Thursday, September 2, 2021

Pheaturing Brian Johnson From AC/DC


She was standing alone over by the jukebox like she's something to sell. I said, "baby what's the going price?" She told me to go to hell. Hahaha. That is one of my favorite song lyrics ever. AC/DC's "Shot Down in Flames." Maybe I will karaoke that on TikTok. Haha. Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Thursday. How are you? So, most people know better than to come for Oprah. But Rose McGowan isn't most people. The "Charmed" actor has publicly accused Oprah (yes, THE Oprah) of being "as fake as they come" in a scathing tweet calling out the legendary talk show host for her past association with convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein and alleged sexual abuser Russell Simmons. 

Wrote McGowan in the tweet, along with a photo of Oprah kissing Harvey Weinstein on the cheek. Here's that photo...

Back in 2018, in an episode of the Goop podcast Oprah told Gwyneth Paltrow that Harvey Weinstein was “a bully,” but she was “friendly” with him anyway. Regarding the many rape accusations against Weinstein at the time, Winfrey said, “of course, I didn’t know any of this was going on." McGowan, who is one of the many women to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, also commented in her tweet about Russell Simmons' victims. This seems to be in reference to Oprah's decision, in early 2020, to step away from a documentary about a former music executive who accused Simmons of sexual misconduct. The tweet seems to have been triggered by a clip of an old interview between Oprah and Dolly Parton that went viral over the weekend, sparking criticism of the way Oprah questioned Dolly Parton's plastic surgery and mental health. People took issue with the way Oprah grilled Parton about her plastic surgery, as well as her apparent frustration with the singer's light-hearted reaction to the questions. And then a second clip shows Oprah bringing up Dolly Parton's reported history with depression. Many people criticized Oprah in the comments, calling out her history of being a "hater" intent on "humiliating" her guests. Of course, other people came to Oprah's defense. She is Oprah, after all! Neither Oprah nor McGowan have commented further on the controversy. 

Did you hear the story about the parents who were ordered by a judge to pay their son $30,441 for getting rid of his porn collection? The Associated Press reports that 43-year-old man David Werking has won a lawsuit against his parents who did not appreciate his hobby. When Weking moved back in with his parents after a divorce, they said "my house, my rules" and disposed of his extensive collection of films, magazines, and other stimulating items. U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney ruled that the puritan parents had no right to sabotage their son's gallery, and had an expert appraise the value of the nudes. Judge Maloney also ordered Werking's parents to pay $14,500 to their son's attorney. "Frankly, David, I did you a big favor getting rid of all this stuff," his dad said in an email after the purge, clearly showing no remorse for his crime. 

Britney Spears has been cleared of any wrongdoing in an incident involving her housekeeper. Last month, Spears’ housekeeper alleged that the singer slapped a phone out of her hand after the two got into an argument regarding the veterinary care of Spears’ dog. Ventura County Sheriff’s Office investigated Spears for misdemeanor domestic battery, but declined to file charges, citing insufficient evidence that a crime had occurred. In a statement, Spears’ lawyer Mathew Rosengart described the allegations as “nothing more than sensationalized-tabloid fodder... an overblown ‘he said, she said’ regarding a cell phone.” “If this involved Jane Doe rather than Britney Spears it would not have been pursued or covered at all,” Rosengart added. Anyone can make an accusation but this should never have made it this far and we are glad the DA’s Office has done the right thing. Sadly, it is apparent that some have learned nothing from the past, and we sincerely hope the media and others will be more respectful of Ms. Spears in the future.” This week also saw new developments in Spears’ ongoing legal battle over the future of her conservatorship. On Tuesday, Rosengart filed supplemental petition to immediately suspend and remove Britney’s father, Jamie Spears, as the head of her conservatorship. Jamie announced his intention to step down as Britney’s conservator last month, but in the weeks since then he’s sought to use “his remaining leverage to ensure the pending accounting is approved, which includes about $2 million in fees to third parties including his attorneys.” “Britney Spears will not be bullied or extorted by her father,” Rosengart said in a statement. “Nor does Mr. Spears have the right to try to hold his daughter hostage by setting the terms of his removal. This is not about him, it is about the best interests of his daughter, which as a matter of law, mandate his removal. Even putting aside the legal issues requiring his prompt removal, if he loves his daughter, Mr. Spears should resign now, today, before he is suspended. It would be the correct and decent thing to do."

A few months after doing an about face on his vaccine stance, Joe Rogan has said he caught COVID-19 while on tour. And because he’s what we’ll call a “counter-mainstream” podcast host, of course Rogan took the unproven horse dewormer ivermectin as part of his treatment regimen. What, he couldn’t get his hands on some hydroxychloroquine? If you haven’t heard, ivermectin is an anti-parasitic medication mainly used to treat horses but also, in smaller doses, to fight river blindness and intestinal roundworms in people. Now, obviously, a virus is not a worm, so why anti-vax and right wing personalities have latched onto ivermectin as a possible cure for COVID-19 is down to more of the usual “don’t be a sheep” herd mentality. Of course, Rogan is a hugely successful and wealthy comedian, so wouldn’t you know it, he also had access to some legit COVID treatments like monoclonal antibodies. (Whether the noted health nut has a chronic illness that would actually qualify him for such access under FDA guidelines is unknown.) After feeling rundown coming off a round of shows in... wouldn’t ya know it... Florida, Rogan got himself tested and came down positive. “We immediately threw the kitchen sink at it,” he said in a Instagram video message to fans. “All kinds of meds: monoclonal antibodies, ivermectin, Z-Pack, prednisolone, everything. And I also got an NAD drip and a vitamin drip. And I did that three days in a row, and so here we are on Wednesday, and I feel great. I really only had one bad day.” Few people who come down with COVID-19 are going to have that kind of medical access, but the danger here is that those who believe in the power of a horse dewormer to fight a coronavirus will likely find some justification in Rogan’s experience. That’s despite the fact that he took all the drugs, many of which the FDA is not down with as COVID treatments, meaning it’s impossible to determine what actually helped his case. I bet it was the monoclonal antibodies. Ivermectin has repeatedly failed clinical trials testing its effectiveness against COVID-19, yet prescriptions rose from an average of 3,600 a week in 2019 to more than 88,000 in one week in August alone via the CDC/The Washington Post. That’s potentially dangerous, as health departments are already seeing ivermectin poisoning as folks try to buy the horse dewormer version instead of getting a real prescription. “You are not a horse. You are not a cow,” the FDA clarified in a recent tweet. “Seriously, ya’ll. Stop it.” Yet to that, Rogan says, “A wonderful heartfelt thank you to modern medicine for pulling me out of this so quickly and easily.” It’s unknown if Rogan is currently vaccinated, but given his tour schedule and many major venues’ precautionary requirements, it seems likely he is. He recently offered refunds for fans who have “an ideological or physiological reason for not getting vaccinated.” As a result of his own diagnosis, he’s moved his planned Nashville show from tomorrow to Sunday, October 24th.

In a bit of karma, one of the infamous General Lee cars from "The Dukes of Hazzard" was crushed by a tree earlier this week when Hurricane Ida struck John Schneider’s studios in Holden, Louisiana. Apparently, the 61-year-old actor has a whole collection of the Confederate flag-sporting vehicles, and a second one got caught in a tree. Putting on a brave face, "The Dukes of Hazzard" star shared a cheeky Facebook post about the damage. 

Over the past several years, the 1969 Dodge Charger has rightfully become a cultural flashpoint as more people have finally come around to the idea of removing Confederate symbols across the South. In 2015, TV Land stopped airing reruns of "Dukes of Hazzard" and Warner Bros. stopped making General Lee toy cars as part of a decision to no longer sell any products featuring the slave-era hate symbol. Amid the 2020 racial reckoning following the murder of George Floyd, Schneider continued to defend the General Lee car. “I have never had an African-American come up to me and have any problem with it whatsoever,” he told The Hollywood Reporter, before having the gall to describe the show as a “unifying force.” As the saying goes, what goes around comes around.

Sometimes I like to go on Twitter and look up certain words and one of those words is "Foghat." Here's a tweet I saw not long ago...

Hahaha. That one was different. Remember that 90s TV show "Dinosaurs"? It's a little different than I remember...

Hahaha. If you fear that you are not living up to your intellectual potential, or simply aren't the most knowledgable person around...fear no more. As long as you know what the delta variant is, basic spelling, and that it's physically possible (and indeed quite common!) for a woman to know more about something than a man, you are an absolute genius compared to the person in this post...

Hey, it's Thursday. You know what that means...

Oh, that's nasty! I apologize. Okay, so, now that President Biden has been in office for a while I wondered what a friend of the Phile thinks of it. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man. You know what time it is...

Look… as much as I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, if you’re honestly trying to tell me… that this administration isn’t the biggest joke in U.S. history... that literally everything our current President has done since taking control, hasn’t been harmful to America. That Joe Biden isn’t completely and incoherently driving our great nation, full speed over a cliff. That this “withdrawal plan” for Afghanistan isn’t the biggest cluterfuck EVER. That heads don’t need to roll at the highest level... and there’s no need for Biden/Harris to step down... then all I have to say to you is this... you should consider wearing a tinfoil hat in public (so people can spot you easily... and avoid your crazy ass. The term “misguided” is a gross understatement in terms of your particular brand of mental illness. Aaaaand you should definitely consider some form of surgery to prevent you from breeding even more stupidity for the world to deal with. #WakeTheFuckUpYouSheep. 

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, let's take a live look at Port Jefferson, shall we?

Looks like a nice day. Now from the home office in Pot Jefferson, New York here is...

This is cool. Today's guest is an English singer and songwriter. In 1980, after the death of Bon Scott, he became the third lead singer of the Australian rock band AC/DC. He and the rest of the band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. AC/DC's latest album "Power Up" is available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Please welcome to the Phile from AC/DC... Brian Johnson!

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

Brian: I'm doing good, Jay. Yourself? Everything safe? 

Me: I'm doing good. I have to say "Power Up" is a great AC/DC record. 

Brian: Well, thanks. 

Me: What was it like recording it? 

Brian: When we did get into the studio after all the things that had happened that was a miracle in itself. To be back with all the boys, and sometimes the feeling right from the start. 

Me: What do you mean? 

Brian: Malcolm had passed and we wanted really to make this a tribute to Malcolm. He was not just a leader and friend but he was the one that started AC/DC, making the sound that was different from anybody else. That was what he wanted to do at the start and got his brother Angus with him. He kept that all the way through his life and with no better way to give him tribute than to make him proud. Although he was not with us he was everywhere in the studio. He touched every one of us. We had to do something special for Malcolm and it was right from the get go. Brendan O'Brien the producer, he's so positive and he loved Malcolm as well. So we wanted it not just Malcom but his family and all the fans to know that we tried a little more special this time. We always tried our best but I don't know how to explain it. It was just a special feeling just bonding over all those years and the friendship and we remembered Malcolm's cry, just keep the music honest. I think we did that. 

Me: You must've thought at some point you might never get another one, am I right? 

Brian: Oh, absolutely. This to me was probably the happiest day of my life. I could see it now, when we all walked into that studio it just felt comfortable. It just felt like it always was, it felt nothing had happened. Accept we lost Malcolm. We met at Malcolm's funeral in Sydney and talked after the ceremony with family and we were all together and it seemed just natural that we were together and we still think Malcom had a big hand in us getting back together again. Ha ha. He was not gonna let it lie down. 

Me: I didn't know if you were gonna be back. 

Brian: Why? 

Me: Because you were off the road with hearing loss. Was that really hard for you? 

Brian: Oh, you're talking about that. It was black days, that's all I can tell you. There was nothing, also my best friend died this same week at a very young age of cancer and it just hit me with a double whammy. But thankfully I just thought it's nothing terminal. Think about the people that were really in trouble. I just thought I'd get through it and then this technology came to my rescue really. A wonderful man called Stephen Ambrose. 

Me: Didn't you find him on YouTube? 

Brian: Well, it was just a photograph and a message just saying, "I want to get in touch with Brian Johnson because I know I have the technology to get him back on stage." It was just too good an offer. I was a little wary that someone was trying to cash in on the situation. I couldn't be more wrong, he's just the most wonderful dedicated man. He came down and spent a couple of nights at the house. He got all his equipment out and started working and immediately I noticed the difference and it was just phenomenal. We worked for about two and a half to three years, coming down every three months. He had to miniaturize so we could actually get it behind the ear and in the ear. 

Me: Miniaturize it? Why? 

Brian: Because it was like a car battery when he first showed it. Ha ha ha. 

Me: Hahaha. You'll be pulling it along on a cart on stage. 

Brian: Yeah. Ha ha. It worked and thank God for that. I never thanked him enough, he's a good friend now. And it'll help a lot of other people in my situation at the time and I'm talking about other rock and roll people who I am now in touch with and will be helping with that as well. 

Me: I'm gonna need some kinda hearing aid in a few years myself. I know people in the rock and roll business who lost their hearing. 

Brian: It's the price we pay. It's industrial, let's put it that way. The hearing aids that we use to have to put in was just making it worse But there's a lot of people out there, Jason me son, a lot of guys who are suffering with it. But hopefully this will be able to help all these people. 

Me: Where were you when you got to play with the band again after all this? 

Brian: It was in Holland. We had just shot a video and Angus said, God bless him, said we can get the whole kit up, the whole set up and do some rehearsal. Angus said we'll start a little quiet and build it up. I said, "No, And, it has to be full battlefield conditions. Otherwise it's not working and I never want to be in that position." 

Me: What do you mean "battlefield condition"? 

Brian: It's just like full rack, just like on the stage, like a full show. 

Me: So, what song did you do first? 

Brian: He said what do I want to do and I said "Back in Black." He said okay and off we went and I could hear everything. 

Me: How did you feel? 

Brian: I was jumping around like a big kid. They couldn't stop me singing. We did fifteen days in a row and Angus said, "I've never seen you rehearse so much." I said, "I can keep going forever me. I'm enjoying the hell out of this." It was just like being reborn, it was just fantastic. I could hear everything, I could hear the guitars as that was the main thing I couldn't hear. I could just hear the guitars and I can't tell you how good that felt as a vocalist who depends on the tone of the guitars and what I hear and the boys were just thrashing it out and I suddenly realised what I've been missing. It's a big part of life listening. 

Me: I find it interesting that you chose "Back in Black" as your first song. 

Brian: It's the toughest to sing, the hardest. There's no hiding place in "Back in Black," everybody could tell if I'm cheating or not. 

Me: Okay, with the AC/DC sound there has to be certain ingredients, right? I mean, you listen to a song from the 70s or 80s and it sounds like the new record. You guys always had that sound. Do you know what I mean? 

Brian: Yeah, well, Angus always said Malcom always imagined there was two people playing the guitar. It was just Malcom, there was something about Malcom the way and as Angus could yell you he was technically just a brilliant guy. He never compromised. Angus always explains the first record on the album is "Realize," that's the first number one record on the album. I remember Angus and Malcolm always being so careful about the first record on the album they said the first bars of the guitars has to be that's AC/DC. Malcom used to talk about AC/DC being a separate entity. That's an AC/DC song, that's an AC/DC riff. It was a vehicle that he was so proud to invent really. He sometimes spoke of it in the third person, and he said, "When we got it, the we finish that song that song set the standard and set the bar fore the rest of the album and no song can live up to that of the excitement level to the sound, well, it just wasn't going to make the cut." Thankfully all 12 songs that we had all made the cut. I'm trying to explain that sound and everything, the fact that it's just so honest. It has such science to it, it's not asking to join as a group, it's not a hidden agenda, it's just honest. And this world, right this minute, honesty is a rare commodity what with the elections and the virus and all the bullshit that's going on. Just seeing a little happiness. It was always tongue in cheek, it was always a little mischievous. People ask what this means and what that means. It's like asking Elvis Presley "you're nothing but a hound dog, what's that mean?" "I don't know, ma'am." It's "Wop-bop-a-loo-mop alop-bom-bom, tutti fruit!" " Excuse me, Mr. Richard, Mr. Little, what does that mean?" "Well, I don't know. I just sing it!" It is what it is. That's according to me, and I'm not that smart. 

Me: Okay, so, how did you feel the night before "Back in Black," the album came out? 

Brian: Well, I was asleep for 6 weeks before I heard it. We sort of did it in the Bahamas in this wonderful posh recording studio. I've never been there in my life. I was still a working boy. After about six weeks I thought it must be that good. 

Me: What do you mean? 

Brian: We recorded it quickly, we just moved from song to song. Especially me and Cliff and Phil and Malcom and Angus were putting on different bits and all of this and stayed there for the mix and we couldn't afford to get us back out of the Bahamas so it wouldn't cost money for hotels and stuff. Then one day the mailman came and I was living with my mother and father at the time and they didn't have a record player so I couldn't play it. So I went to the lead guitarists house, he had a record player so we heard it there. 

Me: Did you know it was going to work out? 

Brian: I thought at least I'd get six weeks in the Bahamas. I've never been there, I might get a bit of a tan. Honestly, I really didn't know what to think. 

Me: Were you worried? 

Brian: I wasn't so much worried because I didn't know the business and all of that. I just thought these guys were really good and liked what they heard from me so I'd just give it the best shot. But it may not work out, who knows. But it did work out and I wasn't that dumb, I knew there was something special coming out when I heard the riffs of "It Shook Me All Night Long." I did get a chance to hear that one, Mutt Lange had put a rough mix together and said, "Come in, Brian, I want you to hear." And I must admit I was impressed when I heard that. I thought wow, that is good. "Back in Black" I just did a couple of choruses but "Shook Me" impressed me immediately. I thought it was great rock and roll. 

Me: So, being in AC/DC, did that shape who you are? 

Brian: Absolutely, of course it did. They've taken me from a life where I was happy really, playing in clubs and pubs and having a great time and I quite enjoyed it. It was fun. Then when this chance came, and I think back at it now when I was in this position where I couldn't go on that was one of the times where I sat there and think, "Brian, what a run you had." It still hurts that I couldn't go on, because I go on like that. And as I said technology came to the rescue. It does give me pause for thought and I think about all the great times I had, places I've seen and the wonderful people I met like your dad, and the fans and the noise they made stays with me forever, it really does. It's a great check of what happens next, I don't expect it and thank my lucky stars it is happening. 

Me: Brian, thanks for being on the Phile. This was really cool. 

Brian: Thank you, Jason, you made it easy, me son! Thank you!

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Brian Johnson for a great interview. The Phile will be back a week from Saturday with singer Britta Phillips. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Flip that pancake.

Give me some rope, tie me to dream, give me the hope to run out of steam, somebody said it could be here. We could be roped up, tied up, dead in a year. I can't count the reasons I should stay. One by one they all just fade away..

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