Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Pheaturing Phile Alum Jon Bon Jovi


Rabbit. Hey there, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Wednesday. It's September! This is the last month of the Phile. We're getting close to the end, kids. Jury selection bega this week in the criminal fraud trial of Elizabeth Holmes, a highly anticipated showdown after Holmes' grift was explored in both an HBO documentary and a podcast. Holmes claimed that she had developed technology that could diagnose hundreds of diseases with just a finger prick of blood, which unfortunately for her lawyer and thousands of actual patients, was just a straight-up lie. NPR published a sneak peek at her defense strategy, which involves including her ex-boyfriend and ex-Theranos Chief Operating Officer Sunny Balwani of manipulating her. "Holmes' defense strategy came into view in the documents the court released on Saturday: Her attorneys said they have evidence that Balwani controlled what Holmes' ate, when she slept, how she dressed and with whom she spoke. Court filings also disclosed that Holmes plans on accusing Balwani of domestic abuse, including throwing 'hard, sharp objects' at her," NPR reports. John Carreyrou, who literally wrote the book on Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos, calls this "the Svengali defense," and yes, he's doing a podcast. 

A high school valedictorian pulled a switcheroo on her school at her graduation, trading her administration-approved speech for a powerful defense of abortion rights. Texas governor Greg Abbott just passed a law that would prohibit the procedure as early as six weeks into pregnancy, which is before the majority of women even realize that they're pregnant. Paxton Smith is the 2021 valedictorian at Lake Highlands High School in Dallas, one of the most conservative districts in a notoriously voter-suppressed state. She used her speech as an opportunity to criticize the law and articulate what it could mean for her future, and the futures of her female classmates. "I have dreams, hopes, and ambitions. Every girl here does. We have spent our whole lives working towards our futures, and without our consent or input, our control over our futures has been stripped away from us," Paxton said at the podium, dressed in a cap and gown. "I am terrified that if my contraceptives fail me, that if I’m raped, then my hopes and efforts and dreams for myself will no longer be relevant. I hope you can feel how gut-wrenching it is, how dehumanizing it is, to have the autonomy over your own body taken from you." The speech was shared to social media, where it continued to spark discussion. While many celebrated her for using her platform to speak about the issue, others criticized her for it. Graduations are a place to hear "Oh, The Places You'll Go," not "register to vote." Watch the whole speech here. 

In a deeply divided world that can't even agree on whether or not the COVID pandemic is real (it is), it is astounding to see the people reach a consensus on anything. In this case, unity comes at the expense of James Corden, who people from all walks of life now fantasize about running over with their car. Corden was spotted filming a segment for his "Late Late Show," a Cinderella-themed flash mob in a busy Los Angeles intersection. Over 18.2 million people have seen the video of Corden in a rat costume thrusting in a mouse costume, and almost all of them wish they didn't. One nation, against Corden, indivisible.

A movie theater in the U.K. is pre-selling tickets for Spider-Man: No Way Home film. It has listed runtime for the Marvel film that will make it the longest solo movie in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Cineworld is the world’s second-largest movie theater chain with over 10,000 locations in ten countries. This means that a theater chain this huge is a credible listing compared to a smaller chain of theaters. The ticket listing for the theater has revealed that Spider-Man: No Way Home will have a runtime of 150 minutes. Two and a half hours will be a very significant runtime for the entirety of the Marvel film. In the whole history of the MCU, only two films reached over 150 minutes which would be Avengers: Infinity War and Avenger’s Endgame. The two films have a runtime of 160 and 182 minutes, respectively. If it’s true that No Way Home will have 150 minutes for its run time, it will be the longest solo MCU film. However, it certainly makes sense that the film will have a long runtime as the film will deal with Marvel’s Multiverse. It will be the first Marvel film that goes deep into the Multiverse following Disney+’s "Loki."      If it is true that former Spider-Men actors, Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire will be in the film, No Way Home will have a lot of stories to cover. This includes the Multiverse that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will also delve into.

Just days before Bonnaroo was set to kick off, organizers have pulled the plug on the annual music festival due to unsafe conditions caused by Hurricane Ida. In a message emailed to fans and shared via social media, Bonnaroo organizers explained that much of Centeroo (where the stages and activations are set) and the surrounding campgrounds became so waterlogged from rain that the grounds have been rendered unusable and unsafe. “We are absolutely heartbroken to announce that we must cancel Bonnaroo,” read the note. “While this weekend’s weather looks outstanding, currently Centeroo is waterlogged in many areas, the ground is incredibly saturated on our tollbooth paths, and the campgrounds are flooded to the point that we are unable to drive in or park vehicles safely.” Promising a return to the festival’s regular June timing next year, the organizers went on to say, “We have done everything in our power to try to keep the show moving forward, but Mother Nature has dealt us a tremendous amount of rain over the past 24 hours, and we have run out of options to try to make the event happen safely and in a way that lives up to the Bonnaroo experience. Please find ways to safely gather with your Bonnaroo community and continue to radiate positivity during this disappointing time. WE WILL SEE YOU ON THE FARM IN JUNE 2022! All tickets purchased through Front Gate Tickets will be refunded in as little as 30 days to the original method of payment.” This year’s Bonnaroo had already dealt with a number of inconveniences, mostly due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Acts like Lana Del Rey, Janelle Monáe, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, and Defontes pulled out in July, with Khruangbin and RÜFÜS DU SOL brought on as replacements. Then just three weeks ago, the festival finally announced its COVID-19 restrictions, requiring all attendees to either have proof of vaccination or negative tests within 72 hours of first entering Centeroo, with all unvaccinated attendees asked to wear masks. That alone didn’t give unvaccinated Bonnaroovians much time to get their shots, and things only got more precarious once Ida started moving inward. In preparation for the rain, Bonnaroo first pushed back the campgrounds’ opening from Tuesday to Wednesday, and shortly thereafter announced that camping capacity would be greatly reduced due to soaked fields. The anticipated daily traffic increase prompted some local schools to close down for the rest of the week. With the festival also called off last year when the pandemic was at its (initial) peak, this will mark two years in a row that the beloved Tennessee event will not take place. 

And so it begins...

I like to go on Twitter and look up certain words and one of those words is "Foghat." Here's a tweet I saw a few months ago...

Hahahaha. So, Walt Disney World, the greatest company to work for ever is offering a new service. check it out...

Hahahahaha. Kidding!!! Remember that 90s show "Dinosaurs"? I think they ripped off Jurassic Park

Hahaha. Money can be an uncomfortable subject sometimes between relatives, especially when you just found out you have a half-sibling who was adopted years ago... While gifting everyone in the family DNA ancestry kits can be a fun way to spend the holidays, sometimes you can find out a few family secrets that you might be better off without knowing. Discovering relatives you didn't know existed can be a fun and cathartic way to learn more about your identity and roots, but not every reunion is a Hallmark-style, slow motion run toward open arms and a pristine Thanksgiving table. Sometimes the coffee meeting with your long lost sibling is just a pleasant experience with a stranger you're not particularly interested in seeing regularly. In that case, are you obligated to spend every family gathering or share every family gift with this person simply because you're related? So, when a conflicted heir decided to consult the Phile about whether or not he's wrong to refuse to split his hefty inheritance with his half-sister I decided to help deem a verdict. 

"Am I wrong for refusing to share my inheritance with a "sibling?" I am a single child... or at least I thought I was. Just over a year ago, I discovered that I have a sister, Lucy. The story goes that my mother had a child with her first boyfriend while she was in college, and they couldn’t support her so she opted for adoption at birth. My father was aware of this, but I was never told. Anyways, about a year ago she made contact with my/our mother. They’ve gotten on pretty well, keep in touch and go on the odd lunch. Lucy’s also attended a couple of our family events this past year. Her and I get a long fine as well. We’re different people so not friends, so I sort of see her as an acquaintance/friend of the family I guess. It’s a little odd because I know we’re closely related, but at the same time she doesn’t feel like “family” if that makes sense. My grandparents on my mothers side both passed a few years ago. My mother was their only child, and I their “only” grandchild, and they left their entire estate to me. This was known to my parents and me before they passed, as they had expressed it when they made their will. My parents are well-off financially (mom's a nurse dad's a doctor), and so they were fine with the arrangement. I was given access to the money on my 20th birthday, and the sum of money was much larger than I expected; totalling around 6 million. This is why I can’t really talk about this with anyone impartial, because I don’t really want friends etc to know. Anyway, a few weeks ago my mother sat me down, and asked me to share the money with Lucy. Now, here’s the thing; like I said, to me Lucy is essentially an acquaintance. I know we’re related by blood, but I don’t exactly feel the type of connection to her that would merit giving her such a large sum of money, or any money at all for that matter. So I explained that to my mother, and she wasn’t exactly happy with my answer. She believes I’m being extremely selfish, and that Lucy could very much benefit from this money as well since she’s still a college student and in debt. Here’s why I think I might be wrong; I don’t really see that as my problem. I believe family is who feels like family, not who shares your DNA. Secondly, my grandparents were aware of Lucy's existence (even though they never met her) and they chose to leave everything to me all the same. Also, it is not as though Lucy grew up poor in the foster system or anything, she was adopted at birth by what seems like two great people. Her adoptive parents are an accountant and a teacher. P.S. - I do not plan to just hoard the money. I am starting law school this year, and plan to use it to start my own firm once I’m finished. So, go forth and judge me please. Am I being a selfish asshole here, or am I justified in thinking that simply being related by blood doesn’t merit any claim here?" Your grandparents were aware of Lucy's existence and they chose not to leave her an inheritance. I am guessing since she was legally adopted your grandparents didn't feel it was necessary. Your mother's parents could have made provisions for your mother and/or the daughter she gave up for adoption if they wanted. Your mother is free to make whatever arrangements she's fit with her estate but your grandparents made their wishes know when they left their estate to you. As you said, your grandparents could have opted to include her but did not. Your mother could have raised the idea of including Lucy in their will when they mentioned it (I don’t know how it would have been written up since your mom didn’t have contact yet) but she didn’t. Don't let anyone guilt you into giving it away. Your grandparents made an informed choice, it's not like they didn't know about her existence. So, there you have it! Good luck, everyone! If you have a problem you want my opinion on then email me at 

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

Looks like a little ain thee. Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York here is...

Top Phive Things Said About The Viral Clip Of James Corden Thrusting In A Rat Suit In Traffic 
5. It might be rash to call this the worst thing I’ve ever seen, but I’m trying to think of something worse and coming up dry. 
4. "Go to hell" is basic "I hope James Corden gets cast in the movie version of your favorite musical" is smart, it's possible, and it's terrifying.
3. James Corden always looks like he’s trying to prove he’s the most fun guy to be around but the darkness in his eyes betrays him. 
2. Is this why people hate theater kids? 
And the number one thing said about Corden thrusting in a rat suit in traffic is...
1. No jury would convict, just putting that out there.

This is freaking cool. Today's guest is a Phile Alum and is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, philanthropist, and actor. He is best known as the founder and frontman of the rock band Bon Jovi, which was formed in 1983. He has released 15 studio albums with his band as well as two solo albums. Please welcome back to the Phile... Jon Bon Jovi!

Me: Hey, Jon, welcome back to the Phile kicking off the last month of the Phile. I'm a HUGE fan so it's great to have you back. How are you? 

Jon: Thanks. It's great to be back. 

Me: Last time you were here it was to talk about your latest record, "2020." For the readers that don't know can you tell us something about it? It's a very topical album. 

Jon: Yeah. For this record I found it interesting to write about "topics" in the world which we were living. Instead of just writing a rock song or boy meets girl song that didn't have any appeal to me this time. 

Me: You wrote new songs for the record during the postponement of the record. Was that good for you? 

Jon: So, I'll take it back a little bit. In March of '19 we went into the studio in Nashville to record what I thought was the album but in retrospect was just the first batch of songs. I have had the title "2020," one because it's also about clear vision and I thought to myself the insider would know what I was thinking with this album title... I have a clear vision of the future. Of course there was the election year that was pending. And jokingly I realized it'll be a great campaign poster therefore I could sell a lot of t-shirts. But when I told the band the title and we were recording the songs and it was coming together and ultimately almost finished I kept writing because of the pandemic and then the record really started to take a different shape. Now it had a much deeper meaning. Because it was "topical" and I didn't want to take sides which could be very scary. If I sit here and go "bad Trump, bad Trump, bad Trump" I'm going to alienate half of the audience and it's a terrible assumption to think that because I have the microphone I'm right. The conclusion that I came to is that I would bear witness to history and not take sides but just be the narrator. That's when the whole thing took focus to me, and that's when I got really excited about the title and the album cover and even the sequencing. Everything about it. 

Me: Did you play it to your family beforehand? 

Jon: Yeah, even more than "Do What You Can" which was okay, we are all in this pandemic together, when I'm taking on the topic of Black Lives Matter and the death of George Floyd and in world where the confusion with the statement and how people would defend their position by saying "but ALL lives matter!" Well, the truth is all lives CAN'T matter unless Black Lives Matter. Then that became this whole heated debate that Blue Lives Matter. That's not the point. Can we agree that Black Lives Matter is the point? So I I knew going down the road was going to be difficult at best and yet I couldn't help but write the song and there were several alliterations during the course of the couple of weeks. 

Me: Really? Why is that? 

Jon: Because I write in stream of consciousness and I played it for my wife who is a honest and harsh critic and she said the verse his fantastic but the chorus is lacking. I kept woodshedding the chorus and got it to a place where I thought it was right and then played to for African-American members of the record company and to songwriters or politicians or the band. I REALLY wanted to make sure I got it right. It was a daunting task. Ultimately I think I did get it right. 

Me: Which songwriters did you play it too? 

Jon: Beatle Paul, Bruce Springsteen, they were couple of the people. I'm fortunate enough to know both of them and that kind of fan in me had to be put aside just as another songwriter and say I want your opinions, be as brutally honest. So they were two of the people I played it for. But more of them as songwriters, think about the African-American member of the record company who was like "can I tell him the truth?" Or the Minister from down the street who was like "is he gonna be mad at me if I tell him the truth?" That's the last thing I'm going to be if I was told the truth, I'll be mad at you if you didn't tell me the truth. With that song it wasn't "You Give Love a Bad Name" do you like not or not, this was a real daunting task. It was something that I wanted to get right. 

Me: Is that what you normally do when you write a song? Play it to other people to get feedback? 

Jon: Not necessarily, no. At the end of the day a record has to move me as an artist. If I'm truly going to get to a place where I'm at nearly 40 years down the road when I'm not trying to appease the market or the record company or whatever, the audience that I figure needs an up-temp song then I really sit down and create a record for myself. I'm at the point in my career where that's all that matters. So I can't play the radio game anymore or I'm too old or they have their opinions of me or I have no interest of writing that. So all I could do is create the record that I want to create which is an interesting part of the dynamic as you can relate I'm sure as your father was a songwriter, I do get to a place when I'm a writer and an artist that I can't do something that doesn't ring true. 

Me: I agree, Jon. My dad was so like that. 

Jon: The worse thing that could happen is it's a major hit and I have to sing it for the rest of my life! LOL. But in the big picture to do something that would be compromising at this point in my career wouldn't make any sense. 

Me: Was it weird to have that extra chunk of time to revise songs? 

Jon: Yes. And I'm grateful that I did because come to think of it it was last year when I came over to the U.K. right at the end of February and played "Unbroken" with Prince Harry and the soldiers for the Invictus games choir and I gave them the song "Unbroken." I went to Abbey Road and recorded it with them. I started doing some press for the record and the reaction was fine. It was like "okay, great, another Bon Jovi record, cool." I left there thinking "oh, well, I made the record I wanted to make." But when I went home and had the benefit of pulling the plug writing those two new songs, taking a couple of them off, changing lyrics on several others, remixing and putting it out, that's when it was complete. I don't know about other artists but in my case it takes me a year after the release of a record to come to terms with what we've just done. Up until that point it's the best record I ever made, I'm a genius. LOL. Then I put it out and I go and play a couple of those songs and I go well, that didn't work. That was bullshit. When I look back at the record I know why I got talked doing it that one or why that one made it and this one didn't. That happens to me with every album. But with this one I had the benefit of these extra months. 

Me: Next month is October and the one year anniversary, Jon. Haha. 

Jon: Yeah, I'll look back at the experiment and decide if I like it or not. 

Me: "Lower the Flag" conveys a strong message and tells us where you stand on the gun control issue. You're not provocative with the song, right? 

Jon: Provocative doesn't scare me as much as my assumption because I have the pen that I know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So I joined it that my position should her to narrate as it happens. That's all. I think it's evident that my position is that we need sensible gun control and legislation. I'd like to sell you a gun but a bullet should cost you ten thousand dollars a round. No problem, here's all the guns you want but a bullet is ten grand a piece. So I don't think we need automatic weapons in our living rooms and all that kind of stuff but that's not the place on that song. My position on that song was here's a list of all the school shootings, this is what happens, put myself in that character of being a state worker, being told to lower the flag again and it just makes me numb. I just wanted to pose the question, how would you feel if this was your family? I got so tired of hearing the politicians on the news sending out their thoughts and prayers to the family. How about go fuck yourself. Thoughts and prayers? Really? "A 6-year-old, my baby was killed in school and you don't want me to take guns out of swap meets." Thoughts and prayers, it's horrifying. 

Me: I think you always wrote socially aware songs, Jon. "Runaway" is one, right? 

Jon: It is, yeah. if you think about it I was lucky enough to have had a roof over may head, I had this opportunity to go to Manhattan and work in a recording studio as a gopher but I would have a place to go. I would get back on the bus and go back home. A lot of those kids that were on that bus and in that bus station were working the streets. I'd see it everyday, that was New York in 1980, '81, '82. That was it, they were working the streets. It was common place to see girls and boys working the streets. It affected me, I was aware of it. I certainly wasn't Bob Dylan or Woody Guthrie but even at 21 I was aware. In defense of my naiveté, and single minded being focus on trying to become a rock and roll star I was 21. From where we came and the background that I had I should be writing rock and roll songs, that was what life was about. Playing guitar and meeting girls, there wasn't much else that we had to worry about. There were food on the table and shoes on our feet. 

Me: Does the band chime in with criticisms or things to add where you present them with the new songs? 

Jon: Generally speaking David, Tico, Hugh, all contribute greatly in the studio absolutely positively. But I don't think it's necessary critical as much as they'll help me to try to get to the vision of a song and whether or not it makes it is another conversation. But during the process I don't think they're ever critical. Which is wonderful because it gives the song a chance to live... or die. But they don't come in and say, "Ugh, I hate this." Which could be, I see body language in a band member that they hated the idea but they're not, they are not like that. They will bring the song as far as we possible can and allow me to rewrite it five times and not lose patience. Then if it sucks it doesn't make the record. 

Me: I laughed when I interviewed you last time that they didn't understand the Sinatra line on "It's My Life." I understood it right away and got it. 

Jon: Yeah, Richie didn't understand it which is fine. 

Me: What? No it isn't. Haha. Why is that fine? 

Jon: To be asked to defend a line and if I can all the more power to me. Ultimately the argument was I just came home from making a movie called U-571 and I just sent five months in Malta and in Rome. I come home and Frank has just passed and I was always a big fan because he was New Jersey's God and he made movies, he helped get John F. Kennedy elected, he made records, he was still the Chairman of the Board until the day he died. So I had a real admiration for him, my very, very shorty list of regrets that's the biggest one, that I never met him. But I brought that home from that film really saying to myself I'm going to do what I want to do. I'm going to make records when I want, movies when I want, if if takes a couple of years between things I've earned it. And so like Frankie said, I did it my way. Richie said, "Well, you're the one whose got to sing it." 

Me: Ha! What was your thought of his reaction to it? 

Jon: It was an honest reaction to it. At the end of the day who knew, I didn't know that people were going to say that Frankie is their buddy or it's their brother or it's them. To me it was Frank Sinatra. To them it's something else and that's what makes a great song work. 

Me: To me Frankie is my friend who works at a car dealership. Haha. Okay, so what were you thinking when you made the "Burning Bridges" album? 

Jon: I said, who cares, I'm burning the house down. This is the end of my years at Universal Records. Oh, man, my life's over, and I'm burning the place on my way out. 

Me: You like to write characters in songs, like "Wanted Dead or Alive" or "Blaze of Glory," right? 

Jon: Both of those songs sound like a big D. With "Wanted" I had the idea, I went to Richie's house that morning, woke him up and he came up with that lick on the spot and we wrote the song. And another song in the same day. The other song didn't live. With "Blaze of Glory" I had the Young Guns script and so I read the script and put my voice inside Billy the Kid and wrote them that song. 

Me: I asked you last time you were here about "Living on a Prayer." I love that song. 

Jon: Thank you. It took three people to write that song and none of us had the fuck idea and that bass line was developed in the demo at a later date and we were just pounding on the root chord. I walked everywhere not knowing we had anything because it was so different than anything that was on the radio and it didn't sound like anything else. I just sort of went it's okay. And Richie was like, "You're a fool, this one's special." But I didn't know, none of us knew and anyone who said they knew didn't know. Then we went to in my hometown there was this crap demo studio and we created the demo there including that silly key change that just kills me every time I sing it. LMAO. Son of a bitch. The 25-year-old was of course I can do that. The 59-year-old is going "you foolish kid." But that's where it came to be in my hometown, in Sayreville, when we were all back in that room with the band and worked it up. 

Me: You worked with Dave Stewart, who was supposed to be on the Phile. What was it like working with him? 

Jon: Dave Stewart, I want to say this well enough, he is and I mean this with all sincerity. He is a saint and an angel. 

Me: Ha. Why is that? 

Jon: He is so in love with music but unattached to the nonsense that is behind any of it. All he cares about is the beautiful collaborative effort of being in a room with somebody else and getting them to do something that makes them both happy. 

Me: Where did you first meet him? 

Jon: I met him, this is where I think I first met him, I was in and I don't know how I got there, but I hope this is right. I came to England to do a movie called The Leading Man in 1996 I'm going to guess. Somehow I ended up at a rented home of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore and Dave Stewart was there. We had a wonderful night... I don't remember what got me there but I was there and then I hit it off with Dave and he said, "What are you doing?" And I said I was there to make a movie. He said we should get together and write and play music and I said, "Of course, I'd love to." So on the days off on the film I went over to his place and it was all like purple sparkles on the wall and there was a bedspread made of the Union Jack and it said, "Suburbia" on it. To this day, about 25-years-ago, the name of my little side project is the Kings of Suburbia because of that bedspread. He then told me a story of how he got Bob Dylan to go and busk. I think there's film footage of him convincing Bob Dylan to go and busk. That's the kind of guy Dave was. 

Me: Haha. That's great. Okay, so, are you writing for the next album already? 

Jon: Where I'm at today is I know I'm changing channels again, Like I couldn't really write a topical record again now. It's time to change the channel, I'm aware of that. With the riots at the Capital I sat down and wrote a chorus of a song and couldn't truly lock the lyric to the verse in. 

Me: Really? Why is that? 

Jon: There were too many pushed and pulls and what is the verse about? What is the point of view with these people? And then I let it go and it sat there for a week to ten days. I was about to send the chorus to Billy Falcon and said, "Do you want to write the verses with me because the chorus was great." David Bryan said to me, "Enough with the topical songs." But instead of me taking it the wrong way, I sort of went, "Ah, good point." I think truthfully this one needn't be written. I think where I'm at today, months and months into it, I'm going to let that one go. It's time to change channels in my mind. I don't know where the next one is going to go but enough with the topical stuff for now. 

Me: Jon, thanks so much for being on the Phile... twice. You rock and I'm such a big fan so thank you. 

Jon: My pleasure, Jason. Continued success. Take care.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Jon Bon Jovi of course. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Brian Johnson from AC/DC! Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. 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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