Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Pheaturing Danny Elfman

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Tuesday, How are you? Remember when John Travolta called Idina Menzel "Adele Dazeem" and for a brief moment the entire world stood still? Well, everyone's favorite former Danny Zuko is at it again. First thing's first: why the eff was John Travolta at the VMAs? Well, the answer is simple: the VMAs were held in Newark, New Jersey, and Travolta is one of Jersey's blessed children. Queen Latifah, his co-presenter, also hails from the great Garden State. They were presenting the award for Video of the Year, and the winner was Taylor Swift of Pennsylvania, a place where the VMAs will never be. Swift toted a large entourage to the stage with her, many of whom appeared in the video that won, "You Need to Calm Down." One of those performers was Jade Jolie, a drag queen who dressed as Swift in a memorable sequence of the vid where drag queens dressed as the culture's current reigning pop queens appear onstage together. Zero of those pop queens... literally ZERO... appeared in the flesh at the VMAs aside from Taylor Swift...  but again, I digress. Jolie apparently got to the stage before Swift... and Travolta appeared to accidentally hand the video over to her by accident. Jolie was very gracious about it. She could've laughed in his face but instead she just... chuckled politely in his face. The moment unsurprisingly went viral, and people couldn't help but laugh. Adding to the insanity of it all, Travolta had made a joke about his Adele Dazeem snafu just seconds earlier. He also used the phrase "all that and a bag of chips." Google that clip at your peril. One child referred to John Travolta as "the presenter," apparently not familiar with the actor famous for Grease and Pulp Fiction and also less famous for Michael, a movie I love. Clearly this person is too young to be watching MTV, where are their parents? Is there any awards show that's Travolta-proof? Probably not. But one thing's for sure: Jade Jolie is obviously an incredible Taylor impersonator and deserves a raise.
Melania Trump emerged from her tanning bad to attend the G7 summit in France with her husband and the leaders of the world's six other biggest economies. Among the dignitaries is Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the First Lady couldn't help but swoon, according to a snapshot. While the moment might look different in context, the Internet's meme makers had fun with the perfectly timed photo.

Even if your "job" isn't to pretend that you share a bed with Donald Trump while being dispatched to promote his racist agenda, you'd be certainly to be star-struck over Prime Minister Trudeau, who is an objectively handsome lad. The picture went viral, as people began tweeting #MelaniaLovesTrudeau in hopes of pissing Trump off. There's no doubt that the president, who spends his life on Twitter despite having at least 7000 better things to do, has seen the memes, and if he ever actually spent time with his wife, would give her a stern talking-to about humiliating like this. And she'll be dreaming of Justin the whole time. I imagine her saying, "Thees ees my husband, to whomst I am very attracted."
Lara Spencer hopes you have a good morning and that you accept her apology. The morning show host apologized for mocking the future King of England's love of ballet and sounding like one of the mean miners in Billy Elliot. On Thursday's "pop news" segment, Spencer discussed the curriculum at six-year-old George's posh school, which includes dance. "He looks so happy about the ballet class," she said as photos of the kid flashed on screen. "Prince William says George absolutely loves ballet. I have news for you Prince William: We’ll see how long that lasts." Dancers were insulted that Spencer would imply that a boy is bound to hate dancing, as if there's something wrong and unmasculine about it. Famous dancers, including Derek Hough, were insulted by Spencer's tone and called her out for sounding like their childhood bullies. "The tone and mockery towards dance is just dated, old and not relevant anymore. Those who mock don’t understand," Hough wrote. "I’m proud to be a dancer and I strongly encourage any, who would like to try. So if there are any young kids out there who have a passion to pursue dance, don’t be discouraged by those who might laugh or make fun, tease or taunt." Dancers and the people who loved them launched the #BoysDanceToo hashtag and tweeted at Spencer stories and videos of dancers who are men. Even Gene Kelly's widow was super pissed, writing an open letter to Spencer and calling the segment "disgraceful." The backlash was so powerful that "Good Morning America" dedicated yesterday's show to Spencer's apology and righting the wrong, as the dance-skeptic sat down with three prominent ballet dancers and watched them lead a class in Times Square. To quote Tobias Fünke, why don't you start "jetée-ing" and stop "je-terrorizing" dancers?
Since jumping into the race, former vice president Joe Biden was leading in the polls, primarily because people supported him because he was supported by the polls. The latest poll, however, shows Biden behind both big bank breaker-uppers Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, with the two progressive candidates tied at 20%. With Bernie and Warren at 20% compared to Biden's 19%, it is hardly an insurmountable lead, but the fact that Biden took a double-digit dive seems significant. It's probably too early to tell whether or not Biden should be worried, but as Bernie Sanders knows, it's all about the one percent.
A penis is worth a thousand words. While the Amazon is burning, let us take a moment to laugh at how funny it is that a silhouette supposed to commemorate an emotional proposal turned accidentally lewd and crude.

You deserve it (unless you are Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, whose privatization of the rainforest puts the entire planet at risk).
If I had a TARDIS I would like to go to the set of the 1989 Batman movie. Knowing my luck I'll end up just being the miniaturized Gotham City set.

Did you see the new poster that was revealed for the next Star Wars movie? I thought there was something strange about it...

I hope that's real. Hahaha. Speaking of movies, with Spider-Man in movie limbo word on the street is he said fuck Sony and joined the Power Rangers. I didn't believe it until I saw this...

You know about this Popeye's chicken sandwich versus Chick-fil-A's chicken sandwich debate, right?  Well, I thought McDonald's new ad was kinda odd.

Ha. I do like McDoanld's chicken sandwich but I like Chick-fil-A's even more. Nothing beats Arthur Treachers' though, it's a pity there's none of those left. I have to see if there is one around here. I was at a bookstore recently and saw a kids book that had a pretty odd title...

That's not a drawing of me. Haha. Okay, so, you know I live in Florida, right? Well, something happened in Florida that couldn't have happened anywhere else in the universe. So, once again here is...

We all know Pete Davidson has had a rough year, but now we really need to know if he's okay... At a show at University of Central Florida, Pete turned on the audience when some of the students, after specific instructions not to, were using their phones. Now, recording a comedian is undoubtedly disrespectful, especially when they're working on new material or telling jokes that aren't for anyone other than that particular audience to see. College students now don't remember a world without the Internet and most of them received phones before they were 13-years-old. Telling them to put their phones away for an hour to listen to comedy is apparently a real struggle, but Pete wasn't having it last night. Granted, it was a pretty unhinged rant. However, Pete has every right to defend the integrity of his performance by demanding students put away their phones. Was this the right way to go about it? Probably not. Is he going to get canceled for calling them retarded? We'll see. A bunch of college kids who left their dorms to see Pete Davidson probably aren't going to empathize with the fact that he's exhausted and had to fly to "the middle of nowhere." This rant sounds more like something a comedian who is about to retire would deliver, yet Pete is only three years older than this audience. Perhaps, this is why it bothered him so much, though, considering he said, "don't you want adults to respect us?" Pete is clearly disappointed in his peers. I know that story isn't really about Florida, but I still wanted to tell you guys about it. Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Things Heard At Pete Davidson's UCF Show Last Night
5. While Ariana was at the VMAs living her best life, Pete Davidson was at UCF yelling at college students.
4. So what the hell was that Pete Davidson set cause I just came out to have a good time and ended up getting scolded by a man who said he would fuck his friend's kid.
3. I can't believe UCF dropped some of our tuition money just so Pete Davidson can flame us and then tell us masturbation jokes.
2. My favorite part about Pete Davidson at UCF is when he told us we were lame and that he could just text up all his comedian friends and they would never come to our school as if he was Thanos or something.
And the number one thing heard at Davidson's UCF show last night was...
1. I’ve never understood Pete Davidson and came to his show to figure it out. I listened to Pete ramble for 50 minutes to silence and still didn’t get it. Then someone asked him during his Q&A compensation who his favorite comedian was: “Adam Sandler.” And it all makes sense now.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Getting proposed in front of a room of people can be deeply romantic, if it's something your partner knows you're on board for. But sharing that very intense moment in front of an audience isn't everyone's cup of tea, particularly at another family's wedding reception. While there's no hard and fast rule about what constitutes an appropriate proposal setting, it's fairly common sense that you don't propose at someone else's wedding because it's a major spotlight steal. In a recent "Dear Jason" email, a woman shared how she shut down her BF's proposal at her dad's wedding reception.

"Dear Jason, am I wrong for intentionally ruining my BF's proposal?" She shared that her BF had been hinting at a surprise all throughout the reception and she noticed him clutching something in his trouser pocket that could easily have been a ring box. "BF and I were at my father's wedding reception, and my entire family and dad's friends were there. BF been dropping hints all day about a surprise he had planned and he kept putting his hand in his trouser pocket, but when his hand was out of his pocket I saw something that could have very easily been a ring box." When she saw her BF finish a drink and stand up ceremoniously, she quickly pulled him into another room. She then told him that it wasn't the time or place to propose. "Then at one point he took a deep breath, finished his drink, and started to stand up. I stood up with him, grabbed him by the elbow and dragged him into another room and said 'if you're about to do what I think you're about to do, then don't tell me, just don't do it here and now.' He said it was meant to be a surprise and I said this wasn't the place to surprise me." Her boyfriend then revealed that the ring was her paternal grandmother's and that her dad and stepmom had already approved the engagement plan. "He then showed me the ring and it's my (paternal) grandmother's engagement ring, which he couldn't have had without my dad giving it to him. He then told me that dad and my stepmum had already approved his plan of proposing tonight, but I'd sort of put him off proposing tonight as it was no longer a surprise and I'd explicitly told him not to literally seconds ago. I had no idea they'd approved it or I would have just let him get on with it, and I'd have said yes." Now, with the knowledge that the reception proposal was family approved, she feels like she messed up the special moment. "I feel like I fucked up here. Did I?" NAH. People who propose or announce pregnancies or engagements at somebody's else's wedding occupy a special level of suck. So no, you definitely did not fuck up. And even if your dad and stepmum gave permission to your BF to do this, it still does not mean he should do it. He shouldn't have asked them in the first place as it's such a big ask, and they may have assented because they felt like they had no choice. Weddings are about the bride and groom, plain and simple." Hopefully her boyfriend does as well so he can get on with proposing in a less anxiety-inducing setting.

Look at her little girl’s face. She knows what she did. Okay, so you know by now this whole Spider-Man movie mess, right? Well, a friend of the Phile has something to say about it.

LETS TALK ABOUT IT!: Disney you should of known better! Let me get this all right. You're telling me, that you went out of your way to make this deal happen and made all these plans for Spider-Man KNOWING you was only leasing him out from Sony? Then have the nerve to ask for more (which is in your right 'cause you made the most from the name by far) and playing hard ball with the damn license and story? Why would you give fans all this hope and happiness to only scrap it because y'all want MORE from something that isn't FULLY yours yet? This just makes questions after questions but I know this one fact! There is NO and I mean NOOOOOO other character to carry the torch now that Spidey is gone for the moment. NOT ONE! Well... Deadpool but that is because I'm BIAS! Disney fix this mess you done made and stop being stupid. Sony you need to open up too! Nobody is out here trying to see a Venom franchise, and even if Into the Spider-Verse was dope... it doesn't trump the bigger picture here. So open your eyes and see that you can seriously make some BAAAAAANKKKK!

David Koch 
May 3rd, 1940 — August 23rd, 2019
Businessman. Libertarian. Philanthropist. Engineer. Dick.

The 104th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Tippi will be the guest on the Phile in a few weeks. Okay, so there's this local teacher who likes to come on and tell us how his school year is going. It's only the third week and already he has had some odd stories. So, please welcome back to the Phile...

Me: Hello, Mr. Cylane, how are you?

Mr. Cylance: I'm good. I'm happy I didn't get fired like a co-worker did today.

Me: What happened? Was it bad?

Mr. Cylance: Weeellll... some kids found the typing/programming teacher on Grindr and catfishes him. Do you know what catfish means, Jason?

Me: Yeah. I've seen the TV show. So, why did he get fired?

Mr. Cylance: Well, he sent multiple penis pics that he took on-campus to the kids. Police had to get involved.

Me: Oh. Lord. Glad that wasn't you, Mr. Cylance.

Mr. Cylance: I'm not on Grindr... I'm on Plenty of Fish.

Me: That's good.

Mr. Cylance: Well, I have to go and get ready for tomorrow's class. Talk to you soon.

Me: Take care. Mr. Cylance, the happiest teacher around, kids.

Phact 1. Mars’ smallest moon, Deimos, has an escape velocity of 5.2M/S, meaning that if you were take a running jump while on it, you will launch off like a slow rocket.

Phact 2. One of Chile’s founding fathers who helped liberate Chile from Spain is a half-Irishman named Bernardo O’Higgins.

Phact 3. Scientists have recently found an ancient mega lake under the Sahara Desert

Phile 4. Michelangelo began dissecting cadavers at age 17 and Johns Hopkins researchers now believe he painted God with an anatomically correct brain stem on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

Phact 5. Area 51 wasn’t confirmed to actually exist by the U.S. Government until 2013.

Today's pheatured guest is an American composer, singer, songwriter, and record producer. His latest album "Violin Concerto 'Eleven Eleven' & Piano Quartet" is available on Amazon, iTunes and Spotify. Please welcome to the Phile... Danny Elfman!

Me: Hello, Danny, welcome to the Phile. I'm a big fan. How are you?

Danny: Hello, Jason, great to be here.

Me: You wrote some of the best music for TV and film, sir. Is one of your scores your ringtone? Haha.

Danny: No, it's The Day That the Earth Stood Still by Bernard Herrmann.

Me: Ha! Why is that your ringtone?

Danny: Because it's the first piece of music ever got me into film music.

Me: When did you first hear that?

Danny: I was around twelve when I saw the movie and it's the first time I ever became aware of a score. It started my long interest in film music. It was Bernard Herrmann and at that young age my favorite movies in that period of time were Ray Harryhausen adventures other than The Day the Earth Stood Still. Like Jason and the Argonauts, The Seven Voyages of Sinbad, The Mysterious Island. These were the really fun fantasy films of my youth. And if I saw Hermann and Harryhausen on the bill, meaning the claymation animator, and the composer Bernard Hermann it'll be my favorite movie of the year. I loved that combination. So I always have a special place in my heart for The Day the Earth Stood Still. Suppose with everybody I see movies and I think the music is just there and for the first time I thought somebody wrote this. This wasn't just there, the music stood out for me. I paid attention to who did it. I saw there was a person, there was a name who did this. And so it was a turning point for me.

Me: You have a new album out now called "Violin Concerto 'Eleven Eleven' & Piano Quartet" and it's your first violin concerto. After everything you have done why this?

Danny: It's funny because I had made a mental decision around two or three years ago that I am going to sacrifice some film work and do concert work every year. I needed to do that and I've done a dozen pieces of the previous decade but I just never found a way to make it regular thing because film work is just always there and it's hard to say no. The thing is I imagined my first work as in a way I see this as my first attempt to a new career if it is what it is. Even though I've done three non film works for this they weren't designed to be part of an orchestra's repertoire. I never imagined a villain concerto, I was imagining something for percussion or piano because those are the things I felt closer to. We were playing an Elfman-Burton concert three years ago I guess in Prague and in the bar afterwards I was approached by my agent for non film music and he said, "I had an interesting conversation with the orchestra director after the show, he'd like to know if you'll be interested in writing a violin concerto for Sandy Cameron. How would you like to write her a violin concerto?" And always just like everything with my life my mouth works faster than my brain so I said, "Yes, sure." I was thinking what does that mean and then I thought I'll figure that out later. It wasn't for a couple of months later when I really started to delve into violin concerto's that I thought oh my God, maybe this was a huge mistake.

Me: So, how did you start with it?

Danny: I really spent a couple of months, Sandy got me started on about 25 different violin concerto's.

Me: I have no idea what a violin concerto is, Danny. I know it's with violin's obviously... I'm not into classical music at all. Were you into classical music?

Danny: No. I knew that even though I loved Beethoven, Brahams and Mozart it's not where my heart is. My orchestral music heart got connected in the early 20th and that probably I really should call it the late 19th century because it starts with a linage in Russians but it's probably in the beginning with Tchaikovsky. And maybe Mussorgsky but really began with Stravinsky. And then quickly spread to Prokofiev and when I heard Prokofiev for the first time I was like it's weird, I felt this is music from my soul which is half Russian. And I really wondered if it's possible that music can be in the DNA. I mean this felt like MY music. So Stravinsky changed my whole attitude towards orchestral music because I didn't grow up on any classical music. My parents played Mozart and Beethoven but it just really never connected with me. As soon as I heard Stravinsky it just woke me up. I really had a great love for the 20th century. I was once driving back to my house in Los Angeles late at night and I was listening to a classical music channel that was playing a piece that I thought had to be film music because it was surging and starting and stopping which is what I love about 20th century music, which I never got out of pre-20th century music. That sense of anything can happen any time. That's what film music does, you're following visuals. and you have odd bars and odd timings that suddenly screech to a halt and slam in huge.

Me: Do you remember what the piece was?

Danny: Yeah, because I sat outside my house for ten minutes after it finished waiting to hear the back announcement. You know there's a number of pieces and you're sitting there waiting for the DJ to come on and say, "Alright, we started with..." I made a decision in my head, I thought it had to be incredible film music, it felt cinematic to me. And I said if it's one of my contemporaries retire right now because I can't do this and I never will. And if this is what's happening right now I'm leaving the field because it's like too good. I was very relieved when the back announcement started and it was the Shostakovich symphony. and it felt like visual music to me. So therefore I thought it was cinematic music on a grand scale. So I said, "Alright, well, at least I get to keep writing."

Me: That's good. So, who is your biggest influence classical wise?

Danny: I keep coming back to Shostakovich for inspiration when I was listening to the violin concerto's of course I found myself in the same place, I was narrowing it down. And then I ended up really with three or for concerto's that I listened obsessively. The two Prokofiev violin concerto's. Leonard Bernstein's "Serenade" and the one that was like the music from God for me, Shostakovich's first violin concerto. When I heard that it was almost paralyzing to me because once again it was this feeling of this terrible reckoning that this is what a violin concerto is. I can never be Shostakovich. No matter how much I'd like to. So I had to finally get over that but it did leave me with an imprinted frame work and I started some early ideas and I actually was sitting with a friend who is a violinist and he gave me this warning which I knew in my heart but he gave it to me again which is "don't lose your personality in this work." I think that was good advice in the sense that if I want to bring my audience into this music I can't be so alien that they can't find me in the music.

Me: Do you ever think back to when you were in Oingo Boingo and Tim Burton found you? That's how it happened, right?

Danny: The trajectory, yeah. I was seven years in musical cabaret theater and then I literally woke up one day in the 70s and in the 70s where everybody was listening to whatever they were listening to I wouldn't even listen to a piece of music written after 1938. So when I get into something I really get into something. So when I woke up one day and I heard this piece of ska from England, I don't remember if it was the Specials or Selector, one of the two early ska bands I just said I want to do that. I heard reggae and I liked it but with ska it pumped up the energy three times as much and that connected to me. Again it woke me up. Within a year I retired from musical cabaret and my first compositions and learning how to write and suddenly I was in a rock band... Oingo Boingo. I remember thinking that time my God, all that work I spent transcribing, teaching myself to write and transcribing the music of Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway and Django Reinhardt it's all wasted, I'll never do that again. Now in a rock band I don't have to write out anything, it's all wasted time. Now between '79 and '85 I'm like, okay, I'm in a rock band. Cool. It's just a new thing. Then in '85 Tim comes to me with Pee Wee's Big Adventure. And then I have to start writing again.

Me: Why did he come to you with Pee Wee's Big Adventure?

Danny: I never totally understood it. Tim used to come and see Oingo Boingo and he just told me, "I thought you could do a film score." Paul Reubens, who is better known as Pee Wee Herman he heard a piece I did with my brother for a cult movie called Forbidden Zone. He was like a fan of that music and he made a note that whoever did this he would use them someday. So my name came up between Pee Wee and Tim and they called me in for an interview. I of course assumed they were looking for a song and not a score and Tim said, "No, I'd like a score." I didn't take it seriously, I was like, "Yeah, sure, whatever." He showed me some of the movie and I went home and wrote a piece of music on my four track tape recorder and sent him a cassette. I didn't expect to hear from him again but a week later I got a call that said I was hired. And I was like oh crap, do I even remember how to write. I remember the few blank music paper sitting there thinking how did I use to do this seven years ago. Man, oh, man, but it was a great experience even though I swear to God I worked 18 hours a day because I would work out three elaborate demos to play for Tim and then I would sit down and write every note of that down. There was nobody who could do that for me. I wasn't sorry that I've done it for those years because I think it's a really good experience. So now I'm working on something completely new and it was totally unexpected.

Me: Was it hard to write the score?

Danny: I turned to my own film music heroes, I've been a fan, I could tell the difference when I heard a score, I bet this sounds like Goldsmith, this is Steiner, this is definitely Bernard Hermann, there's no doubt about that, this is Maurice Jarre... And so I knew film music, I was a fan but it was like a fan being pulled into a game. I once described it as somebody that was always at a team game, I thought of Jack Nicholson, always sitting at the Laker games. Whenever I watch a Laker game there's always a shot of Nicholson sitting right off the court watching the game. It'll be like Spike Lee or Nicholson or some of these down there on the court side. Suddenly somebody gets injured snd they toss one of them the ball and they say, "You're in." They go, "Well, I'm a fan but can I do this?" But being a fan actually provided me my framework to use. As soon as I saw that bicycle race in Pee Wee... I thought of Nina Roda, there was something about it that reminded me of an Italian comedy. I had enough of a knowledge base of stuff to turn to to use, I just had to learn how to put it all together to film which I found surprisingly easy for me. I found my timing music to film was not as difficult as I thought at all. It was actually surprisingly easy also. If I found the rhythm that the editor was editing to I got a sense of it, I could make things fall where I wanted to. So there was a learning curve, but it wasn't the learning curve I was imagining. Suddenly I was off and running in film.

Me: Do you think you were an outsider?

Danny: I was such an outsider, but I was used to that.

Me: Do you think Tim was an outsider as well?

Danny: That's where Tim and I connected when we first met. We were weird monster movie kids. We both grew up in Los Angeles, we both grew up on the same movies, the Hammer Horror films in the 60s, the Roger Corman horror films, the Harryhausen films, he was way into claymation stop motion animation Harryhausen the same way I loved it. We were both, I think, outsider kids. I never had an easy time as a kid connecting quite to human beings in a normal sense. It was always an effort, and so other than the fact his idol was Vincent Price and mine was Peter Lorre we kinda were coming from a similar place. His images to me never seemed weird, let me put it that way.

Me: Okay, so when you read the script for Beetlejuice you didn't think it was weird?

Danny: Nothing seemed weird to me, it was oh, fun. Delightful.

Me: How does Tim Burton describe the films to you? Is he like, "There's this guy named Edward, he's got scissors for hands, I want you to make a score for it. Snip snip." Hahaha.

Danny: Well, yes in a sense that he began hiring me early so I would be available because once I started Pee Wee... I was hungry to learn how to write for orchestra's. So even though I was writing, touring and producing Oingo Boingo I was trying to get one or two films. He once commented, I think it's when we started doing Batman, that in-between each of his films I was scoring four other films. Pee Wee was one, Beetlejuice was five, Batman was ten, I didn't quite make it, Edward Scissorhands was fourteen instead of fifteen and he said, "How are you doing all these films between my films?" I said, "You don't understand, if I don't keep doing lots of films between your films I won't be good enough to grow into what I need to do." Every little film I'm doing, if it's a stupid little comedy or something, I'm going to try something with the orchestra that I haven't done before and I'm honing my skills. Really what I'm doing is increasing the size of my tool box. So when I weren't in with Pee Wee it was just this tiny little tool box with a hammer, wrench and pliers. I was trying to build up a bigger box so I'll have more tools t work with. By time I got to Batman I was ready for Batman. I said, "If I didn't do eight there films they were yours between now and this I probably won't be ready to do this film."

Me: You just did Dumbo, with Tim Burton, and have been doing this for such a long time, is there anything you still need to add to this "tool box"?

Danny: Well, look, my "tool box" never gets closed. What's harder now is finding films that will let me expand my tool box, because a lot of films that I'm doing don't want me to do anything more than I'm able to do. There is a point where I want to try things but I can't do it in the context of film because I can't push a film to do something that's not right for the film. That's exactly why I expanded to concert music. I needed to keep going and film wasn't allowing me to do that.

Me: Are you comfortable that when you pass people are going to say "Danny Elfman, film composer composed 'The Simpsons' music"?

Danny: No, I've never been comfortable with that. On the other and I can't look down at what is the luckiest break of my life was. Simply walking into a meeting getting "The Simpsons" and writing out the same day.

Me: I'm a huge Simpsons fan so I have to talk to you about it. Was Matt Groening, the creator of "The Simpsons" a fan of yours?

Danny: No, it was a funny one because we were doing a concert and he was reviewing for a publication called The L.A. Reader and he gave us a terrible slam review. But I was used to that, in other words I always thrived on that stuff. I don't know how else to put it. I have an entire career fueled by negative energy. That really is true, it's like my whole life is I'll show those literal fucks... When I started in film music for ten years I never got anything but trash from anybody and my contemporaries. Just it was great fuel, it was nuclear fuel. I thrive on that so there fact that he wrote a scathing review didn't bother me. What bothered me was that he admitted in the review that he'd only been there for the encores. That bothered me, so I wrote a scathing letter back to the Reader and said, "Hey, listen, you can think what you want about my band but if you're gonna review us you have to come to the show." He described me huffing and puffing my way through a song and I said to him, "You know what, when you're on the 30th song in a concert without a break I'll like to see how you would be at that point." Jumping, dancing and singing, yeah, of course I was huffing and puffing, I was all over the place. I was doing somersaults for Gods sake." And they printed it, and I thought wow, they actually printed my letter. So now a decade goes by and I remember this guy but at the same time I remember these cartoons in a couple of L.A. publications. I think it was called "Life is Hell." I reluctantly had to admit this asshole was talented. That's always such a hard one because I always want to think that he's no good at anything but he was and I couldn't deny it.

Me: So, how did you get to be the one to do the theme?

Danny: A decade later I get this call, "Matt Groening would like to meet you about this new cartoon, an animated TV show." I was like, "Uh oh. Interesting. Really." I met him and he was really friendly and he didn't speak of it. He just talked about "The Simpsons." He showed me a pencil sketch and we really got on really well.

Me: He asked for you, right?

Danny: Yes, and as I was leaving at the door and shaking hands he said, "I don't know if you remember..." I go, "I remember." And I said, "You know what? No hard feelings." He said, "You really took me to task on it and I deserved it." I said, "It's all good and it's great meeting you." It was really a great meeting when I met someone I don't like and I now like them and all this time has gone. Now I got this kid of mutual respect. It's actually kind of cool.

Me: You wrote it in one day, right?

Danny: It's worse than that, I wrote it in the car on the way home. I had the whole thing in my head. I got home and I ran to my home studio and I started making the demo, literally I must of spent three hours top on it. By the end not have I only written it but I've recorded it. This is one of the only times this has ever happened to me, it's not like this is usual, but it hot me in the car and I was lucky not to hear anything to make me forget it. But I sent in the tape and that became "The Simpsons."

Me: So, I'm sure you have your pick on what films you are gonna compose. How do you pick? 

Danny: I really don't have my pick. People think that but it's actually not true. I just constantly hope to meet new directors, fresh things in. It's a competitively, brutal world and I don't think there's basically anybody who just gets their pick. There's certain genres that people have nailed down as their own genre, and it's really hard to get through. Fortunately I've been successful but I've also been typecast to an extent because I get a lot of a certain type of work. Like for example, a couple of years ago when I got Girl on a Train I was so grateful for it because they had a small budget, they wanted a small score but they wanted it to be really dark, orchestral but mainly non-orchestral. I got to do a whole score that was mainly synth programming and really get into some real dense dark stuff, not fun silly dark, but dark dark. I was so happy doing that.

Me: But if you don't want to do something, like some direct to home video thing you don't have to do it, right?

Danny: No, I don't have to do it but I am a composer. I learned from Jerry Goldsmith years ago, weirdly when I started out the only two composers who were nice to me were the old ones. My own contemporaries didn't like me but he was really kind to me, and Elmer Bernstein was. Of all people, I remember after Batman came out I got this telegram that said, "You were robbed when the Academy Award nominations came out." It just said "Hank." I called my agent and said, "I don't have any idea who this telegram came from." And he said, "Oh, that was Henry Mancini." Oh my God! I thought that was so generous.

Me: Why do you think the older guys were the nicer ones?

Danny: I think the older guys were not threatened.

Me: I think it's because you have a respect for that era, don't you agree?

Danny: Well, I don't think it's that simple because a lot of composers in that period were writing based on still the Golden Age of scoring. If they were doing an adventure film they were turning right back to those composers. But I think it had to do with the fact that my own contemporaries saw me coming from a rock band. Because I was honest early on in interview and said I haven't a musical background they were like "oh, right, this is a hummer." Then the rumors started. My agent was sitting at a table after Beetlejuice came out for the BMI Awards, it was a table full of composers and the fact is the second day of recording we had to fire Lionel Newman. It's another story I don't want to get into, he just didn't understand. he was the conductor and he didn't understand the music at all. We brought in literally eight hours notice a conductor and composer named Bill Ross, who's great. Bill stepped in and immediately understood. This is simple, this is what it is, and we finished the score. At that table later all these composers are watching me get this award for Beetlejuice and one said to the other, "Yeah, I heard Bill Ross wrote that score." All the other composers at the table said they heard the same thing. That just typifies where the attitude was, but let me just say I get it. I understand that because when I hear now someone coming from rock and roll into orchestral film composition I'm equally skeptical. I understand where they're coming from, I don't blame them for thinking that. And then finally just begrudgingly it took about fifteen years people are like, "Alright, I guess he writes is own music." It's just been this really weird path and then of course finally, the fourth one out, just because the last decade I've been feeling to much seam building that I need to let off. I always liked having a balance. For ten years I was in Oingo Boingo and I composed for film. It was a perfect balance because when I was on the road touring I hated it and I wanted to be back writing a film score just back behind my desk. When I was in the middle if a really tough score I was working so many hours a day, slaving away, seven days a week, I was like God, I'd love to be on stage sweating with my guitar on right now. So having two things to do and then another decade when I began to write scripts and launching projects, I have to be doing two things. I'm the ultimate Gemini.

Me: Do you ever think people are doing what you do because you have done it?

Danny: No, that would give myself too much credit. I don't want to take credit for anything other than my own work. I hope it's okay when I finish anything its like I hope it's okay.

Me: Danny, this was one of my favorite interviews ever! Thanks so much for being on the Phile. Please come back again soon.

Danny: Thank you, Jason.

Man, that was so freakin' cool. That about does it for this entry of the Phile, Thanks to my guests Cadence Hall and of course Danny Elfman. The Phile will be back next Tuesday with Kerri Kelli from A New Revenge. Have a safe Labor Day weekend and be safe from Dorian if you're in the storms path. Spread the word, 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

Monday, August 26, 2019

Pheaturing Tony Lewis

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? Last week, Teen Vogue writer and comedian Gabe Bergado tweeted something that changed the Internet's perception of Elizabeth Warren forever.

Warren's team quickly picked up on the favorable comparison. McGonagall is a no-nonsense pragmatist who becomes headmaster of Hogwarts after Dumbledore's death. She presides over the school as the wizarding world is thrown into chaos by Voldemort and his supporters' dark activities. Sound at all familiar? Bergado's observation struck a chord with Twitter. For one thing, Warren herself responded!

Thank you, Gabe, for identifying why Liz's glasses and authoritative demeanor seemed so familiar. Note to self: don't forget to do your Transfiguration homework!
Barack and Michelle Obama have famously good taste in music. It's a known fact. So when they shared their summer 2019 playlist on Twitter Saturday, everyone took notice.

A Good Samaritan has already compiled the playlist on Spotify, so you can listen ASAP. With forty-four tracks in total (get it?), it clocks in at almost three hours... the perfect soundtrack to a late-summer barbecue, beach trip, or rooftop party. It features plenty of contemporary and vintage R&B, rock, and hip hop jams. Personally, I'm thrilled by the inclusion of the Rolling Stones, and Phile Alum Toots & the Maytals. The Obamas' dispatch, per Barack's Twitter account, didn't disappoint.
Fox Nation personality Tomi "Tammy" Lahren lit up the Internet last week, but this time it wasn't for an incendiary remark or misguided political take. She debuted her new athleisure line Freedom in partnership with Alexo Athletica. Just what the free market wanted: Lulelemon, but make it Kaitlin Bennett. Wait, sorry, there's absolutely zero consumer demand for that? Interesting. I guess not many women want to brand themselves as regressive dipshits at yoga class. Tomi bravely overcame obstacles like her personality and lack of fashion expertise to deliver a line of generic athleisure that's vaguely patriotic. Hers's the ad for it...

I want to do the commercial for it. Ahem. For Trump supporters who demand both comfort and to speak to the manager. Our material is stain and logic resistant. At Freedumb, we know that racist diatribes and Twitter outrage can be a real workout. That's why there's Freedumb by Tawdry Lapdance. Welcome to the fashion world, Tawny! Watch out for models' sharp elbows and mean gay stylists, both of which are cutting.
It was Anti-Semitism week last week at the White House, as the president is on a tear questioning Jews' loyalty (a classic anti-semitic tune) and declaring himself the "second coming of God." It's another chapter in Trump's long history of anti-semitism that Republicans insist that should be ignored, because Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner exist. Jewish groups are speaking out against the president, and rabbis are slamming his ignorant, dangerous attempt at theology. Meanwhile, two high-profile Jews are conspicuously silent. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are Modern Orthodox Jews, despite not following the central Jewish commandment of "Thou shalt not empower Neo-Nazi movements." Ivanka's job in the administration is to be a human Poo-Pourri toilet spray trying to mask the smell of white supremacy. She often functions as her father's human shield against evidence of misogyny and antisemitism, but throughout this difficult week for American Jews, they have gone missing. In a scathing monologue, Anderson Cooper called out Ivanka for conveniently disappearing at this uncomfortable moment. "Ivanka Trump must be very proud of her dad tonight," he said. "And you can probably just watch for an Ivanka leak in the coming days about how she tried to talk her father, you know, to change that kind of language. It’s a classic Ivanka move." People on Twitter have noticed their absence, too. How hard is it to to type "that was anti-semitic, and it was wrong"? I literally just did.
Karamo Brown may be the culture expert on "Queer Eye," but he's really out-of-touch with one major facet of the zeitgeist. Despite being in the prime of his career with "Queer Eye"'s popularity at its peak, Karamo has decided to compete on "Dancing with the Stars," a destination for washed-up public figures and Palins. Joining Karamo is Donald Trump's former Minister of Propaganda, ex-White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Spicy has been forgotten because he is sooooo two press secretaries ago, but he did immense damage to democracy, lying out his ass about Trump's inauguration crowd size on day one and defending the Muslim Ban. The guy who called concentration camps "Holocaust centers" and continues to fundraise for Trump's reelection now has the opportunity to tango for redemption (and a six-figure salary) and people are pissed. "To treat Spicer, and his reason for notoriety, as a harmless joke is to whitewash the harm of what he did, which was to say things so absurdly false that he invited his political side to join him in denying their own eyeballs, to encourage people to believe that facts don’t matter if they hurt your team," James Poniewozik wrote in The New York Times. Karamo, however, is cool with befriending a fascist footsoldier, and defended Spicer as a "sweet guy." First, on Twitter, Karamo said that the "only way things get better is if we try to educate those who have different POV than us," as if competing against each other in tap-dancing contest would make Spicer less of a homophobe. "First, I have no say who is on the cast and didn’t find out till this morning that he is on! But I’ll tell you this... I’m excited to sit down with him and engage in a respectful conversations. Only way things get better is if we try to educate those who have different POV than us." Then, in an interview with "Access Hollywood," he said that Spicer is "a good guy, a really sweet guy." The defense is rather unconvincing to many. Queer Eye Hip Tip: Don’t be friends with fascists.
Instead of doing this blog I should be chilling and listening to this record...

Maybe not. If I had a TARDIS I would probably end up a this old gothic looking haunted house...

And we all know what happens there, right. Do you know your neighbors? I don't know mine. Anyway, ever receive a note like this from a neighbor of yours?

Haha. Have you heard about this so-called Popeye's vs. Chick-fil-A war on chicken sandwiches? I haven't tried the Popeye's chicken sandwich yet because I love Chick-fil-A so much. Anyway, this is what Chick-fil-A tweeted the other day...

Ha! I thought KFC's new ad wis kinda odd but relevant...

Hahahahaha. Speaking of food, did you see the new kind of Hot Pocket that just came out?

Yum! Gag! If you know me you'll know usually I just wear t-shirts, shirts, Converse or flip flops and once in a while I might wear a baseball cap. I am thinking of changing up my look though. How about something like this?

Hmmm... never mind. So, at the D23 convention in California they revealed the title of the next Spider-Man movie.

Haha. So, one of the best things about the Internet is you can see porn so easy and for free. But the problem is if you're at school or work you can get in trouble. I don't want that to happen so I came up with a solution.

You're welcome. Now for new pheature simply titled...

And it's true: Obama economy outdoes Trump's, especially now that a crash is allegedly looming. Okay, so, do you have kids? How are they? There's this one kid that causes sooooo many problems, she's kinda uncontrollable. She's been on the Phile before and wanted to stop by and tell us what she did recently. So, please welcome back to the Phile...

Me: Hey, Awful, welcome back to the Phile. How are you? Shouldn't you be in school?

Awful: Shut up, Peverett. You're not my dad.

Me: True. So, what's going on?

Awful: I was suspended from school if you must know.

Me: Ummm... why?

Awful: I tried to strangle my sister and a couple weeks later lied to the school about me being abused, leading to a full blown investigation.

Me: Oh, man, that's not good, Awful. So, how did they find out you lied?

Awful: They discovered from my so-called friends that I lied. While packing my things they discovered that I had been stealing opiates, and alcohol.

Me: Awful! That's crazy! You have to be careful.

Awful: Whatever. Fuck this shit, I am outta here.

Me: Awful, the rudest most asshole kid ever.

She used to let her phone sleep in her lap. Now she’s forced to let her kid sleep there because god forbid she moves and wakes him up! Kudos to that baby for some killer form.

This is a hard one. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, do you remember the 90s? There's this guy who thinks it's still the 90s. He likes to come on to the Phile once in a while, so here he is again. Please welcome back...

Me: Hey, Ed, how are you?

Ed: I'm doing great, dude. I just loaded my fridge.

Me: Loaded your fridge? With what?

Ed: Do you wanna see?

Me: Yeah, sure.

Ed: Okay. Check this out...

Ed: It's like a dream come true!

Me: Ummm... I guess. Yeesh.

Ed: What's in your fridge, man?

Me: Ummm... I'll show a pic of what's in my fridge at the end of this entry.

Ed: Cool, dude. Alright, I am go. See ya around.

Me: Okay. Ed Enistink, the guy who lives in the 90s, kids. That was really, really lame.

Almost three years into this whole President Trump catastrophe, you'd think we'd have lost our ability to be surprised, but then the guy goes ahead and calls himself the Messiah. Last Tuesday, Trump made a blatantly anti-semitic remark in the Oval Office, accusing Jews who support Muslim Congresswomen and the Democratic Party of being "disloyal." Accusing Jews of disloyalty is part of a proud anti-semitic tradition that goes all the way back to the Persian Empire. The 80% of Jews who vote Democratic... and all Jews who hate to see the President of the United States evoke anti-Semitic tropes... condemned the comment, and to try to redeem himself, Trump cited a conspiracy theorist and declared himself King of the Jews in his morning tweet storm. Trump quoted Wayne Allyn Root, a conspiracy theorist who not only spells "Allen" wrong but also insists that Charlottesville was a hoax, who argue that Israeli Jews see Trump as "the second coming of God." Note: Jews don't see him as a second coming... they don't even believe in a "first coming"! Rabbis, who unlike Trump and the conspiracy guy are actual authorities on all things Jewish, have condemned the tweets as utterly insane. The profound ignorance of what Jews believe, combined with the fact that he is using Jews as a prop through which to appeal to his evangelical base, has upset rabbinical authorities. It's quite disturbing. Incidentally, while he's lamenting how being the second coming of Christ fails to win over Jewish voters, his administration is moving to concentrate kids in camps indefinitely. If you want the majority of Jews to like you, it would be a good idea not to put people you find inferior and un-American in concentration camps. Something Trump can do to make 80% of Jews applaud him is resign.

The 104th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Tippi will be the guest on the Phile in a few weeks. Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

The Top Phive Signs You're Flying On A Bad Airline 
5. The engine's being held on by duct tape.
4. Instead of peanuts, you get a healthy helping of SPAM.
3. Pilot informs you that you're at cruising altitude and he's gonna put the top down.
2. As you're taking off, the flight attendant mentions the phrase "Guest Pilot Program."
And the number one sign you're flying on a bad airline is...
1. The seats are wet due to flotation device moisture.

Today's guest was the bass player and lead singer for the English rock band the Outfield, who are best know for the song "Your Love." He has a new solo album called "Out of the Darkness" that is available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Please welcome to the Phile... Tony Lewis.

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

Tony: I'm good.

Me: So, all these years I thought the Outfield was an American band. With a name like Outfield, but you were a British band. Do you get that a lot, or am I the only dumbass?

Tony: Haha. I know the song "Your Love" gets played in American football stadiums. Nope, I'm British.

Me: Well, that makes two of us. Okay, I love your new solo album "Out of the Darkness." Was it hard to begin again after your loss of John Spinks?

Tony: Well, it came out in July four years after his passing, and I took a hiatus really. Basically my wife said to me why don't I start recording again, doing what I did best. Up to that point I did not want to pick a guitar up, let alone sing or anything. I just couldn't do anything. I started going to my home studio putting backing tracks together, but I was struggling with the lyrics and stuff. The first three songs I wanted to keep it in the spirit of the Outfield, but to show people after that it's my spin on it, because people have known me as the singer and the bass player for the Outfield, I wanted people to know I was standing in the spotlight now. I produced and played the guitars and with the help of Carol's lyrics it involved from there.

Me: Did you have the Outfield's drummer play on the album or is that too much?

Tony: I told Alan I've got a deal and he was really pleased for me. He knew I like drum programming and stuff and he he was fine with not being on the album. After John's passing I said the Outfield doesn't exist anymore. John is not around. That's why I call myself Tony from the Outfield, I don't want to be called the Outfield. If I used Alan that would be the Outfield. I drew the line there, I wanted to do this on my own.

Me: Did you do the main songwriting in the band or did John do it?

Tony: To be honest John was the prime songwriter, though I did co-write a couple songs. I never did like my songs, I was critical of my own songs. I used to come in from a different angle when I approached songs. John was very structured with major chords and I'd be more minor chords and bit darker. We picked up production skills along the way, we asked when we left MCA, we produced albums together. We made albums our own selves, mainly for our own enjoyment, not for the fact we had to keep making albums. We just liked making music together. The last album we did, "Replay," he played bass and I played guitar. We coached each other through that.

Me: Okay. So, what can you tell anybody about John that didn't know him musically?

Tony: He had a very John Lennon buzzsaw voice. He could sing lower than I could sing. We had just different scales. We had harmonies, that's how they worked. I don't know if you know the song "Closer to Me" from the album "Rockeye," it sounds like there's 30 voices but it's only 8 tracks. His voice and my voice really, really worked.

Me: Listening to the Outfields music and your new solo album, the music is very similar, don't you think?

Tony: Yeah, the first three songs I wanted to be like the spirit of the Outfield, after that I wanted it to be my own spin. This is me now, this is what I can do, I hope you like it.

Me: You mentioned Carol, that's your wife, right? Did you always write music with her?

Tony: Yeah, she says to me everyday she doesn't know how this album came together. What I did was backing tracks, I started off doing couple of songs and I was just trying to get a publishing deal, get a little bit useful in the industry. The said I should start recording and I just I was struggling with the lyrics. Carol is very good at writing a story and she had some songs and I said let's try these songs. I arranged them pretty much how we would do an Outfield song with the choruses and melody. First and foremost if I wanted to get back on radio I have to leap out the speakers the first five seconds.

Me: True. So, how did you two work together?

Tony: Sometimes I'll sit at the computer and I'll play the acoustic and we'll do a song from scratch from her words. It all seemed to just develop. There's very few songs that we three away at the end. It wasn't stressful at all.

Me: So, what was it like going back on stage and playing?

Tony: I hadn't been on stage in 14 years so getting on stage for the first time was pretty mind blowing for me. For 40 years I had been playing with John. To look over and not see him there was bittersweet for me. I was excited to get back there again and see the fans and tell them thanks for supporting me and hopefully made some new ones.

Me: When you do concerts now do you do Outfield stuff or solo stuff?

Tony: I'm basically at the mercy of the promoters. If I got to do four songs and then got off I'll just do that. I sing primarily Outfield stuff and then try to get one of my new ones in. I keep saying to people that interview me that when I go see Sting I want to hear him sing "Message in a Bottle," I like hearing the Police stuff. My approach to "Your Love" and "All the Love In the World," is I still get a buzz singing those songs live.

Me: When the Outfield first became really big what was that like for you?

Tony: The thing is that people think we were an overnight success when the first tour we did in America was a budget tour. We had no money, and a fifteen seater mini bus. We were playing with the Hooters in Philadelphia, and "Say it Isn't So" was out first single from "Play Deep." It did well in different territories but it wasn't like a major success. When we went home in '85 for the first time for a couple of weeks we were asked to go back out on tour again "Your Love" was released on AOR radio, to keep us on the radio and in people's minds. From that January, February and March the song had a life of its own and it grew and grew and grew. That period alone was quite exciting.

Me: Were you driven by money back then?

Tony: No, we weren't. We were driven by the music. Playing in bars in front of thirty people in Chicago and coming back playing at the Cubs stadium. That for me was thrilling, not that I could buy a nice house or buy a nice car. It was the thrill of being in a successful band with my best mates.

Me: What was it like when your second album, "Bangin'" came out?

Tony: To be honest any young band starting out now if they got a gold record would say their dreams would be answered. We always kept our feet on the floor. There was a thing called the "sophomore jinx" every band suffers from it. Any band feels under pressure they got to bring out another "Hysteria," so to speak. We went from doing a pop album to say let's do a rockier album. Even having gold record was an amazing feat. We were very more than pleased.

Me: Good. Then at the end of the 80s you had the album "Voices of Babylon." What was it like with that album? The bands music was slightly changing then, right?

Tony: What it was the label was slightly leaning on us to do be a little different, maybe more sophisticated, more poppy. If we brought out another rock album or another "Play Deep" people would think we were a one trick pony. We had to do something a bit more slicker, David Kahne came in who was working with the Bangles, and we were getting familiar with sequenced drums and programming. We were very conscious as well to keep our spirit in there. I think that album is great with the first four or five songs on that album, I'm very proud of it. Basically we were told it'll be nice if we did something a bit more grown-up, but mores sophisticated.

Me: The band took a break I think in the 90s. What happened and what did you do then?

Tony: I think there's a misconception that when bands don't have an album that's successful, nine times out of ten people are not buying it or people are really that impressed with it, they still keep making music because they love doing it. One thing we not stopped loving, we have not stopped loving making music and that's how this album of mine came about. If I don't like what I'm doing and I think that's what people want to hear I'm fooling myself really. After we left MCA we'd go to each others houses and record. Thank God the Internet came in and John was able to send me backing tracks, and that's how "Replay" came about. We asked Alan if he'd like to play drums on it, and we were always collaborating and doing stuff. It's just our favourite hobby, we never stopped doing it. 

Me: Oh, okay. But you had a 15 year gap between Outfield albums. Were you writing that time? What made you guys release an album then?

Tony: Being in that big machine with Sony and MCA, we were so used to getting that big attention and now the music industry changes and we have to aim our sights a bit lower, we were just pressing CDs ourselves, and to be honest with you we were just pleasing ourselves. The industry had changed so much that I was told I could get a licencing deal. I didn't know what that means. We were just making music, getting it put on a CD and in stores.

Me: What do you think of the current music industry?

Tony: I can't get my head around that okay, music is going to have to be streamed. As long as it gets heard and gets on the radio and people can buy it or whatever, or get it on Spotify, I don't care. There's albums coming out on vinyl now which is like one extreme to the other. To me vinyls are good because I can appreciate the artwork. With the covers and I have something physical in my hand.

Me: I like CDs and vinyl myself. So, I only know a few Outfield songs, Tony. Is there one that is your favorite or I should know about?

Tony: That's like trying to pick your favourite child, isn't it? I love all the Outfield songs, I'm proud of all of them so I wouldn't say there's one particular song I'm proud of more than the others. We did a song called "Winning It All." I was singing it in the vocal booth and John said I've really got to nail that song, otherwise we'd just have to scrap it because he said I was going through the motions. There was this big fight and he said I was going out for an hour and he'll come back and we'll have a look at it. I was so determined I was going to nail that song. I nailed that song while he wasn't there and he came back and said it was amazing. I remember that day so well. It's used on Larry Bird's video. We used the spirit of "Jump" from Van Halen. That was one of my proudest days, doing that song.

Me: Cool. Okay, who are your musical influences?

Tony: I'm a very big fan of Jon Anderson from Yes. I like his voice and when you think like in rock and pop there are very few voices that are out there still out there. Robert Plant can't hit those notes he did in the Led Zeppelin days. I'm a big fan of Rush as well, I like their rhythm section. Neil Peart and Geddy Lee are probably the best rhythm section around. All those influences and the Beatles, Journey, Boston, Kinks, Thin Lizzy, box them all up. I was lucky to grow up in that time period and be influenced by those bands. In a conscious effort it's what organically happens I suppose.

Me: What's one of the biggest highlights of our career?

Tony: You got me there. Let me think. We have never been to Trinidad before and we went to the Port of Spain in Trinidad and there was this big cricket ground and there was like 45,000 people there. That's probably like the biggest crowd we've ever played to and we played with Air Supply and Survivor. It rained that day and they had to cover the whole cricket ground the next day because the grass was totally ruined. With this new chapter I'm quite excited, it's a whole new thing for me. I think even Neil Gallagher was scared, he didn't have his brother with him. Having a solo career makes me a bit infallible. I'm keeping my feet on the ground and taking it one day at a time.

Me: That's cool, I'm sure the Outfield fans love your new album. Thanks so much for being on the Phile. Please come back again soon and continued luck.

Tony: Thank you, mate.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Tony Lewis for a cool interview. The Phile will be back tomorrow with legendary music composer Danny Elfman. Spread the word, 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