Saturday, December 16, 2017

Pheaturing Kiki Dee

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Saturday. How are you? Happy fourth day of Hanukkah. May your Hanukkah prayers not be drowned out by incessant Christmas music.
Well, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal net neutrality rules, which prohibited Internet service providers for blocking certain websites and apps or charging to access particular services. Once (if!) this takes effect, Verizon or whichever friendly corporation that gets your money can charge you extra to stream Netflix or check in on social media. Thanks, guys! All hope is not lost just yet... states are stepping up to sue the FCC, and Congress can still butt in.
James Alex Fields Jr., the neo-nazi who drove his car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters, injured 35 people and killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia, has been charged with first degree murder. Fields drove his Dodge Charger directly into a crowd of counter-protesters at the white supremacist Unite the Right rally back in August, leaving dozens of people injured and Heyer dead, after which he quickly fled the scene. The Unite the Right rally was thrown to protest the removal of a Confederate Robert E. Lee statue and Fields reportedly drove all the way out from Ohio to attend. Authorities quickly caught him after the rally and charged him with second degree murder, but now, his charges have been changed to first degree. If convicted, this charge would put Fields in jail for life, whereas a second-degree charges would have put him away for 30-40 years. Fields has been in jail the past four months, and will face a grand jury for the murder of Heyer on December 18th. Many are hoping Fields will face conviction and serve as a cautionary tale for other white supremacists. His hearing is on Monday, godspeed, and let's get this man convicted for life.
Yesterday morning, actress Mira Sorvino woke up to the terrible confirmation that Harvey Weinstein, in her own words, "derailed my career, something I suspected but was unsure [of]. Thank you Peter Jackson for being honest. I'm just heartsick." Ashley Judd commented on the same story. The day before, a New Zealand site called Stuff spoke to Peter Jackson. The Lord of the Rings director was opening up about his experience with disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who's been accused by dozens of women of sexual misconduct. Specifically, he named the two above actresses as women who lost opportunities to star in LOTR based on a "smear campaign" by Weinstein and his studio, Miramax. Sorvino and Judd were two of the first actresses to publicly accuse Weinstein of sexual harassment. Judd's account led the "New York Times" expose that broke the news wide open in October. And in Ronan Farrow's "New Yorker" piece on Weinstein, he wrote this of Sorvino, "Four actresses, including Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette, told me they suspected that, after they rejected Weinstein's advances or complained about them to company representatives, Weinstein had them removed from projects or dissuaded people from hiring them." Sorvino's suspicious were confirmed when Peter Jackson spoke to Stuff, "Weinstein and Jackson crossed paths in the late 1990s when Jackson was pitching his early plans for The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films to the Weinstein-led studio Miramax. "I recall Miramax telling us [Judd and Sorvino] were a nightmare to work with and we should avoid them at all costs. This was probably in 1998," Jackson said. "At the time, we had no reason to question what these guys were telling us... but in hindsight, I realise that this was very likely the Miramax smear campaign in full swing. I now suspect we were fed false information about both of these talented women," concluded Jackson. "And as a direct result their names were removed from our casting list." Jackson reflected further on Weinstein, saying he "and his brother [behaved] like second-rate Mafia bullies" and that "movie making is much more fun when you work with nice people." In the comments to Sorvino's tweet, people from all walks of life commiserated with and supported the actresses. Apparently, the truth about Weinstein was extremely well-known in Hollywood.
The online culture of instant gratification and viral fame is harmless and fun in many cases, but there are situations in which the desire for internet affection can become dangerous. The 22-year-old YouTube prankster Jay Swingler learned that lesson the hard way when he cemented his head in a microwave and his friends were forced to call the fire department to save him. If you read that last sentence and felt like you were transported into the twilight zone: welcome to hell. Basically, Swingler had the brilliant idea to make a YouTube video of himself cementing his head in a microwave and then escaping like some sort of radioactive Houdini. Unfortunately for everyone involved, that's not how microwaves, cement, YouTube, or anything works. Swingler placed his head in a plastic bag, placed his covered head in a microwave (WHY), and then his friends filled the microwave with seven bags of Polyfilla (often used for spackling). After an hour and a half of attempting to get free (with the help of his friends) Swingler and the crew realized they had a potentially fatal emergency on their hands. No shit. At first they called an ambulance. However, since it's not a standard medical procedure, paramedics were unable to pry his head out of the microwave. Eventually, the West Midlands Fire Service was called, and five firefighters were forced to perform a rescue operation for an hour, the total cost was £650. However, since Swingler's life was in danger, the fire department was forced to foot the bill. No one at the fire department was too impressed by the stunt, especially since it tied up five of their emergency workers for an hour. This prank diverted resources from fighting actual fires. A lot of people online expressed annoyance at Swingler's thoughtless prank, and think he should pay the fire department back. YouTube placed an age restriction on the nearly fatal video, so it won't be making any profit. Hopefully, everyone here has learned their lesson: never cement your head into a microwave, even for viral fame.
Ringaskiddy, Ireland might as well rename itself Boner Town. This tiny Irish village also happens to be home of the Pfizer factory that manufactures Viagra. According to the "Irish Post," wafting fumes from the plant... which the town locals have nicknamed "love fumes"... have men and dogs walking around with unexpected hard-ons. It sounds like a dystopian nightmare, but according to locals, unplanned excitement has become part of day to day life in Ringaskiddy. Bartender Debbie O’Grady explains, "One whiff and you’re stiff. We’ve been getting the love fumes for years now for free." Is there anything the world needs less than more boners? Local nurse Fiona Toomey claims that Viagra is such a part of the town's ecosystem that it "must have gotten into the water supply." Pfizer claims that "love fumes are nothing but an 'amusing' myth." "Our manufacturing processes have always been highly sophisticated as well as highly regulated," they said. I look forward to seeing this story line on the next season of "Black Mirror."
If there's one thing you may know about me is I like to follow rules, but some people take it just a little bit too far...

If I had a TARDIS I would like to go back in time to the 1920s and have lunch with some really cool. Knowing my luck I'll end up having lunch with these two fuckers...

Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin. Ugh. Ever go into a public restroom and see something you didn't wanna see? Like this?

Poor dog. So, the other day I went to Google "prince" and instead I Googled "printh" and this is what I got...

What the hell? I have been telling you that one of the biggest trends this season is women making their breasts look like reindeer. I love it! Check it out!

Hey, with the new Star Wars movie out there's some weird new merchandise out as well. Check it out...

Yup. So, I saw this pic the other day...

It looked familiar... and then it hit me.

Ha! So, I mentioned net neutrality... well, let me give you a glimpse of the future...

Since net neutrality is gone I guess it's back to where most of your childhood started...

I love what Wikipedia editors did...

Haha. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Kinds Of People Who Went To See Star Wars: The Last Jedi
5. George Lucas, muttering,"Pffft! Chewbacca would never do that!" every five minutes.
4. Wookiees, who get a 15% Wookiee discount at all participating AMC theaters.
3. The last active chapter of the Lando Calrissian fan club.
2. Kevin Spacey, amazed that Christopher Plummer was able to replace him so quickly as Stormtrooper #42.
And the number one kind of people who went to see The Last Jedi are...
1. AT-AT aficionados.

Haha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so, recently I had a visit on the Phile from a magician who doesn't seem to have the best luck. Well, he wanted to come back on and give us an update how he's doing. So, once again, here is...

Me: Hello, David, so, how's it going?

David: Well, I did a show last night and I did the Web...

Me: The Web? What's that?

David: Ummm... look at this video...

Me: I will later, I don't have time now. So, you did this trick called the Web? So, what happened?

David: Turns out someone had severe arachnophobia. I always ask if they're scared of spiders before starting, they said only a little bit. After the trick they were literally in the fetal position for several minutes.

Me: Ummm... I don't know what to say.

David: It was horrible.

Me: I bet. Well, good luck in the future, David, keep us posted. David Coppafeel, the world's worst magician, everyone.

And now for the pheature simply called...

Phact 1. MST SGT Benavidez suffered 7 gunshots, 28 shrapnel wounds, 2 bayonet slashes, a destroyed lung, and a clubbing while saving 8 lives. Ronald Reagan said of him, “If the story of his heroism were a movie script, you would not believe it”.

Phact 2. Faking the moon landing in 1969 would have been harder than actually going to the moon.

Phact 3. In 1980, Nauru, an island nation was considered the wealthiest nation on the planet. In 2017, BusinessTech listed it as one of the five poorest countries in the world.

Phact 4. Guam’s jungles have as many as 40 times the amount of spiders as nearby islands due to a lack of forest birds.

Phact 5. The entire U.S./Canada border is defined by a 20 foot deforested area called The Slash.

Out of all the guests I ever had on the Phile I wish my mum was alive to see this one. Today's pheatured guest is an is an English who is best known for her 1974 hit "I've Got the Music in Me" and "Don't Go Breaking My Heart", her 1976 duet with Elton John, which went to Number 1 both in the U.K. Singles Chart and the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. During her career, she has released 40 singles, three EPs and 12 albums. Her latest album "A Place Where I Can Go" is available on iTunes and Amazon. Please welcome to the Phile... Kiki Dee!

Me: Hello, Kiki, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Kiki: Hello, Jason, you have an interesting blog here.

Me: Thanks. So, everyone knows you from one of the most famous duets in the history of duets... "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" with Elton John. I am sure you have answered sooo many questions about that song over the years. Did you sing at an early age, Kiki? 

Kiki: I left school when I was 15-years-old in England, and I already singing with a dance band locally with a dance band and somebody heard me and I got a phone call asking me would I like to do an audition for a record company and I go signed at 16. It was pretty crazy. My dad took me down to London in the early 60s and the Beatles and Stones were just happening, it was around '63 when I signed. It was a ridiculous time to go to London, it was outrageous. I was from the north of England and at that time it used to take five hours on the train so it was like going to another planet. It was very liberating actually.

Me: Did you know you were gonna be a popular singer for awhile beforehand, Kiki?

Kiki: I had that thing when I was young that I was very open and stuff happened. I wasn't overwhelmed too much but I was very excited to be in the big city. I think I've always had this what I call my inner belief, I think it's got to be so inside you that I was going to make it in someway or another. It was just a kind of force I couldn't really explain. I think it's the same with actors and painters. It's not a kind of arrogance, it's a kind of knowledge. I thought I was going to do it but it took me ten years to get a hit record, so I slogged away for ten years.

Me: Didn't you ding backing vocals for Dusty Springfield? How the hell did that happen?

Kiki: The record company I got signed to found a manager for me and two weeks after he signed me when I was sixteen or seventeen he signed Dusty who was already quite a star over here in England, she's been in a group called Springfield's. I was quite star struck when I met her. That was an amazing beginning. We did a lovely version of a Carole King song called "Some Of Your Lovin'." I didn't know how big she was in America, Jason.

Me: What was she like to work with? Did you two get along good?

Kiki: The thing about Dusty is she had that thing where as soon as you hear the voice you know who it is. All the stars are like that if you think about it. You only have to hear one line of a song and you know exactly who it is. She had that unique quality beautiful voice. She was a little bit older than me, I was so young, I was really star struck. I was happy to get the experience singing and working with her because she was one of the first female singers who knew what she wanted. She stood up for it and she was a vey sensitive woman and had problems later on in her life, but I'd call her a diva in a good way. She had a real star quality in that sense.

Me: When your first single "Early Night" came out what did you think? Was it a big deal for you? 

Kiki: When I first got there I thought this was it, this has got to be it, I'm gong to be a star now, I'm going to have a singing career. Little did I know that'll be ten years before I got that record. The validation of a hit record which nowadays it's not important to me, but then starting out in the music business in the early 60s everybody in this kind of pop area wanted to get a hit record. I was a bit disappointed when it didn't happen straight away. When you're young you have nothing to lose, have you?

Me: That's true. Okay, so you recorded for Motown, which is kinda crazy, as that's a label in the states and had mostly black artists back then I think. How did that happen?

Kiki: Well, I've been singing and working in the U.K. and doing cabaret and all sort of things in the 60s. I met Robert Plant a couple of years ago, he came to one of my acoustic gigs, and he said, "You sang on one of my records in 1965." I said, "Really?" It was called "You Better Run" if anyone's out there and want to check it out. I did a lot of amazing things, but kind of behind the scenes. Then one day in '69 my manager got a phone call saying Motown was looking for someone from Europe to sign and do some recording and somebodies son in the admin side said they were interested in me and would like to bring me over and do some recording. I thought it was a wind up. Anyway, I went over there in '69 and I had an album out on Motown.

Me: How long were you there, how much did you record and was that a good experience? I imagine it was.

Kiki: I was only there for twelve weeks, and I only did four recordings. Two of the tracks were actually tracks that other people on Motown had recorded and they put my vocals on those tracks. It was a little bit mish-mashy. Of course with Motown they had a lot of great artists but it was a single's label in the 60s and you had to get a hit sing, no matter if you were Martha Reeves or Diana Ross, you had to be in a place where after 12 weeks I didn't have a hit song, if that makes sense. I don't feel any bitterness about it, it was just an amazing experience going over.

Me: Okay, so, now for the big question... hahahaha. Elton John. How and when did you first meet him? Wait, you were on his label Rocket Records, am I right?

Kiki: Yeah, Rocket. What happened was when the Motown thing didn't materialise the way I imagined it might some good came out of it because I met a young man named John Reed who in London was label manager for Motown and was 19-years-old. He was at EMI Records because Motown was going through them at the time. After the Motown thing didn't really fly I rang John a couple of years later asking what he was up to. I wasn't quite sure how to move forward, where to take it now as it was the early 70s. He said, "I just signed an artist to management called Elton John and we are going to start a record label. Are you interested?" It's interesting, if I never made that record I might've never met them. My career could of gone in a different direction.

Me: So, I am guessing meeting Elton changed your life quite a bit? Am I right?

Kiki: I never made me the big bucks. Ironically I'm more financially stable now than I was then. The Stones were like that, they never made any money until the 70s, everybody was ripping everybody off in those days in the music business. What I got from Elton was we were born the same year... I two weeks older than him actually, we had this sort of connection, but I don't know what it was but he knew of my career before he made it really. He was the person who said, "Look, you should try writing." He introduced me to people like Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, the people in the L.A. 70s music scene. Thanks, Elton, for getting me to write. It's been quite a bit part of my life writing actually.

Me: Do you still write, Kiki? Do you still enjoy it?

Kiki: I do still write but I haven't been very creative writing in awhile. I love it, it's a real puzzle, to try and write something intelligent that rings a bell. I'm a bit of a performer actually. I like a connection and if you've written a lyric and it connects people in a room when you're playing it live I find it very magical.

Me: Are there any songs that you wrote that you really like and are proud of?

Kiki: There's a few songs I am proud of. We have a program in the U.K. called "Desert Island Discs" where celebrities pick tracks and Keith Richards did it about a year ago and picked one of my songs. LOL. It was a song sang by Etta James, and I was really chuffed. The song was called "Sugar on the Floor." It became one of Etta's biggest songs so I was proud of that.

Me: You didn't just write pop songs, as people might think. You wrote for a bunch of different genres, right?

Kiki: I think looking back I am sort of envious of people that got one identity as a singer and as a writer. If you're a folk singer, or you're a jazz singer, if you're a rock singer, whatever it is, if you're in one area I kind of envy that in a certain extent. Someone once said to me, "If you've been born in the northwest of Ireland and you didn't leave the island til you were twenty you might've been a folk singer." I think that's a very nice thing in  someways but but I sort of dipped my feet in different cups of water if you like. I tried so many things and so I've come to terms with that now.

Me: Okay, before you had the hit with "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" you had huge hit with "I've Got the Music In Me," which was actually used at the American Idol Experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Did that song change your life a lot, or was your life at that time the same?

Kiki: I really enjoyed the success. In 1973 Elton produced a song called "Amoureuse" which is French for "in love" and I had a big hit in England with that, then I had the hit with "I've Got the Music In Me." So, I had two hits before "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" really. I think I was just enjoying the fruits of all my labour, and the recognition that I was getting. The fact that I toured America supporting Elton a couple of times I think that's why "I've Got the Music In Me" charted because I did a ten week tour in America. We got a lot of exposure with that song.

Me: In America you weren't as known as in England, is that right? Were you okay with that? Why was that, Kiki?

Kiki: I was always okay with it. After "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" was such a big record unexpectedly, I guess in a way there was a point where I questioned where I was going musically. Every hit I've had was so different fro each other. It was a big record, wasn't it?

Me: It sure was. My mum loved that song. Okay, let's talk about the video. I have to show a screen shot of it here...

Me: Did you think that all these years later over forty years ago people were going to be watching that thing? What was it like doing that video?

Kiki: It's crazy. We did that video in like a half an hour for a TV show over here in the U.K. It was before videos... no one was spending hundred of thousands of dollars on videos in those days. It became a promotional tool, didn't it? But it was just done for telly and it's probably just as well I didn't realise or I'd probably wouldn't of worn those dungarees. LOL. It had a certain thing about it, it wasn't cool, was it? It was sweet, it was nice.

Me: Yeah. I remember vaguely hearing once that Dusty Springfield was supposed to do the duet and turned it down and you stepped in. Is that how it happened?

Kiki: No. There's been some funny press about Dusty and I at the moment. There's a musical coming out in London about Dusty's life and apparently I'm one of the characters in it, I have no idea what it's like. There's some controversy about whether she wanted to "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" but to be honest with you it's all for the promotion, I don't know where it comes from. There's no truth in it at all. Elton was a big fan of Dusty, but by the time we did that single I've been working with Elton for three years and he produced an album for me. I would've known if Dusty wanted to do it. I got a phone call about this the other day and I said, "There is no comment to this, thanks very much for inquiring." LOL.

Me: Okay. So, what happened after you had this giant hit? Where did you career go after that?

Kiki: Elton produced the album that came out after that then I did an album in L.A. and I did things like "Stay With Me Baby." I worked with a lot of top L.A. musicians on that album but I didn't have a huge, huge success with them. They always did okay my albums but I think those two albums that came out after "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" were great to make but hen you had a big single like that on a pop charts... again it was the identity of the albums that you have to come out with stuff that people expect you to do after it. I was doing off the wall things, making different type of albums.

Me: So, when you do a show now what era do of your music do you do now?

Kiki: My semi-acoustic show's I do are packed with everything. We do a slow down version of "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," an acoustic version of "How Sweet it is to Be Loved By You," Joni Mitchell songs, Kate Bush songs, Frank Sinatra songs. It's just covers everything. The great thing about acoustic shows is you can bet away with more of a line up because everything comes under the acoustic umbrella so the tune doesn't sound ridiculous if that makes sense. If you had a four piece pop band and you tried to do such an eclectic material it'll sound a little bit strange.

Me: In the 80s you did some West End theatre. At that point you have done so many things where do you prefer to be? Do you like to be the one up front, doing theatre, doing backing vocals for someone else?

Kiki: That's a very good thing actually. The thing was, this is gonna sound very basic, but I've always been what I call a working artist... and I always needed to work, like people do, to live a decent lifestyle. I've never married so I never married a rich man or something like that. LOL. When theatre came along I knew it would be good to me after touring a lot and to do something ensemble. I did two shows in the 80s... I did an American show called "Pump Boys and Dinettes" in the West End and then later in the 80s I did a show called "Blood Brothers" which was very, very popular in the U.K. I don't know how it did in America but I know it went to Broadway and Carole King did my role. Musical theatre was such a different journey. It wasn't about getting a hit record, it was a different kind of pressure. I enjoyed working with different actors... I love actors, they're so clever. I've never done any real acting, or camera acting, which I kind of liked to have done, but it never happened that way. They do detective shows over here and sometimes I get asked will I play a suffering rock star and I say no. LOL. It takes experience to film as an actor I think and if you don't have camera acting experience I didn't want to make an idiot of myself. I loved doing it, especially "Blood Brothers." I did almost a thousand performances and I got to sleep in my own bed in London. 

Me: Where do you live now, Kiki? I want to say L.A., am I right?

Kiki: I live in a village full of thatched cottages about an hour and a half north of London. There's about 2000 in this village and I don't get bothered.

Me: Okay, so, you released an album called "A Place Where I Can Go" a couple of years ago with a musician named Carmelo Luggeri. Who is Carmelo, where did you meet him? How long have you been working together?

Kiki: Well, we met in '94. The guy who discovered Elton John, a guy named Steve Brown, who had been a life long friend of mine, he put us together and said we should go out on the road and do some acoustic shows and start writing together. We did and we stuck with it ever since. I've kind of got to that point where I thought I'm not going to chase rainbows anymore. I'm just going to make a living, do what I want to do, have the freedom creatively to do what I wanted to do. I've done one particularly unusual album in the late 90s called "Where Rivers Meet." It's very east west, it has a lot of Indian influences.

Me: So, this new CD has new songs and some covers, am I right? I really enjoyed the album by the way. What do you think of your new songs?

Kiki: They are quite spiritual, and some of our lyrics are quote philosophical. Sometimes when you have a big hit like "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," it's difficult for people to jump in thirty or forty years later. You got to move on haven't you, as an artist. You don't have to but it's about developing and like I say I feel nothing's perfect. There's a lots of things I'd like to happen but I'm very happy not chasing that rainbow like I just said. I'm trying to be authentic as I can. That's a good word isn't it? Authentic.

Me: Yeah, that is. How often do you perform?

Kiki: Well, we do a major tour every two years and we do odd gigs that come in. I was 70 this year so I sort of taken it a little bit easier and enjoying my day to day life and finding a balance.

Me: Good. Okay, so, I just read that Kiki Dee is not your real name. Where did the name "Kiki Dee" come from?

Kiki: Well, that was when I got first signed when I was 16. It was '63 and everything was either kooky or sunshine, "Sunset Strip," kinky boots, swinging London and they didn't think Pauline Matthews was appropriate for me. LOL. So they came up with this idea to call me Kiki Dee. Well, they wanted to call me "Kinky" actually and I said to my dad there was no way they were going to call me Kinky. I said I wanted to be singing in five years time and no way that was going to happen if I was Kinky Dee. So, they shortened it to Kiki and I sort of liked Kiki. It is a bit catchy. I grew into it to put it that way. I come from the industrial north and when I first told people they were going to call me Kiki Dee they were like "what kind of a name is that?" The good thing about it there's no one with a name like that.

Me: It is a pretty perfect stage name. Okay, did your parents ever see you in concert? They must of been proud of your success.

Kiki: When "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" was number eight on the charts going up to number one I rang my mum and dad in Bradford, Yorkshire, they never traveled really or been out of the U.K., I said to my mum on the phone, "Why don't you and dad fly first class to New York to see me at Madison Square Garden to see me open for Elton John, stay at the Waldorf Astoria for seven nights and then go home on the QE2?" There was a bit of a pause and my mum said, "Oh, love, we would, but we just booked our caravan holiday for that week." Anyway, we changed the plans all around, they came over. At that time I was going out with Davey Johnstone, Elton's guitar player, and Davey flew his parents out too. His dad was in wheelchair and was from Edinburgh, Scotland, and they call came on the plane together so it was a really magical time.

Me: I read somewhere that you met John Lennon. What was that like?

Kiki: What happened was in '74 I was in New York again playing at Madison Square Garden with Elton. It was at the time Elton played on a track of John's and Elton said, "If this gets to number one you have to come and play a song with me at Madison Square Garden." John said, "Alright, I will." It went to number one and he had to play. He hadn't played live for awhile and he did the performance. After the gig, which was great, John and his then girlfriend May Pang, went to visit Davey and I at the hotel and stayed the whole night. We just chatted and talked. John and I talked about the north of England, we talked about fish and chip shops in the north. It was just so lovely and it was just a normal conversation. In hindsight I think I could of asked him so many amazing questions. There was something nice not asking John Lennon about John Lennon.

Me: That's so cool. Okay, so, I have to ask what was the highlight of your career?

Kiki: I could pluck a lot of things out of the hat. I mean, and this is just from the top of my head, but when I first wrote "Loving & Free" in 1973, and I went to Elton's house to see if it could be on the album he was producing. I was so nervous, I could hardly play the guitar, and he loved the song and we went into the studio and I heard all these amazing musicians playing the song and it sounded amazing. I'll never forget that.

Me: I saw you were on a TV show in England called "MasterChef" a few years ago. What was that like? Do you cook?

Kiki: I don't cook. I have a frjend who is a really good cook said, "What are you doing?" And I said, "I don't know. I just got talked into it by an agent." It was so embarrassing.

Me: Haha. Kiki, one of the worse things about doing this blog is when I get to interview someone that my parents were a fan of. Both of my parents passed away in 2000 from cancer, and they would of loved to have known I interviewed you... especially my mum. Thanks so much for being here. I hope this was lots of fun for you.

Kiki: It was lovely, and I am sorry to hear about your parents, Jason.

Me: Go ahead and plug your website and I wish you well. Take care. 

Kiki: Thank you, Jason.

That was so good. That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Kiki for a great interview. The Phile will be back on Monday with Canadian musician Kirby. Then on Thursday it's A Peverett Phile Christmas pheaturing Sparks. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Pheaturing Marshall Crenshaw

Good evening, and welcome to the Phile for a Wednesday. How are you? Happy Hanukkah. On this first day of Hanukkah, I wanted you to know that I know it's the first day of Hanukkah.
Well, well, well, the results of Alabama's U.S. Senate special election are certainly special indeed. Last night, Doug Jones narrowly defeated alleged pedophile Roy Moore, becoming the first Democrat to hold that Senatorial seat in 25 years. Yep, despite an endorsement from President Trump himself, Moore still couldn't secure a victory in the deeply red state. If this is any indication of how midterm elections are going to play out, 2018 is going to be an interesting year.
After Republicans lost a Senate seat in one of the reddest state in the Union, people in the party immediately started blaming Steve Bannon. The investment banker-turned-blogger-turned-White House chief strategist-turned-blogger again backed Roy Moore in what he considered to be a populist insurgency. But alas, Alabama voters (thank you, black women!!!!) were dubious about being represented by an alleged pedophile. Republican consultants and commentators proceeded to dunk on him right away. The Bannon-bashing continued on TV this morning when Republican congressman Peter King called on him to leave politics, and said he looks like "some disheveled drunk that wondered onto the political stage." People from both sides of the aisle came together to celebrate that stellar burn. Other people also chimed in to say it's too late for the Republicans to try and distance themselves from the disheveled drunk. It's a month early, but 2018 has officially begun.
Ohhh boy. It turns out that Keaton Jones, the little boy who went viral when his mom recorded him talking about being bullied at school, is the son of a jailed white supremacist. See, this is why we can't have nice things. After Keaton's mother posted the video in which he talks about being bullied at school, he received support from tens of thousands of people on social media, some of whom were big name celebrities like "Stranger Things"' Millie Bobby Brown, Chris Evans, and Snoop Dogg. Now the attention is turning to his father, Shawn White, who, according to TMZ, is a white supremacist who's in a Tennessee jail. He's posted lots of racist stuff on his Facebook page, including memes saying "Keep Calm and be White Pride," and "Aryan Pride." White (apt last name) also has the words "pure breed" and "white pride" tattooed on him. Yesterday, Keaton's mother, Kimberly Jones, tried to explain away pictures of Confederate flags on her own Facebook page, saying they were meant to be funny. Maybe they're not quite as ironic as she's making them out to be?
Grab your blast shields and tell your family you love them because there's a war going on just outside your door. There's a war... on Christmas, and Ivanka Trump is leading the charge. Still silent on Donald's disgusting tweet insinuating that Senator Kirsten Gillibrand prostituted herself for campaign donations, Complicit Ivanka has chosen this moment (of all things) to defy the president's dogma. As everyone knows, it is President Trump who single-handedly revived the celebration of Jesus's birthday here in America, a day that otherwise went unnoticed with Obama in office. WE DON'T SAY "HAPPY HOLIDAYS" IN TRUMP'S AMERICA. American values are under attack. Ivanka converted to Judaism in 2009, and while that didn't motivate her to condemn her father for defending Nazis, it did inform her holiday greeting.
If you have not experienced Man Flu yourself, you may have encountered it through a man in your life sniffling slightly then collapsing nearby and bemoaning all the pain he is in, while you nearly pull an eye muscle from eye-rolling so hard. Man Flu may incite the sufferer to fail to partake in simple household chores and remind you of that time you took care of the whole house while dealing with a stomach bug or headsplitting period cramps. Now, a scientist... who is a man... has completed a study asserting that Man Flu is a real thing. According to CBC, Dr. Kyle Sue published an article in "British Medical Journal" detailing his study of Man Flu. "I've been criticized for exaggerating my symptoms when I had the flu," he said. "I thought. You know what? This would be an interesting topic to look into." Sue explained, "Since about half of the world's population is male, deeming male viral respiratory symptoms as 'exaggerated' without rigorous scientific evidence could have important implications for men." Sort of like men dismissing women's period symptoms for all of eternity? Let's throw in some more biology and consider pregnancy sickness, which, like period symptoms, can affect a woman's ability to function and negatively impact her status in the work environment. In his study of male and female mice, Sue discovered the the male mice had weaker immune systems. Sue believes this is because of men's higher lever of testosterone. "Testosterone is a hormone that actually acts as an immunosuppressant," he said, "whereas estrogen works in the opposite direction. They stimulate the immune system. So men with higher testosterone actually end up being more susceptible to viral respiratory and tend to get them worse." Sue said that men "are suffering from something we have no control over" in regards to Man Flu and "should be given the benefit of the doubt rather than being criticized for not functioning well during the flu or the common cold." Again: women, menstruation, pregnancy. As for the Man Flu "cure," Sue suggested, "Perhaps now is the time for male-friendly spaces, equipped with enormous televisions and reclining chairs, to be set up where men can recover from the debilitating effects of man flu in safety and comfort." Rejoice, men, I sure will!
Do you kids like Altoids? Well, have you seen their new ad?

True. Haha. So, one thing you might not know about me is I like to follow the rules. Some people take it just a little too far though...

Well played. If I had a TARDIS I would go back in time to see them film the first Star Wars movie. But knowing my luck I'd see them just film this and wouldn't meet anybody...

I'd just wanna meet Carrie Fisher again and maybe have sex with her. Wait. She was only 19 or so then. Never mind. Moving on... So, I was supposed to Google "Dumbledore" the other day but instead I Googled "Bumbledore" and this is what I found...

Hahahahaha. Man, Donald Trump Jr. sure tweeted some weird shit in his time...

Wow! My fucking brain just melted. Doug Jones sure is not wasting time in Alabama, people...

Ha! So, do you know who the world's biggest asshole is? I'll show you.

Yup. Okay, so, I saw this pic the other day...

And it reminded me of something. And then it hit me...

Hahahahaha. That cracks me up! Hey, do you know what net neutrality is? I'll help you understand...

See? So, a "friend" of the Phile wanted to come on here and talk about Trump's sexist Gillibrand tweet. So, here once again is...

Sarah: Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling, Clementine. Hello, Jason.

Me: Hello, Sarah. So, two days ago New York Senator (and future President?) Kirsten Gillibrand called on Trump to resign amid the growing number of sexual assault allegations against him. He didn't take it well.

Sarah: Which is why, early that morning while some of us were blissfully sleeping, the President of the United States went after Gillibrand on Twitter, Jason.

Me: Yeah, I know. He called her a "lightweight," a "total flunky for Chuck Schumer," and creepily implying she once tried to bribe him with sexual favors. Sarah, I think Senator Gillibrand is owed an apology from President Trump...

Sarah: Why? Because many, including the Senator, think that it's about sexual innuendo? Only if your mind is in the gutter would you have read it that way. So, no.

Me: I know fifth graders' with better comebacks than that, Sarah. You said the same thing to April Ryan at a press conference, Sarah. I love Ryan's facial expression after your "gutter" comment. It's just too relatable.

Me: SAME, APRIL RYAN. Same. Meanwhile, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand had her own response to Trump's Twitter attack...

Me: Thanks, I guess, for coming back on the Phile, Sarah.

Sarah: You're welcome, perv.

Me: Sarah Huckleberry Sanders, everybody.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, I have to mention something in case I forget. On Monday I was supposed to have lead singer of the Smithereens, Pat DiNizio here on the Phile. Sad to say Pat died yesterday, only 62-years-old. The group announced his passing on their website but with no cause of death was given. The Smithereens were one of my favorite bands in the 90s and Pat will be missed. I'm hoping to have another member of the band here on the Phile in a few weeks. Okay, it's time to talk football with my good friend Jeff.

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

Jeff: Always good to be back on the Phile. I've been sick for a few weeks now, plus having eye issues. But hey, other than that I'm just dandy!

Me: Jeff, I'm sorry to hear that. So, the reason the Phile is on Wednesday this week is because tomorrow night I am gonna see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. When are you seeing it? Are you excited for the film?

Jeff: All local theaters are sold out so I'm not sure when I will get to see it unfortunately. Plus work is really busy lately and OT and all, so hopefully soon! Of course I'm excited. I have a feeling it will be spoiled for me before I see it.

Me: I hope not. Okay, let's talk about NFL news... this is nice... The Steelers Facetimed Ryan Shazier from his hospital bed so he could celebrate the win with them. Do you think Ryan will be back playing with them next year, Jeff?

Jeff: I'm not a doctor so I don't know. I have a bad feeling about it though. Some of the things I read said he might not ever walk again let alone play football. They wore t-shirts and cleats in honor of Ryan for the game as well.

Me: This is a crazy story... There’s no love lost between the Dallas Cowboys fans and Philadelphia Eagles fans. Shortly after the conclusion of the Eagles-Rams game in Los Angeles, it was reported that Philadelphia Eagles star QB Carson Wentz, suffered a season-ending ACL injury. Did you see several Cowboys fans took to Twitter to taunt the Eagles and their fanbase? Why do you think they were so mean? When does this date back to? This is one of the tweets...

Me: So, what's the story?

Jeff: Yeah, I saw that. You know me, I don''t like cheering for injury no matter who it is. I'm not sure the year the fan was referring to but I remember watching it happen. The Eagles fans did cheer when WR Michael Irvin was injured. But Eagles fans booed Santa so what do you expect from them?

Me: So, any other NFL news?

Jeff: The biggest story of the week involves Texans QB Tom Savage. He took a nasty hit and was on the ground shaking. He was taken off the field but minutes later was back on the field. He only played one more series before coming out again. Many fear he was playing with a concussion, despite the concussion protocol that's in place to prevent that from happening. Plus New England lost on Monday! So that's always a good week!

Me: Disney has taken over another team tis week by the way...

Me: What do you think?

Jeff: That one is cool. Even if it is the Ravens.

Me: Okay, so, the fucking Cowboys beat the Giants, the Steelers won... ugh... how else did we do this week, Jeff?

Jeff: Must have been like a Freaky Friday week, because I went 0-2 this week while you went 2-0. So you gained on me. Steelers won, Giants lost. The only reason I'm winning as much as I am is because of the Steelers record over the Giants record. If it wasn't for that I would only have a 4 point lead, but I have a 13 point lead because of the Steelers.

Me: Ha! Alright, let's pick this week's picks... I say Raiders by 1 and Seahawks by 3. What do you say?

Jeff: My picks for the week are Jags by 4 and Vikings by 7.

Me: Great job. I'll see you back here next Thursday on A Peverett Phile Christmas 9. Have a good week, Jeff. Stay warm.

Jeff: See you for Christmas!

Hey, do you like trivia? Well, I have some you can use at the holiday party. It's time for just the...

Phact 1. In 2013, a Pizza Hut GM stood up and refused to force his employees to work on Thanksgiving, believing they should get to spend time with family instead.

Phact 2. Years before she was famous, Keira Knightley played Natalie Portman’s double in The Phantom Menace, and when the girls were in full makeup, even their mothers had trouble telling them apart.

Phact 3. Humans are the only mammals that develop breasts that are permanently enlarged.

Phact 4. Twenty-eight fossils of the largest extinct species of snake were discovered in a coal mine of Columbia. The Titanoboa lived about 65 million years ago. The species clocked out at about 48 feet long and weighed roughly 2,500 lb.

Phact 5. As a child, martial arts actor Jet Li was asked by Richard Nixon to be his personal bodyguard. Li replied, “I don’t want to protect any individual. When I grow up, I want to defend my one billion Chinese countrymen!”

This is really cool. Today's pheatured guest is an American musician, singer and songwriter best known for his song "Someday, Someway," a Top 40 hit in 1982. His great album "Field Day" was just remastered and reissued on vinyl, and his latest EP "Thank You, Rock Fans!!" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile, the great... Marshall Crenshaw.

Me: Hello, Marshall, welcome to the Phile. I have been trying to get you here on the Phile for years. How are you?

Marshall: I'm good. Thanks for having me. I'm in show business... I'm supposed to go around and talk about myself.

Me: Okay, you have been in the music business since the 80s, sir. I remember my dad playing your music in his home studio. Anyway, do you think your music and the way you are is a lot different from back then?

Marshall: Oh, god, I don't know. I guess I have to say I'm a more mature person who sort of understands how the world works. I don't know, it was fun doing all that stuff back in the day but there was a lot of pressure... self afflicted pressure and a lot of pressure from outside. I wouldn't change anything, I really wouldn't, but I still get up on stage and play with a rock and roll band. I'm so glad I have the strength still to do it. I mean I don't think there's a sell by date or an expiration date on that. I don't think there is an end in sight right now.

Me: You live in New York City, am I right?

Marshall: No, I live about two hours north of there.

Me: Ahhhh... Did you make a lot of videos back in the day, Marshall? Somehow I don't think you did... but then again we didn't have MTV where we lived on Long Island to my dad's chagrin. 

Marshall: Well, there was one for "Whenever You're On My Mind" and one for "Little Wild One." We went over to England to make the one for "Whenever You're On My Mind" and dressed up as pirates. MTV was pretty good to us the beginning but none of that lasted and we just had our little flirtation with mass culture. I guess you could say it lasted from about 1982 to 1987... it was over by then. After La Bamba it just kinda wore down.

Me: Your second album "Field Day" was just reissued on vinyl which was pretty cool. It's cool Steve Lilywhite produced it... anyway, what was it like recording your second album compared to the first album? And how did you get to work with Steve?

Marshall: A) It was nobody's idea but mine. It was simply that I wanted to work with him, there's no more to it than that. I did my first album and there was a lot of layering and overdubbing. I worked with a producer named Richard Gottehrer. Last time I saw him we were really glad to see each other and that was a few years ago. I actually was really happy to see him so I guess we are still pals. The first thing we would do is track the bass and drums. They were recorded together simultaneously. I would do just a scratch guitar and after that he would say, "I want you to put down six acoustic guitars for some thickening." That was his term... thickening. So, I'd do it but after it was all said I done I said I didn't really hear my guitars on the record. It wasn't me, it's just sound. I am the guy that played it all. Anyway, the next album I wanted to use a different approach. I didn't want a bunch of layering of instruments, I wanted to hear a band. I just heard a lot of Steve's records and I knew there weren't a lot of instruments on them but they still sounded magnificent, larger than life. So we got together and immediately hit it off personally because Steve is really a warm person and very charming. That was it. He as the only producer I talked to. I knew he was brilliant and exactly the guy I wanted to work with and that was it. The thing was though my A&R person in New York knew who Steve was and knew what I was on about but he was kinda an enigma in Burbank, they didn't know who he was and didn't understand why I wanted to make a record that sounded like that. They sort of just had a different set of ideas in their minds about what it would be. Then after the fact people said he must've got led down the garden path by somebody. Now there's a new vinyl reissue is out it's like all the old wounds have been reopened. I haven't been thinking about this for 35 years but it's now all fresh in my mind, the controversy about this album... I thought it was really crazy and stupid at the time. I didn't get it then, and I still don't get it. It is a great rock and roll record for me to make and it came from me and no one else.

Me: I'm sure you heard it recently on vinyl, Marshall, what do you think of it?

Marshall: Hearing it again I remember how proud of it I was and how much I loved it. After all that thing I felt like Phil Spector after "River Deep Mountain High." I tried to give you something great... fuck you, world.

Me: Hahaha. That's brilliant. So, after "Field Day" came out was it a lot easier for you making the other records or was it always a battle?

Marshall: I was pretty dispirited. I was kinda in a box I couldn't get out of in certain ways. But when it came to do the work I always gave it everything I had. I just kept going back doing that, doing that and doing that. After awhile I came to realize that show business is rough like a mine field. The fact I got anything out of it is a miracle. That's really true, you just gotta get out there. There's no law book or rule book or road map. Some people go through it and don't come out the other side. There's a lot of things that can go wrong, but... Also I can look back and think this thing I did was a mistake or maybe I did that to this person or the choice I made was a bad choice. Let's see, I came up with a little formula at one point... I said sometimes I was clueless, sometimes I was careless, and sometimes I was unlucky. It was either one of those three things. Anyway, I know the work I did was good. Some of it I like better than some others.

Me: So, you have a son, right? Is he into your music or your career? My dad was Lonesome Dave from Foghat and I was always into his career, music... even now than more.

Marshall: Yeah, I caught my son who was 9-years-old at the time sitting in front of our families laptop watching my MTV concert, and I started myself watching and listening and he said, "This really isn't bad. It's quite good." So, I Iistened and watched. But I noticed that when I turned my back to the camera you could see a bald spot on the back of my head. I thought I ran out of youth. Another thing, I started out kinda late. I was 28 when my first album came out and it was stressful and everything like that. Before I knew it there was a bald spot. He's now in high school. I don't know what he's gonna do in his life... he's got a black belt in karate. When he was 13 he took three years of classical guitar and he worked hard with that. He took piano lessons with a teacher and he worked really hard on that. He keeps a lot of things to himself, I don't really know other than he's going to community college in the fall. He's really a great kid and music is really this thing for sure. I have a daughter who also a brilliant kid. She's not into music, but in her own right she's pretty powerful.

Me: Alright, so, when you wrote your songs and recorded did you kinda do it for yourself or were you thinking of the public and what they would like?

Marshall: I wanted to get on the radio and have hit records and hit singles. I started out thinking at the ultimate rock manifest was having hit singles. That's really how I felt, I thought hit singles was it. 

Me: How would you describe your music, Marshall? I would say power pop rock.

Marshall: I think it way to simplistic to say it's power pop, which it isn't. That's not anything I wanted to do. To me power pop is like anglophile kinda stuff, and I was never an anglophile really. I mean, I might've been that, but I was other things too. Especially with the first album, and with "Field Day," I was really in tune with what was going around me in New York. I was really interested in forward looking stuff that was happening, and I did incorporate influences in what I was doing. It was just real immediate and of the moment... I was always paying attention to rhythm and blues. I'm not trying to be negative or anything, but to me power pop is a thing that exists in a little bubble. I was the opposite of that. Especially when I started out, it was a forward looking and back looking agenda... that was the real crucial thing with me. With "Field Day" I really wanted the club DJs to play my stuff. It was really important to me. That's my process, forward looking, backwards, or any other way.

Me: So, you were on Warner Brothers and Geffen, and now on smaller labels like a lot of people back then. Was it a big change for you? Did it really change how you made records?

Marshall: Around the turn of the century friends of mine and people that I knew that were working for major record labels saw suddenly there was a mass of mergers and stuff. Companies were being observed by bigger companies within a three or four year period around the turn of the century. All of a sudden instead of a dozen major labels there were two or three. Back in the Soviet Union there was only one record label called Melodiya Records and it's getting to be like that now. People at major record labels had to think about quarterly earnings. Their had to be growth at every quarter, others they'd be layoffs job cuts and stuff. It was just murder on people's psyche. All of the sudden the business was transformed. Corporatists came in and swallowed the whole thing. Of course they fucked it up like they fuck up everything. Anyway, when I was on Warner Bros. it was a company, they had to make a profit, and there was art and commerce. Commerce just as much as their was art for sure. My A&R person who I mentioned before just insisted I kept on the roster. A couple times I asked them to let me out after "Field Day," I begged to be let out of my contract but the higher ups at the label said they couldn't let me go, they believed in me. I think that was a lie but I signed a five album deal and they wouldn't let me out when I asked them too. Finally when the fifth album was done and the contract was expired, Karen, my A&R person, asked me to stay. She wanted to work on an extension and I said I didn't want to see that place again. So, I split. My contract was over, so I left. A little time went by and I ended up on the label I did "Life's Too Short" with. That was just a one time thing. After that I didn't want anything with a major label, so I got out the major label game. I could've gotten a deal with another major, I had one offer, but I didn't want it anymore. To me there was to many things absurd with it. I just thought I didn't want to do it anymore and wanted to do something else.

Me: When I first saw the first album cover, and pictures of you I thought of Elvis Costello or Buddy Holly. Did you have that look on purpose?

Marshall: I just had to work with what I was given. Like I said I started to lose my hair a little to soon and that put me a little disadvantage. I wasn't trying to look like Buddy Holly, or Elvis if that's what you're asking me. I just looked the way I looked. I found these glasses in San Francisco in 1979. They had British National Health frames, they just had them in this optometrist that I went to and I thought they were cool. I just happened to play a Fender Stratocaster, which is what Buddy Holly played. A lot of it was just happenstance, but on the other hand I was a nut about Buddy Holly by the time I was five-years-old. That's a fact. I was a fan of his when he was still walking the Earth. I was just a child, so any comparison that anybody made there was certainly some truth to it. I was definitely drawing influence from him directly.

Me: That's cool. You started late in the game, like you said, Marshall. What was that like with you when you were almost 30 and you had a big "career" change?

Marshall: I was kinda terrified most of the time. One minute I was just hanging out with my wife and brother, and a few other people and the next minute my life blew up. It was jarring, but I just look back and realize I was sort of terrified a lot. It was fun too.

Me: I'm glad. Back in the day I was a big Letterman fan and remember you being on his show many of times. I have a screen shot of you on the show...

Me: That's a terrible pic. Anyway, I am guessing he was a big fan, but I read you guys were close friends. Is that true?

Marshall: No, he just liked me. The only time I ever saw him was when I was on the show. That was the entirety of my experience with him. There was one time when I was on the show and he wanted me to do "Mary Anne" from my first record but I had to do something whatever my brand new album was. Someone came backstage and said would I consider doing "Mary Anne" instead of the song that's on my new album and I was like "are you crazy?" I wouldn't do it. Maybe I should have, I don't know.

Me: What other shows did you do? Do you remember?

Marshall: Merv Griffin... but I was on Letterman a few times. They would call me when someone else had cancelled, or they read about something about me in the paper, they would call me and ask if I was around. That was the "Late Nite" one. I was only on the CBS show once... I wasn't on a major label anymore so that didn't really happen. I was on a lot of TV shows... I had this conversation with someone else recently. I don't know, there was a dozen plus. MTV, they ran our concerts... you know, all that stuff. Maybe if I lived on the west coast I would of gotten on Carson or something. I don't know, I have no idea.

Me: Okay. I didn't realize you worked with the Gin Blossoms, which is cool, but I did know you worked on the great Judd Apatow film Walk Hard. I bet that was a great and fun experience for you. And you got to play Buddy Holly in the movie La Bamba which is cool.

Marshall: Yeah, all these things seemed to pop up on an almost cyclical bases. The Gin Blossoms thing came when things had sort of been dire for a little while. Then all of a sudden... boom. It was a miracle. Everything just sort of flipped upside down with that. It's sort of a typical show business career. Just a lot of different ups and downs and funny turns and stuff like that. I don't know.

Me: So, how did the Gin Blossoms thing happen?

Marshall: Well, it was really nice. There was a guy in the band named Jesse Valenzuela and he just kinda looked me up. He found me, which wasn't that difficult, and called me up and we talked and he said all these nice things. I heard of them before. There was one night I went to this joint in Nashville to see and hear a band called Will & the Bushmen and the leader of that band who I'm still friends with is Will Kimbrough. He's really a rock artiste and muso. I was watching Will & the Bushmen and there was this woman standing next to me screaming in my ear as the music was playing. Do you remember back in rock clubs when you saw people screaming in people's ears while the band was playing? This woman was screaming in my ear, and she was the wife of someone I know and like. She's telling me all about this band she supposedly manages out in Tempe, Arizona called the Gin Blossoms. She was saying those guys idolized me and I really wanted her to stop talking and leave me alone. She said she'd send me their album, so she sent me this album that they made themselves and sold at their gigs. It was a real vinyl album, I still have it. Anyway, that happened and two or three years later they had a hit record. I went to see them at Irving Plaza in New York when they were opening for somebody, just to check them out. But I didn't go introduce myself to them at that gig, I just watched the set and left. The next thing that happened I heard from Jesse and he said let's write a song together. We talked a little bit more and discovered we were both gonna be at SXSW in a couple of months. So, we were there and we just spent time working on this tune. The only thing was that it was understood that whatever song we wrote was gonna end up on this movie soundtrack. It was pretty great, I just slid into this amazing situation. It was already in place. They were gonna get a song on the soundtrack anyway. Anyway, we wrote this hit song is what we did which really blew up when it came out so that was nice. I did say on a panel at SXSW I wish I had twenty more of those... then I'd be fine.

Me: I interviewed Will on the Phile back in 2009. He's great. Anyway, for those that don't know the hit song was "Til I Hear It From You" from the Empire Records soundtrack. Growing up were you in different bands, Marshall? Or was being a solo artist the first thing?

Marshall: The first thing I ever did to make a living was play in a rock and roll band. I could never make dime until I got into a band that was making money.

Me: I didn't know as well that you were on the Was (Not Was) album "What's Up, Dog?" How did you end up on that album?

Marshall: That's right, I am. I happened to be friendly with those guys. I mean they are Detroit area guys. The three of us grew up in the Detroit area during the same time frame. I didn't meet them til we were out in the world. Don Was was still living in Detroit when I met him. He was producing a lot of English acts, a lot of dance music and stuff. We had a couple of musical friends from the Detroit area and we just kinda wanted to know each other because I heard their first record which was a thing called "Wheel Me Out." I still love it, it's a great record. I sort of knew of him from people I knew in the Detroit area. I was like, oh, great, Don Fagenson... that's his actual name. I just got a kick out of meeting him and we really liked it each other. The same with David, it became a thing I have like that who are from the Detroit area that came out of it the same I did. There's sort of a bond there... a homeboy factor or whatever you want to call it. I got friendly with those guys right from the beginning of both of our careers, right from the start. I did something on "Born to Laugh at Tornadoes" before the "What's Up, Dog" album.

Me: I mentioned Pat DiNizio passing yesterday from the Smithereens, and you toured a lot with one them. You worked on something of there's as well, am I right?

Marshall: Yeah, the first record that they did that I took note of... I don't know if they'd done anything before that, but they made an EP with Alan Betrock. He's the guy that opened the door for everything. He put out my first record on his label... Shake Records. Everything just gets traced back to dad... to Alan. Anyway, the Smithereens with him and I just got invited to come in and play. I played keyboards actually on a song called "Strangers When We Meet." There's one that they did with Alan that is on the "Beauty and Sadness" EP, they then recut the tune for their first album and that was with Don Dixon. He;s another friend so I got invited to that session too. I played the same parts but on the version with Alan they didn't have an actual Hammond B-3, so I just did it on a synthesizer. Anyway, I plated on that. I played on another one called "White Castle Blues." I've just known those guys right from the start.

Me: Pat was supposed to be on the Phile Monday. When you perform live do you do all old stuff, or new stuff as well?

Marshall: It's always 50% with newer stuff. I never do an oldies set.

Me: That's cool. So, what is next for you? Are you gonna make a new album? I know you released a bunch of EP's on iTunes. What are you working on?

Marshall: What am I working on? Let me see... I'm still out touring. I really could if I really wanted to, I could stop. I don't really need any new songs. I did some tour dates with the Smithereens a couple of years ago and that was supposed to be like a nostalgia type of show. I remember showing up at the first got and I looked at the calendar of events at the venue and more than half of the events had to do with baby boom or nostalgia. There's a lot of that going around, that really is what show biz is right now. When I did those EP's it was a really satisfying and artistic experience. The way the whole thing was designed there was also gonna be something new and there was always something I was working on to get the next thing ready. I have this real nice collaboration going on with singer songwriter Dan Bern. We got on a really good roll and wrote some songs of mine which are my favorites. Anyway, right now I don't feel compelled to make any new records but I won't say I'll never will do it. There's just this other thing I've been working on this documentary that I want to make. About three years ago a friend of mine put up a website about record producer Tom Wilson. My friend Irwin Chusid is a music columnist and DJ, author and stuff and a cool guy. I just had lunch with him the other day. Anyway, he put up this website about Tom Wilson and I was reading it and I just got pulled down the rabbit hole. At the top of the home page Irwin said, "I'm really hoping a film make or an author will see this website and just take the ball and run with it." After a couple of weeks I was just seeing the movie in my head. I couldn't get the idea out of my head and decided I was going to be the one to do it because nobody was going to and I didn't know if anyone was thinking about doing it. I just felt like this was an utterly vital American story as far as stories of popular music goes. This was a profound one. Anyway, I've been working on that for the first year or so I didn't know how I was going to do it, or the slightest idea how to start so I sort of pounded away for awhile. This way or that way, but all this time I was thinking about it. Then finally someone said why don't I just get a Kickstarter campaign, get some money and shoot some stuff myself. I did that, with some help. I crossed paths with some brilliant people. Now I have about sixty hours of material... things are looking really good. I don't want to go into a lot of detail as no one put pen to paper yet but right now things are looking very promising. I am working on that. I'm like seriously obsessed with it honestly.

Me: Okay. That's so cool. I mentioned in your intro the live EP "Thank You, Rock Fans!!" Is this from a recent live show, Marshall? It's so good.

Marshall: Oh, I didn't know about that. There's a live album coming out with that title that is coming out. I'm excited for the reissue of "Field Day." That's the main thing I'm promoting right now.

Me: Okay, I like that. So, I have to ask you what is your biggest regret in your career? And what is your best memory of your career is?

Marshall: There are lots. Some of them I can't talk about. There is one in particular... way back in the day I helped this guy named Allan Slutsky get this book project off the ground. He wanted to do a book about James Jamerson and he called me on the phone out of left field. I don't know how he got my phone number because I didn't know him. Anyway, he asked me to help him and I did. I got him in touch with somebody who sort of opened the door for the whole thing to happen. So then the Jamerson book came out and was a pretty big success then eight years after that I heard from him again and he's telling me he wants to make a film about the Funk Brothers. I thought that's a really dumb idea, how will that work I said to myself. Anyway, it took him a long time, over a decade to really make it happen. My wife and I went to the Woodstock Film Festival to see a screening of it and Allan did a Q&A afterwards. When it was over and we were leaving my wife said, "where are you going?" I said, "It's over. We're leaving." She said, "Go over and say hello to him and tell him who you are." I did and he just threw his arms around me and he said, "The New York premier of the film is happening in two months at the Apollo Theatre. You've got to be at the show and do a song." I really nearly flipped when he asked me but it happened... I got up on stage at the Apollo Theatre. At that moment I looked around and thought I don't care what anybody says, from then on, this is is, my ticket is punched. I really felt that way, like I win. It was amazing that I was standing on that stage. 

Me: Well, Marshall, that's very cool, and well deserved. I am so glad I got to interview you. 

Marshall: Thank you. I really appreciate it. Maybe I should of said a few more funny things. I know this was a little heavy but thank you very much.

Me: It was great! Go ahead and mention your website, sir, and good luck with the documentary. 

Marshall: Thanks.

Me: Great job. Please come back again soon.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile, kids. Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz and of course Marshall Crenshaw. The Phile will be back on Saturday with Kiki Dee. I wonder how many of my younger readers know who she is. Anyway, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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