit time I was having. It's sort of loosely based on an old melody that I tweaked a little bit, but from a different song. Often time that's the nature of what we do, we take little things that we think of gems but don't really have a home and they end up finding a place in another song. Most of the songs we have are Frankenstein monsters of three or four songs or something. They're snippets of a few different things.

Me: I have to tell you guys this... two days ago I got in my car and "Ho Hey" was on the radio. Then last night I was watching "The X-Files" and "Hey Ho" played on that episode. So, two days leading up to this entry I heard that song twice. Okay, so, I have to ask you about one last song... "Gun Song" from the new album. Guns are a big thing in the news right now because of the shooting spree in Vegas, and other places, so I have to ask to what the story is about this song.

Wesley: The story about "Gun Song" is my father passed away in 2007... actually on 7/7/07 at 7:07 a.m. so some quality of 7 is really special to me. Right after that I was working this job and I needed to wear black socks... I was a waiter. They would send you home if you didn't have black socks on, it was that kind of place. I didn't have any clean socks but my father had just passed away and I knew his clothes were still in his drawer. I was running late so I ran in to grab a pair of black socks and instead I pick out a gun I didn't know he had in that drawer. I put down the gun obviously and I grab the socks and I run to work. On the drive over and on the shift I'm just thinking about all the things that A) I can't ask him about about this and B) all the things I didn't know about this person I thought I knew so well that's gone now. So, the origins of that song all sprung up from that one moment of overwhelming sense of what the hell just happened, I don't have time to deal with this right now, I have to get to work.

Me: Wow. My dad passed on February 7th at 7 a.m. but in 2000. I like the holy shit moment in the song. Haha.

Wesley: Yeah. I remember saying to my mom why didn't you tell me and she said it wasn't loaded. It was just an odd response.

Me: Thanks, so much for being on the Phile, guys. Tell Neyla I want to interview her. Haha. Continued success and I hope to see you in concert soon.

Wesley: Thanks, this was fun. Have a good one, Jason.

Jeremiah: Thanks, Jason, I like your blog. This was a treat for us. Take care.

Me: Thanks.

Damn. That was so bloody good. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim and of course Wesley and Jeremiah from The Lumineers. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Robert LaRoche from The Sighs. 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