I'm alive! Hey there, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Tuesday. Yesterday morning I had the ablation procedure on my heart. It went well I'm happy to say. I'm just a little sore, but doing fine. Fine enough to do this blog thing anyway. And I'm not on any pain meds. So, how are you? Okay, let's start off with a story about a racist white lady calling black women in a restaurant the N-word, shall we? She says she'll never do it again.
I say she said it before and she'd say it again. Nancy Goodman has this week's dishonor of being the white woman with a terrible haircut to go viral for harassing black people. Goodman, nicknamed "Turn Down Tina" by one of her victims, was enjoying happy hour at a restaurant in Raleigh, North Carolina when she called two black women the N-word for allegedly being too loud. Chanda Stewart explained on Facebook that "what was supposed to be dinner with my girlfriends ended up in us being called stupid..." You know the word. "The climate of the country today has some people thinking whatever they feel... they can say. The reality is if we were to retaliate with this same kind of hate and ignorance we would be called 'angry black women,'" wrote Stewart. "We're paying for our food just like everyone else, and she told us we are the rudest people," Stewart said in the cellphone video, while Goodman obnoxiously "cheesed" for the camera. Goodman then took out her own phone and walked over to confront the women. "I've got real good friends who are black, and I love them," she volunteered, and then said, "Why are you so stupid... ?" "Do you call your black friends [the N-word]?" one of the women replied. "They're not like you," Goodman said, as she picked up her purse and walked away. After the video went viral, Goodman told WRAL that she regrets not telling the restaurant to deal with the alleged noise complaint, but she doesn't regret the language she used when she took the mission on herself. "I’m not going to say I’m sorry to them because they kept pushing at it," she told WRAL. "I would say it again to them. They are the rudest individuals I have ever seen." While racism is even older than the republic, people are tracing Goodman's overt display of animosity back to Trump and his Make Racists Unashamed Again platform. Goodman also had the audacity to blame her racist burst on "anxiety." "I suffer from anxiety which is not an excuse," she wrote on Facebook. If your "anxiety" is triggered by the presence of black women, you just might be a racist. And if you are, in fact, anxious... chill on the toilet for a fifteen minute breather like a normal person! There are dozens of remedies that don't involve racial slurs. I've tried them all.
Trump's Twitter going into 2020 is an advent calendar of racism with a new black target every day. Sunday, it was Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Oversight Committee Chairman who recently authorized subpoenas for senior White House aides' communications, including Ivanka "BUT HER EMAILS!" Trump's use of a private email account for official White House business. Yesterday, Trump has directed his Twitter missile at the reverend Al Sharpton, who was headed to Baltimore to refute Trump's claims that Rep. Cummings' district in Baltimore is Hades. Not even pretending anymore that he isn't trying to incite a race war, Trump declared that Sharpton "hates Whites & Cops!)" It must suck to wake up on a Monday morning and find that the president is harsher towards you than he is to literal dictators. Sharpton, for his part, had a good burn, because that's what politics is all about: trading barbs. "If he really thought I was a 'con man' he'd be nominating me for his cabinet," he said. Nice!
Speaking of cops, a police officer in Indiana accused a McDonald's worker of taking a bite out of his McChicken as an act of civil disobedience. After an investigation, the Marion County Sheriff's Office cracked the case, and the bite was an inside job: the officer ate the sandwich himself. An actual investigation took place, followed by an actual statement to an actual reporter. The sheriff's officer told WTHR, "The employee took a bite out of the sandwich upon starting his shift at the Marion County Jail, then placed it in the refrigerator in a break room. He returned nearly seven hours later having forgotten that he had previously bitten the sandwich. He wrongly concluded that a McDonald’s restaurant employee had tampered with his food because he is a law enforcement officer." Sorry, dude. While it would be fun to be a victim for once, the only thing you're a victim of is McChicken.
You know what's an even bigger and shinier accessory than an engagement ring? Handcuffs. A bride-to-be pretended to have cancer so a charity would pay for her wedding, and now she might be facing a jail more constricting than marriage. Carla Louise Evans, from a vowel-rich city in Wales called Trecenydd, forged a urologist's signature to convince the che charity that she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and liver failure. Wish For A Wedding is a non-profit that arranges wedding ceremonies for people with terminal illness (they must provide their own partner, however). Police say that Evans tried to swindle them for more than £15,000 which is about $18,723. Under the charity's rules, she would only have to pay £500 which is about $624.11, which is likely cheaper than bail. As the charity began planning the wedding, they contacted Royal Gwent Hospital, where Evans claimed to be getting treatment. When the hospital said that they had no patient named Carla Louise Evans, the charity called the police. Evans pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and is facing a prison sentence of between 26 weeks and three years, the She is free on bond, and sentencing will take place on August 6th. I hear that the conjugal visit trailer is a great place to honeymoon.
The story has a happy ending, but it's terrifying nonetheless. Maribeth Leeson's five-year-old son Adam drowned in a busy pool, surrounded by adults. He was saved with CPR and hospitalized soon after, and Leeson told her story in a viral post hoping that all parents will learn "the signs of struggle." "He looked like he was PLAYING," Leeson wrote in a Facebook post that now has over 240,000 shares. "When I found him myself, 2 feet from adults who were in the pool, my first thought was that it wasn’t him, that it was someone else’s kid who was seeing how long they could hold their breath." "His limp, gray, lifeless body was pulled from the pool and it was every mother's worst nightmare. He was dead," Leeson wrote. "I heard screaming, and after a minute realized the screaming was coming from me. I watched in slow motion as people rushed to him, as he was laid on the concrete, as CPR was started. After what felt like an eternity, Adam opened his eyes. He had a pulse." Adam spent three days at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana. "Physically, it is beyond comprehension that he is suffering no consequences," Leeson wrote... and Adam is already eager to get back in the pool. Emotionally, "he clearly has some anxiety that he didn't have before," shouting 'Mommy!' every time she is out of sight. " I pray that some counseling and lots of reassurance will fix that," she wrote. Leeson was candid in her post about how she blamed herself for what happened. "This was 100% preventable. The fault was MINE. He's a big 5-year-old. He has a very needy twin who makes it easy for me to forget that Adam is still 5 too and has needs that other 5-year-olds need. He's not self-sufficient even though sometimes I feel like he is because he's so capable. I didn't tell him to get in the pool without his Puddle-jumper on, but I was aware that he had. I simply told him to stay in the shallow end while I got his sister's swimsuit on, then I would be over. I thought it was fine for 5 minutes, as he could touch just fine in the shallow end, he wasn't alone because there were multiple adults IN the pool, and I'd be right next to the pool getting her suit on. Wrong. I have never ever been so wrong. He remembers what happened. He said he slipped off the edge. Based on where he was in the shallow end, and where we found him, he means the ledge from the shallow to the deep end. He said he kept going to the bottom then to the top and tried to yell 'Mommy!' It kills me to hear that. It kills me to know that his last thoughts were that mommy didn't come for him. But God decided to give me another chance to do better. He gave my baby back to me. Now he knows I DID come for him." She included practical advice to parents to make sure that a near-tragedy like this doesn't happen again. "Before going to any pool, first make sure your kids know not to get in until the adult who is responsible for them is ready to watch them. That sounds like common sense, but I was thinking because so many adults were present, he was fine, but those adults didn’t know his swimming ability so they didn’t question when he was under water," Leeson explained. She also explained to parents that it's crucial to know the signs of drowning. In Adam's case, "he wasn't splashing, thrashing, or screaming. He was simply underwater and couldn't get his head above water." After three days in the ICU, Adam is home, happy, and full of life. "Please don't forget Adam and his story!" Leeson wrote. "Remember every time you go to a pool. Watch your own kids, and also signs of drowning from others as well. Learn CPR. If Adam can save some lives by teaching others my mistakes, all he's been through will be worth it!"
If I had a TARDIS I would go back in time and try to meet Burt Reynolds, but knowing my luck he'd be on a date with Loni Anderson and wouldn't want to hang with me.
I think Ivanka Trump does have a TARDIS...
What the hell? Haha. A few weeks ago Trump was in England, and my fellow Brits sure had some clever anti-Trump signs...
Hahahahaha. Did you know Donald Trump is an accordion player? No? Here's proof...
Don Jr. has a new book coming out titled Triggered: How The Left Thrives On Hate And Wants To Silence Us. Well, that wasn't the original title...
That's a better fitting name. You guys know who Santana is, right? He is not only a really good guitar player but he also plays a really mean slug. Check this out...
That's sooo stupid. That's as stupid as...
They tell me that at Walmart I would see some strange sights. I didn't believe it until I saw this...
You ever see those people on the side of the road with the cardboard signs? Some I have to say are pretty creative...
Creative or rude... I'd say rude.
If you spot the Mindphuck, and I'm sure you will let me know. Okay, it's Shark week on the Discovery Channel. Well, I have to be a friend with a shark who once a year likes to come onto the Phile. So, please welcome once again...
Me: Hello, Feargal, welcome back to the Phile. How are you?
Feargal: I'm feeling jaw-some. Ha! Get it!
Me: Ha! Why are you feeling "jaw-some?"
Feargal: I had electro shark therapy.
Me: That's great. So, usually who have some jokes for us. Do you today?
Feargal: Of course. Why did the street sharks get arrested?
Me: Ummm... I have no idea. Why?
Feargal: Dorsal profiling.
Me: Hmmmm... I barely get that.
Feargal: It's okay. a lot of people don't like my stand-up anyway.
Me: Really? Why not?
Feargal: They say "it bites!"
Me: Awe. Feargal, I'll let you tell us one more before you go away back to the ocean...
Feargal: Okay. Why don't sharks have tools?
Me: I don't know. Why?
Feargal: They don't have opposable thumbs. Get it?
Me: Yeah. It's kinda funny.
Feargal: See what I mean? Okay, I'm going to go back into the ocean. See you next year, Jason.
Me: Bye, Feargal. Feargal the Shark, kids.
As a writer, I believe in freedom of speech and love dark comedy and have been known to get looks at the occasional party for making an off-color joke. But even I know that making a 9/11 joke in front of an audience comprised of 9/11 first responders and their families is crossing every imaginable line, and especially when you are the President of the United States. But if there's one thing our president is good at, and there is literally only one thing: it is crossing lines. Yesterday, while signing a bill to authorize the extension of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, Trump was joined by more than 200 people whose lives were impacted by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, including more than 60 first responders and their families. He took this opportunity to make a joke that the stage might collapse under everyone, adding that if it does, at least they "are not falling very far." People are calling the comments insanely tasteless, even for him. Some think the unhinged comments could be a reaction to growing threats of impeachment. While others just think it's more of the same behavior from someone who has consistently displayed a stunning lack of empathy. As if things could get worse, Trump claimed, in front of an audience of first responders, to have spent "a lot of time" at Ground Zero himself. This isn't the first time Trump has lied or exaggerated about his behavior during and after 9/11, and he once fist-pumped on his way to a 9/11 memorial. He also bragged about his building being the tallest in NYC after the towers fell.
The 102nd book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...
Mike D and Ad-Rock will be on the Phile next Monday and I can't wait. I'm a big Beastie Boys fan. I'm sooo excited. So, there's this local guy who I somehow don't think is a fan of the Beastie's. He claims he's the fanciest man in town and wanted to stop by. So, here once again is...
Me: Hello, Samual, welcome to the Phile. How are you?
Samual: Splendid, my friend, just splendid.
Me: So, what are you up to?
Samual: I went to Disney World yesterday for the first time.
Me: You did? The first time? Wow. Why did you go there all of a sudden?
Samual: I thought as soon as I go inside, this place must be a MAJOR tourist trap!
Samual: Well, before that all the cool places I wanted to stop at on trips were flippantly referred to as such.
Me: Ha! So, did you like it?
Samual: I liked the teacup ride. But it was way too hot in my hat and tuxedo.
Me: You didn't have to wear that outfit...
Samual: Oh, but I do... it's fancy. Well, Mr. Peverett, I'm hungry so going off to dinner.
Me: Where are you going to dinner?
Samual: The Outback Steakhouse. See you soon.
Me: Samual Phancy, the fanciest man in town, kids.
In the world of flies, a young fly needed a heart transplant. After being taken to surgery, the fly anesthesiologist put the young fly to sleep. The fly doctor assistant cut open the young fly’s chest. He then announced to the fly heart doctor, "Your fly is open." The heart doctor blushed.
Today's guest is a Scottish singer and songwriter best known as a founding member of the band Del Amitri. His latest solo album "This Is My Kingdom Nail" is available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Please welcome to the Phile one of my favorite singers... Justin Currie.
Me: Hey, Justin, welcome to the Phile. How are you?
Justin: I'm good, Jason.
Me: I have to tell you Del Amitri favorite bands from the 90s. I saw you guys in concert once in Orlando and you guys were so great. You are such a great songwriter. Do you write on piano or guitar, Justin?
Justin: It used to always be the guitar, I would write in one of two tunings. I would always have a guitar set up. In the last 15 years I've been writing on the piano, nearly exclusively. I don't really know what the notes are. Rather depressingly when I transcribe the piano stuff I write to guitar it's the same chords on the guitar.
Me: Do you ever write on the bass at all?
Justin: No. I think I wrote one song on the bass when I was really young, which turned out quite well. It's funny, people do ask that, it's very unusual writing songs on a bass but I guess people do it. I supposed if I was working on a little project it'll be fine but bass is not the nicest thing to sit and play. I don't think I'll find any pleasure playing the bass and singing along. When I play bass half the time I can't hear what the notes are.
Me: Are you always writing ideas down for songs?
Justin: Yeah, most writers got a book full of titles or first line for chorus and things, but if I'm going for a writing jive I'll try to use those things and tend to wander off and write something completely new. Very very occasionally I'll write a verse and a chorus and go work out the melody. Often when I write the lyrics on their own the melody is kind of built in somewhere without me really realising it. Whatever I sing at the end of the day it doesn't matter what I'm singing about it doesn't really matter how I approach it I guess.
Me: Does song writing come easy for you?
Justin: In my mind there's two different styles of melody writing. There's the Paul McCartney approach and there's the John Lennon approach where there's only four notes. You can still write a great tune with four notes I think. I don't really think about melody and I am not good at sewing into a song and I get a wee bit obsessed the where the lyrics are, making the lyrics sound natural. If I do start imposing a real interesting melody on things I get really pissed off because it starts to force the lyrics out of controversial freedom into something a bit more like musical theatre or something. I suppose the real genius like McCartney is they could make very elegant melodies which is something I've never been able to do.
Me: The melody on "This Is My Kingdom Now," the title track of your latest album is great. When you came up with that did you know it was really good straight away?
Justin: No, but if I listen back to something later I think that's quite a good tune. Not at the time, at the time every now and then I know I've wrote a very good song. I'll write it and I'll know it definitely end up on the record if I'm really pleased with it. I wouldn't necessarily know right away if the tune was good. Most of the things I write don't really have tunes, they just draw on. That's fine, I don't particularly feel bothered about that. I played that song for the guy who produced my record and he obviously didn't like it at all. I only played it to him because it does have a good tune, but I didn't know that at the time. I don't spot that kinda thing when I'm writing.
Me: So, do you record your ideas as you write the album?
Justin: Yes, I use a Sony TCM-450DV, they still make these. Here's what it looks like...
Justin: They're incredibly handy because I could just pause or I could just bang on the record button, I can just chop things together as I go. It's much quicker than any digital device I know. I put stuff in the phone but to be honest I never listen to that stuff. This is my second last one so if they ever stop making them I'll be really up shit creek.
Me: I think the Sparks still use cassettes if I remember correctly from when I interviewed them a few years ago. So, who is one of your musical influences, apart from the Beatles?
Justin: Gilbert O'Sullivan, he's one of my heroes. I grew up listening to the first two albums in the 70s. Don't ask me why but my mum went to... we used to live in Leicester, and she went to a WH Smith or something that had a big record department. I do not know why but she bought two Gilbert O'Sullivan records which everybody hated except me. I listened to them on a daily basis. So everything I've done I owe to Gilbert O'Sullivan.
Me: My mum loved Gilbert O'Sullivan. I have to try and get him on the Phile. When you write do you take awhile to write a song or does it come quick?
Justin: Well, the things I write in notebooks could take years and years and years. I've got a book that isn't quite finished that I've had for about 25 years. It isn't quite fall and it's really just titles and some of them will get used at some point. What I do sometimes is I rent a wee cottage and I go away and try and write two or three things a day. That's quite handy to have a notebook there with a list of things. Then other things seem to percolate I guess, they're just swimming around in my head for months and years then suddenly they come up to the surface and I think where did that come from... that's weird. They've been turning around in my subconscious. The big thing anybody who is doing something who is trying to make stuff up is if you could turn off as much of your conscious mind as possible then that's where you're gonna get a decent result. I do have to play a lot of stupid games with myself so recent I've been writing songs stupidly early in the morning because my brain's not screwed on. So I've been writing songs like half six in the morning or something. Anything to catch my conscious brain to falling asleep.
Me: What do you think of songwriters like in Nashville or anywhere who write every day from 9 to 5?
Justin: I suppose I'm jealous and it pisses me off. People like Nick Cave who writes brilliant songs and uses that approach and there's people like Elvis Costello... why are you writing all these fucking songs? Just write half the fucking songs you write.
Me: What was it like writing back when you were in Del Amitri?
Justin: Back in the A&M days as soon as we had time off everybody was waiting for me to write songs so I had a bit of pressure to come up with stuff that the band could get their teeth into and get to the record company. I spent four years at one point writing a lot of stuff just for the sake of it. I'll never do that again because I've got reams of songs that just aren't very good. They're just okay songs, they got the right bits, they got a torso and arms and legs and head but they're all in the wrong order. They walk the wrong way so that's not for me now and why I can't writer for commission and people say can you write this and I I say no, because it just doesn't feel natural. I'm not very good at that, I'd rather just write naturally.
Me: Your singing voice is one of my favorites, Justin. When did you realize you could sing?
Justin: Well, I've always had a falsetto, it's changing a bit now I'm an old man, but it's a wee bit still there. I used to have a really really extensive falsetto a lot higher than most women that I know. Dale Griffin, the drummer from Mott the Hoople who died a few years ago produced a lot of the BBC John Peel sessions and he was very good at his job, he was kind of a fractious and patient producer, and he had to deal with idiots like us who came in at age 15 not knowing what the hell we were doing. It was our first time in a lavish 24-track studio, and we done all the backing tracks and he went for a tea break and as he went for a tea break we started laying down all these backing vocals. I ended up doing 10 tracks of falsetto harmonies and it was a complete mess, when he came back he was like "what the fucks going on?!" Also again that's such a Beatles thing, the Beatles used their falsetto, especially McCartney and Lennon, the falsetto really effectively. It's just a handy thing for a man to have that other voice, I could go to and jump into.
Me: When did you first start to write songs?
Justin: Well, before Del Amitri formed I wrote a bunch of punk things, really basic punk songs on two strings nylon strung guitar. I wouldn't even say they were songs, they were stuff. Then when I put a band together at school I wanted us to be like Joy Division or the Fall, all the bands I was listening to, all bands who wrote collectively who didn't have a principal song writer. I would write the lyrics but all of us would write the music so I out the whole ides of writing myself on the back burner. Then Iain Harvie from Del Amitri, after we made the first album, which took us years to write because the writing process was so arduous. The early erring process for Del Amitri involved four people in a room, staring each other eyeball to eyeball, you play something, no, you play something... then what I would do is I would gather little bits, little cycles of riffs and stitch them to other cycles of riffs that we put together a few weeks before. It took months to write a song and eventually I would take it home, throw lyrics over the top and edit. It was hellish. We ended up with all these songs which didn't have chord sequences and were quite odd, all for the better of it. It got to the point where it wasn't substantial because it got took us so long to write an album. It took us four years to write an album, and that's with rehearsing, and we'd spend five days a week with just writing. Then I started writing things on my own and Iain said, "Just do that, because it's going to save us a lot of time. I'll write stuff on the guitar and you should adapt that but you should keep writing stuff." So with that encouragement I ended up being the principal songwriter of the band, which I didn't have the desire to be, but I could do it and it saved everybody a lot of time. That's where that came from. I didn't start doing that until I was 19, something like that. Obviously we had written load of songs before that but I didn't think myself as a songwriter until I was 19 I guess.
Me: Did any of your early songs make it to the first Del Amitri album?
Justin: No, they didn't at all. It's funny you should ask that. When Iain joined the band I gave him a whole bunch of demos that I recorded at home, that were pretty much bad. We couldn't arrange them for a band, they were rubbish. I kind thought they were ideas, they weren't really ideas, they were just lyrics with very vague guitar notes underneath them. We just threw those out and started from what we did in the rehearsal room. What is great about that I got people involved with the writing process that never normally be writers. Anybody could play an instrument, just play something, and with a bit of manipulation and encouragement you could get anybody to write a song, or certainly the instrumental parts for a song. I always found that really satisfying, getting that out of people. Over the years as various different guitar players came in the band, the first thing we asked was do they write. If they said yes, that was very encouraging. We always wanted as many people in the band as possible to write. The more ideas the better basically.
Me: How was it writing with Iain Harvie?
Justin: He and I would just come up with a riff, then we would jam out and I would take away and add other bits to deviling chord sequences. Quite a lot of the time, especially in the 90s, he would write what I would call complete songs. He specifically took on melody and lyrics, which would suggest what the melody would be. They were quite structured and I could tell what the chorus was and all that stuff. Even though he doesn't write melodies and top line lyrics and such, I consider him a songwriter, a lot of the time what he gives me is just easy, it's obvious what the song is going to be. Sometimes the music suggests what the song is going to be about as well. I think that's why Johnny Marr is a great songwriter, and maybe some other great guitar players in famous bands aren't songwriters, because I could tell the stuff he gave to Morrissey is complete. There's two or three different parts, a story that is being told. That's a song basically. The easy bit is writing lyrics.
Me: I loved how the Del Amitri songs were so damn catchy, like "Kiss This Thing Good-Bye," and "Move Away Jimmy Blue." You must be proud of those songs, am I right?
Justin: Yeah. They're both co-writes, both of those songs started with a riff that Iain had worked out on the bottleneck. I always preferred the songs that we wrote together. They just took me as a singer and lyricist to different places, I always thought they were much more interesting. But the second Del Amitri on A&M, and the third album technically changed everything. We wrote it quite quickly, and that's dominated by songs that I wrote on my own. That kind of the moved the audience into the an A&M expecting singer songwriter which is not what we were about, we were about being a band at first, hopefully with some decent lyrics at the top. So that put a wee bit of pressure to have a kind of acoustically singer songwriter side that I always felt was slightly frustrating. That's not what we wanted to be. We started as an arty indie band, and we moved into this mainstream American rock area and that was quite odd having this singer songwriter side to what we did. In interviews at the time we would always deny that we were into songwriting, we were not about songwriting, we were about being a band and all that sort of stuff. Which is a blatant lie really, but we just always thought those cunts in bands were really pretentious about the art of the song and all that. Fuck off. I say that now, but I'm now an old man and do consider myself as a songwriter but back in those days that wasn't how we wanted to be perceived. We wanted to be perceived as rock guys who wanted to do a show that people could enjoy.
Me: I love the song "Always the Last to Know." That could be my theme song. Haha. What's the story behind that song?
Justin: Well, that wasn't a song I thought was particularly exciting. I knew I had a chorus, and I'm not very good at writing choruses so I new that was a plus. It was written at the time we were really obsessed with the Faces, all the Faces records, and everything we did we tried to sound like the Faces. When we demoed that it was sort of like a Faces rip-off and what happened was Gil Norton, the producer, I think he felt under pressure to have something on the record to sound like a radio hit, he completely rearranged it. Two or three years later I was listening to it on the radio and I realised he completely ripped off John Waite's "Missing You." That was a big FM radio hit in the 80s, and he gone and wholesaled that whole basic drums, bass and guitar arrangement. It worked, because it was a hit, but it didn't sound anything like the song was written. That's a funny song that, it'd a very personal song, and it became pop hit which is kind of weird.
Me: Did you like having radio hits, Justin?
Justin: Yeah, it saved our bacon having radio hits, because that's all we had. We didn't have a huge amount of records.
Me: Okay, I HAVE to ask about "Roll to Me." I love that song but it's so bloody short. How did you write that one and why is it so short?
Justin: Oh, God, the melody and the chords all came together. I was desperately trying to write something throwaway and very Beatleesque. Weirdly is ended up sounding like early Del Amitri, lyrics all in a very small space. All when I wrote it I didn't realise how fast it was, it was the fastest thing we ever recorded. That's probably why it's so short. It has all the bits in it but it's sufficiently under 3 minutes. We were writing this kind of rock record which ended up being called "Twisted." We were listening to a lot of guitar rock records. I really liked that last Nirvana record. We were listening to a lot of sludgy guitar rock and I just felt we needed something a bit throwaway. When we recorded it I dumped that real melodic 12 string guitar on it it sounded really anomalous. I said to Iain this should not be on the record and he said we were gonna need it otherwise the record was gonna be a bit tramp. We put it on the record and it bought us both a house.
Me: When I saw you guys in concert, and I can't remember what tour it was, you did a great version of "Maggie May." You must love that song, right?
Justin: The great thing about "Maggie May" is I don't know how that song was written. It doesn't really have a structure, it just has a big wedges of verse. It just goes round and round and round and yet it's absolutely infectious. Those guys won't know they were writing a big hit when they wrote that, or they were writing something that people would identify with. It's just a bunch of lyrics thrown over a nice little chord sequence.
Me: What do you think is one of the greatest songs ever written?
Justin: "Happiness is a Warm Gun," nothing ever repeats, it's just a bunch of different choruses all stitched together.
Me: Would you ever sit and write a song with someone else?
Justin: Quite unwillingly I was thrown into a room with someone from a boy band years ago who would remain nameless. That was awful. Years ago I was offered things, normally very poppy things and they'd want a songwriter to come in and help. I'd listen to the demoes and go there's nothing wrong with the demoes. they can write songs, just leave them be. They don't need me to come in and make a fast buck out of it. The idea sitting in the room trying to drag ideas out of them just doesn't appeal to me. Most of the things I write get released so they're all on a shelf somewhere so if someone wants to go in and sing one of my songs is fine.
Me: Okay, I love your solo stuff, but why did Del Amitri come to an end?
Justin: We were never flavor of the month, we were always uncool. By one point we were really uncool. We tried to make this power pop record called "Some Other Sucker's Parade" which didn't really work, but has some good things on it, it was a bit underwritten. We were desperately trying to evade the audiences expectations and just weird to make us a bit more interested. The more we did that the more we lost our commercial bread and butter so we ended up in a big of a loft, ever dimishining. That's why we came to a halt. It became painfully obvious no matter what direction we went in it was not going to succeed. At the end of the day if we had hits in a certain style, that is what everybody wants, that's what the media wants, that's what the audience wants. Which is great when I enjoyed doing that but when I get bored of doing that I said good-bye to any sort of success, which is fine.
Me: Okay, so, with your last album "This is My Kingdom Now," there's a lot of songs abbot the sea. Why is that?
Justin: I think it's because they're all metaphors for being drunk.
Me: Haha. Justin, thanks for being on the Phile. Please come back soon. All the best.
Justin: Cheers, Jason. My pleasure.
That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Justin for a fun interview. I love his music. The Phile will be back on Monday with Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz. Spread the word, and not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.
I don't want you, cook my bread, I don't want you, make my bed, I don't want your money too, I just want to make love to you. - Willie Dixon