Hey there, afternoon, welcome to the Phile. How are you doing? Spring is here, I'm so excited I wet my plants! Let's start off with a story about Jim Carrey... On Saturday, actor and now painter Jim Carrey tweeted a portrait he'd painted of White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, receiving mixed reactions on his artwork.
Along with the painting, Carrey wrote, "This is the portrait of a so-called Christian whose only purpose in life is to life for the wicked. Monstrous!" He didn't mention her by name, but it's pretty clear who the picture is of. At least one person found the painting "disgraceful" and was not shy about saying so. Someone else decided to ask conservative actor and all-around weirdo James Woods about it, and while Woods didn't reply, it's safe to assume he didn't like it. Others pointed out that the fact that Sarah Sanders has feelings, too. And still others swore they'd boycott any future Jim Carrey projects. Carrey has said that he's taking a break from acting to focus on painting, and it seems, politics. Last month, after the Parkland, Florida shooting, Carrey tweeted a picture of a bloody girl lying on an American Flag.
It's a sad month to be a Toys R Us kid (or Babies R Us Parent). The company has filed for liquidation bankruptcy and will most likely close its remaining 735 stores. The superstore toy chain was a wish list candy land for kids of the 80s, 90s, and 00s, before falling on hard times in the last decade. The company was founded in the Washington D.C. in 1948 and is expected to terminate some 33,000 jobs in the liquidation process. It had initially hoped to keep around 400 stores open, but the cash doesn't seem to be there and reportedly won't be able to pay its workers after 60 days. For the thousands of people who have Toys R Us gift cards and Babies R Us gift cards, this means spending them or losing cash. For customers holding gift cards of businesses that have entered the liquidation process, time is of the essence. People with Toys R Us gift cards that still have money on them, must be spent the gift cards or they will expire in the next 30 days. At this time gift cars can not be redeemed for cash, though New York Senator Chuck Schumer is urging the company to cash out unused gift cards. When national book store chain Borders when bankrupt and closed its stores in 2011, a staggering $210 in gift cards went down the drain. If you have an item that you would like to return, the company maintains its 90 days after purchase return policy with receipt. Though that will likely change the second liquidation sales begin. So message here is, spend that toy money ASAP! If you have cash on a Toys R Us gift card and but aren't sure if you have enough to cover that Hot Wheels track you've had your eye on, you can check the gift card balance. The toy store chain has a link on its website that will allow you to check the gift card balance. All you have to do is type in the gift card number and pin number. You can check your balance here... toysrus.com/toys/gifts/gift-cards. The pop up image on the link should look like this...
Social graffiti artist Bansky has unveiled two new pieces in New York. One of them a rat on a clock at 14th street, and the other a huge mural Kurdish painter, Zehra Dogan behind bars. The mural by the anonymous British street artist is 70-feet-long and roughly two stories high and located in lower Manhattan at the corner of Houston Street and Bowery. "I feel really sorry for her. I've painted things much more worthy of a custodial sentence," Banksy told "The New York Times" in a statement. The new Banksy was a collaborative effort with Borf, a graffiti artist who has spent time in jail for his artwork.
The mural consist of black marks, representing prison bars and serve as a marker for the number of days that Dogan has spent imprisoned. In one of the cells a portrait of the artist appears behind the marks, gripping at the jail cells bars, with one of the bars doubling as a pencil. The last set in the series simply reads "Free Zehra Dogan." Located above the Banksy mural on Thursday night was a projection Dogan's art for which she was jailed with the words "Sentenced to 2 years nine months and 22 days in jail for painting this picture." Dogan was officially sentenced on March 24th, 2017 because of her painting of the Kurdish town of Nusaybin that had been bombed by the Turkish army during battle with Kurdish militants. In the painting Turkish flags can be seen flying above the rubble of buildings. The painting itself is based on a photograph of the warfare that had been circulated heavily on on social media in the aftermath of the fighting. Dogan who is of ethnic Kurdish descent was first arrested on July 21th, 2016 for the painting and held until December of 2016 pending her trial. In a statement of defense she blamed the the government of Turkey in a now deleted Tweet that read, “I was given [a prison sentence of] two years and 10 months only because I painted Turkish flags on destroyed buildings. However, [the Turkish government] caused this. I only painted it,” Dogan is not only a painter but an award-winning journalist. Dogan has been an active journalist for the feminist Kurdish news site JINHA, working to fight for the equal treatment of Kurdish women. It was her work in a series of articles about the efforts of Yazidi women making their escape from ISIS captivity that earned her the Metin Göktepe Journalism Award in 2015. The award is given to journalists for outstanding writing in honor of journalist Metin Göktepe who was murdered while in the captivity of Turkish police in 1996. Since her imprisonment, Dogan hasn't bowed to the will of the state and with the assistance of other inmates founded another newspaper, "Özgür Gündem Zindan" ("Free Agenda Dungeon"). The Turkish government argued she's part of a terrorist organization. Despite Dogan's arguments that her painting was a reflection of her work as a journalist, she was charged with being tied to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The group is currently fighting against the Turkish government. “The defendant photographed a scene in Nusaybin and painted Turkish flags on destroyed buildings, read a statement from the Turkish government. "It is very clear that this painting is against the operations that were conducted as a result of the PKK terrorist organization’s barricade and trench policy, which undoubtedly includes violence and force." The prison hasn't allowed Dogan any art supplies to continue her painting, though there are a number of activists fighting to get her painting supplies so that she can continue her art.
Most logical adults wouldn't attempt to prove a point about school safety by pulling a weapon on a minor. But alas, there are still outliers who believe they should scare the bejeezus out of a child to (ironically) prove a point about safety. On Thursday, a grown-ass man was caught pulling a knife on a young boy in a PTA meeting. The shocking moment happened all while surrounded by school administration and parents who seemed too shocked to take action. "I'm considerably larger than you, okay? If something happened, if I decided to attack you, it would take the 3-5 minutes to come here. Probably ten if the traffic is bad," the man said, before pulling out a knife. "What are you going to do now?" the man said, after pulling out the knife. Due to the unexpected nature of his action, it took the surrounding adults a few long seconds before they started yelling for the man to put the knife away. He was soon after escorted off the school premises. It should be noted that the knife was closed, and it was clear the man was attempting to make a point about safety (and the slow arrival of cops). There did not appear to be a threat he would stab anyone, but that isn't the point. It was in no way acceptable for a grown man to pull a knife on a child, even in a "demo." Particularly, since it was abundantly clear this was not a plan both parties were privy to. The scene is made even more disturbing when you consider how long it took the other adults to do anything. People on Twitter were up in arms about the incident's terrifying potential. Some people felt this scene provided proof that arming teachers would not guarantee safety for students. Still, a few people defended the man's use of a weapon as an example.
'Member Hillary Clinton? Donald Trump does. The woman who, according to the popular vote, should be the first female president of the United States, was asked on Dutch TV about the other lady who sees herself as the heir apparent: Ivanka Trump. According to the explosive tell-all book "Fire and Fury," Ivanka entertains the fantasy that she could be the first Girl POTUS. Hillary begs to differ. Asked about #Ivanka2024 on TV in the Netherlands, the former Secretary of State told us how she really feels. "Apparently Ivanka Trump wants to be the first president of the United States," the host, Eva Jinek, asked. Before she could finish her question, Hillary jumped right in with, "That's not going to happen." "We don't want anymore inexperienced Trumps in the White House," she explained. When Jinek pointed out that 2016 has taught us to expect the unexpected, Hillary responded with an old adage, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I think the American people have seen themselves what happens when a reality TV candidate wins." Hillary went on to praise the #Resistance, citing the "pent-up energy to take our country back" and the good odds of Democrats winning the House of Representatives in November. Reminder: vote!
So, instead of doing this blog I was thinking I should be relaxing and listening to this album...
Maybe not. So, I said this before... one of the best thing about the Internet is you can see porn for free. What is bad though is if you have website or blog and someone gets bored reading it, they can leave your site and go straight to porn. But I thought what if I showed a porn pic here on the Phile, then my readers won't have to leave. The problem with that is what about if you are at wok, school or a public place... I don't want you to get in trouble. Then I came up with a fantastic solution... safe porn. Check to out...
See? All is good. Remember the game Connect Four? Well, there's a new version out...
I bet it's a hard game. If I had a TARDIS I would go back in time to Hollywood a long time ago and meet Charlie Chaplin. But knowing my luck he'll be too busy having a conversation with Helen Keller...
Are you a Green Bay Packers fan? They have a brand new logo for the upcoming season...
That's so stupid. That's as stupid as...
Here's what another teacher wants to be armed with instead of guns...
Hey, did you see the new Marval movie that recently came out? No, not Black Panther... the other one.
Hahaha. So, I saw this poster recently...
I thought it reminded me of something... and then it hit me...
Crazy, right? Parents, I hope your kids are as clever as this kid in school...
Nicely done. We've all managed to get to that point where it's like I want it but like... why does it take so much work? There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of in admitting you're just a lazy fucker sometimes when it comes to doing the deed. So stress no more because in continuation there is a short list of sex positions you can try when you're just not feeling it.... but you are? If you are wondering what I'm talking about, kids, here's a brand new pheature called...
Ah yes, the ever so infamous spoon. Literally, all you need to do is scooch your tush against his thing and you are good.
Hahaha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. It's a pretty lame one.
A lot of people express their celebration of St Patrick's Day by donning a green outfit or article of clothing. On Friday, it appears that Trump was attempting to celebrate St. Paddy's Day with a confusing clump of foliage he wore on his suit breast-pocket.
I legitimately want to know if this is part of the White House lawn?! Did Melania grab a handful of salad garnish to complete his outfit?! Just exactly what is happening? While the concept of Trump wearing watercress is way more of a gift than reality. He was in fact wearing shamrocks in honor of the visiting Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadker.
Spread the word, people. We will get her on the Phile.
The 77th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...
David will be the guest on the Phile next Monday.
Hey, you wanna laugh?
A brunette, redhead, and blonde are stranded on the edge of a cliff. An angel appears and instructs them to jump off the cliff and say out loud what they would like to land on safely. The brunette goes first. She jumps and says, "Pillows!" She lands on a pile of pillows at the bottom. The redhead goes next. She jumps and says "Feathers!" She lands on a mass of feathers below. The blonde walks up to the edge, but trips on a rock, yelling, "Shit!" as she falls off.
Today's pheatured guest is an American musician who is the leader of Gary Lewis & the Playboys. Yup. Haha. A few years ago he released a new sing "You Can't Go Back," which is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Gary Lewis.
Me: Hey, Gary, welcome to the Phile. How are you?
Gary: Hi. I am good.
Me: Cool, so you are still playing after all these years which is great. What are your audiences like today?
Gary: We're playing to the same people we played to in the 60s, except now their bringing their kids and they are bringing their kids so I'm being exposed all the way down to 10-year-olds.
Me: Ha! So, what do you think it about the music from that era that still has an appeal, Gary?
Gary: I think because there were no heavy messages whatsoever. We sang about life experiences that were usually good. Even if it was a break up song it was still good. There's nothing anger based about 60s music. You can understand all the words, it tells a little story. People like that. I even got an e-mail from a 7-year-old girl that said, "Mr. Lewis, I just love all your songs because my grandmother songs them to me when I'm going to sleep." I made a new folder on my computer that says "young fans." That happens more than you would think with very young people.
Me: So, we'll talk about your dad in a few minutes, but let's talk about your mom, She was a musician, right?
Gary: Yes, she was a big band singer with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra in the 40s, Ted Fio Rito also. My mom sang until she was eight months pregnant with me when she quit the business.
Me: Was your dad acting then?
Gary: No, my dad didn't know Dean Martin for two more years yet. He was still working like busboy jobs at clubs, miming to records. He then met Dean in '47, but they might've met in '46 but didn't do anything til '47. Then in 1948 they were going so good that Hal Wallis at Paramount Studios got a hold of him and said "I have to fly you out to L.A. We gotta talk to you about signing a picture deal." So, we all flew out from Newark, New Jersey about 1948 to Los Angles and they signed a picture deal.
Me: Do you have memories of your life before Los Angeles?
Gary: No. The only thing I remember is a fleeting memory of riding my tricycle down the hallway of my apartment building. That's it.
Me: What was your dad's act like then? Was he working a lot?
Gary: My dad said after I was born he had to work three shows to make enough money to get me out of the hospital. Me and my mom went home in a cab because he had to do another one. My dad and Dean would work a lot at the 500 Club in Havana, Madrid and those places were owned by the "crooked nose guys."
Me: How did their act start out, Gary? Do you know?
Gary: My dad told a guy whose first name I was Skinny, because the singer for the night got sick and couldn't do it and my dad said he knew a guy that could come in and sing. He's a really good singer, and they did a lot of funny bits together. Which was untrue. So, after the first show Dean was singing and everything like that and they didn't do any bits together so after that first show Skinny says, "So, where was the funny stuff?" My dad told me this word for word. My dad said, "Oh, second show." My dad ran backstage, got with Dean and they wrote down bits on a cocktail napkin and they were very funny. It was like they had rehearsed forever. It just happened so perfectly. My dad told Dean to be the good looking guy and he'll be the "monkey." So, after that the club was packed full every single night.
Me: Do you remember seeing the show or anything back then?
Gary: I remember when I was about 3 there were no people hanging out with them, no phone calls, it was just his record act thing I guess. I remember all of a sudden there was a lot of people hanging out. There was a lot of action and feelings. I remember that change but it didn't have that effect on me. I just thought he was happy all the time.
Me: Was your dad the brains behind the operation?
Gary: Yes, Dean was very happy not rehearsing, coming on to the TV stage, and just doing it. That was the reason for their break up. My dad wanted to continue doing more and more and more, writing, producing, editing, he wanted to do everything...
Me: Did this put the entertaining bug in you, Gary?
Gary: I thought it did. I thought because of my dad it gave me an interest in show business. But later on I realized that I was meant to be out there singing and in a band. My singing definitely did not come from my dad. My mom, the voice of an angel, I'd even go out and by 78s of the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra with her singing. At that time they would put the singers name on the record label like Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra featuring Patti Palmer. I got my singing from my mom, I know it.
Me: How old were you when you started to play professionally?
Gary: I was 18 and going to a senior arts college in Pasadena, California that was called the Pasadena Playhouse. I wanted to go there because even though I wanted to take regular classes and everything to get the final grade you were graded on the plays you did. Well, they stuck me with all these great tragedies. "Othello," "Oedipus Rex," and stuff like that. I had to wear leotards and tights on stage. Well, when I stepped out on stage and everybody knew me all of a sudden the play became a comedy. I didn't know what I wanted to do, I had no idea. All I knew was I didn't like that. Then at some point one of my classmates says, "Hey, have you heard this new group called the Beatles?" I said, "Beatles?!" I remember laughing and saying they'll be gone tomorrow.
Me: Hahaha. So, growing up what kinda music were you into? Who were your influences?
Gary: Oh, pretty much pre-Bealtles... "Runaway," "Love Potion #9," Bobby Vee music, pre-British invasion stuff.
Me: So, when you first heard the Beatles what did you think?
Gary: Well, the first Beatles song I heard was "Love Me Do," and all of a sudden I opened my dorm room window and I hear different Beatles songs from all the houses coming out of the windows. I was going oh my God, it's in the air. The Beatles, I said, that's it, man. I already knew how to play drums and guitar. I learned drums when I was 5 and when I was 16 I started teaching myself guitar. So, I thought I was gonna form a band from my different classes and see if we can play sorority parties and just that stuff. Actually when we started playing for the college fraternity and sorority parties all we wanted to do was get chicks and drink beer. That was like what a reward. I think it's still that way, you know.
Me: So, didn't your band play at Disneyland? How did that come about?
Gary: I formed the band in January of 1964, and by May we started doing auditions for places to get jobs for like a week or two. In L.A. at that time they had clubs for under 21, so that's what we were going for. We were doing auditions and all of a sudden this inquiry comes in from Disneyland... holding auditions for June, July and August of '64. We went out there, we auditioned, we got the job in he summertime of '64 at Disneyland. Everything was going just great, we were filling those places.
Me: Where in Disneyland did you play, Gary?
Gary: We played at many different places on the property, but we played mostly in the space bar. The stage comes up and we're playing and everyone just zooms in around the stage. The kids were just going nuts and we didn't even have a hit.
Me: What did you guys play there?
Gary: Everything that was a hit at the time.
Me: So, what happened after Disneyland?
Gary: We played there after a month a good word was getting out everywhere, so one night the head of A&R, Snuffy Garrett of Liberty Records was out at the park with his family and he stumbled across us. After one of our sets he came back stage and hands me his card and says he likes to talk to me about doing some recording. Now isn't that the way everyone wishes it would happen? Boom... it just happened. That was actually the very beginning.
Me: So, you started making records and now were competing with the biggest band in the world... The Beatles. What was that like?
Gary: Snuffy knew how to pick hit records and when to put them out. He would never put out one of my songs when a new Beatles song came out. He said we would wait two or three weeks, let it go up because the time we were going to go up they're probably gonna be going down a little bit. But he didn't know the Beatles would stay up there for 98 weeks. Hahahaha. It always worked out, myself and the Beach Boys were the only guys who were able to stay in the top ten with the whole British thing. You noticed the 70s, 80s and 90s never had one big group or one big person. 30s: Bing Crosby, 40s: Sinatra, 50s: Elvis, 60s: Beatles... boom, it stopped.
Me: How long did it take for you guys to leave Disneyland and get into the recording studio? Was it a quick thing?
Gary: Four months. Everything had to be reviewed by my mom and the lawyers, and everything like that because I was a minor, I couldn't do anything. My mom got me the greatest deal because I never, ever stopped getting my royalties... to this day. They never revert back to the company. Before recording I went to Snuffy's office and he said, "I got this demo, but don't listen to what it sounds like. I've got ideas. I have this guy that works with me, he's really good with arranging named Leon Russell." I'm listening to the thing and it was by a guy named Sammy Ambrose who was doing the demo and "This Diamond Ring" sounded slow. Snuffy said, "I think this is a great tune for you." I wasn't gonna argue with him because I'd sound pretty stupid or whatever. Isn't t funny that "This Diamond Ring" was our very first record, it was the biggest one we ever had. Probably sold enough to give me 12 gold records.
Me: Okay, Gary, I just realized something... I have been interviewing people here on the Phile for 10 years and I think you're the first guest I ever interviewed who had the number one song in America.... that was a singer. Well, I had Mike Stoller, but for singers you're it. Congrats. What does that feel like, having a number one hit?
Gary: That's nice for you. Well, we were exited to the point that we thought we were kings of the world already. We were the kings, we were the top. Nobody's better. All that self-absorbed stuff. Snuffy Garrett told me we better calm down right now. He said, "Do you know how many one-hit artists there are on the world? We gotta concentrate on number 2. If we can get number 2 then we might be on our way, Don't think about your great success, think about the next one." He brought us right back down to earth and all of a sudden we weren't feeling much like kings. Like we just got told off.
Me: Actually, you're not the first... there was Kiki Dee, Alicia Keys, Colin Hay, Alannah Myles, Matthew Nelson, and Howard Kaylan. Damn, I'm impressed with myself. So, what's the story about the song "Green Grass"?
Gary: After "Just My Style," the fifth single Snuffy wanted to put out "Sure Gonna Miss Her," and I thought it should've been "Green Grass," because we had both of those in the can already. That was the only argument we ever had. He won. "Sure Gonna Miss Her" was in the top ten, then he put out "Green Grass" which was also top ten.
Me: So, who were the Playboys, Gary?
Gary: David Walker on rhythm guitar, Allan Ramsey on bass, David Costell on lead guitar and John West on cordovox which looked just like an accordion.
Me: I was gonna ask you about that... why a cordovox in the band?
Gary: Because I was taking drum lessons when I was going to that theater college in Pasadena, at this music store just down the street with Jim Keltner who worked at the store and I was taking lessons from Jim Keltner and John West who played the cordovox was in the store. One day when I walked in he was in this little music room where you could play the instruments, he was playing this cordovox. I said, "Wow, that sounds really cool." So I approached him and he said he'd love to be in the band. It wasn't til I stopped playing drums in the band that I hired Jim Keltner.
Me: Cool! Jim is on my bucket list of people I want to interview. So, once the hit records started happening did you do a lot of touring?
Gary: Lots! Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars tours... ten acts on a bis for 6 to 8 weeks of one nighters... they were charter busses too. Everybody was having so much fun, we were so excited to be on the road doing what we do. We were all young.
Me: What was the craziest thing you did or saw on tour back then, Gary?
Gary: The Yardbirds were on the tour with Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page on guitar, and it was the Dick Clark tour and they supplied all the equipment, Every night Jeff Beck would destroy his amp... he would put the neck right through the grill and threw it off stage and stuff. Dick Clark fired him. So, the Yardbirds became a power trio and it was great, nobody missed anything. It was just phenomenal. Jimmy Page came one night to my room, just knocked on the door, I opened it and it's Jimmy Page standing there. He says, "Hey man, I've got a chick tied to the bed. Do you wanna come and see?" I said, "No, that's okay."
Me: Hahahaha. I would of went and saw. So, where did you find the Playboys and how long did that band last?
Gary: Except from John West from the classes at college. That band lasted until I got drafted in '67.
Me: I read you were the drummer which confused me... you played the drums?
Gary: I played the drums on everything. That was just the way we set up to do it when we came in to record "That Diamond Ring" and nobody said anything. So, he must've thought we were good enough.
Me: So, you sang from behind the drums in those days?
Gary: I did. At concert gigs, yeah.
Me: How did you move from the drums to guitar then?
Gary: I had too much energy. I didn't wanna stay seated. It was bugging me and bothering me. I couldn't see the people behind the cymbals and the drums and I knew they couldn't see me. So, I hired Jim Keltner and went up front and played guitar because I played guitar already. That was year and a half into things. Then I got drafted in late '66, had to go into the army, and had 7 top ten's in a row. It was like hitting a brick wall at hundred miles an hour. But I went in and thought to myself, well, Elvis did it, I could do it. Everyone said my dad could get me out of it. At a very long age I was surprised I had the insight to know that if I did that my life just wouldn't be right. I just went and did what I was supposed to do and they asked why don't I get a band together and tour the different bases all over the country. I could do a great service to them. I also had the insight to know better not to do that. If you're in the army and getting favoritism form these guys what do you think it would of been like? I said forget it, just give me a job and let me do it. And they saiid, "Okay, how about Da Nang?" Hahahaha. I saw some shit but wasn't involved in it. Luckily I got out of Vietnam after three months because there was a big military build up off Korea because the Koreans took one of our ships and they expected something to be happening. So, I went to South Korea for the next eight months which was much better duty.
Me: So, music changed in the late 60s and into the early 70s but you guys didn't really change, am I right?
Gary: No, because my dad always told me, he said, "It's a very bad thing to work out of your style." It's like him not bring funny anymore and trying to work. So, me singing "Purple Haze" wouldn't seem right, I didn't wanna do it. Now that I think back on it I wonder how was I so smart to think about that stuff?
Me: In 1969 you released three albums... which no one ever does anymore. Why so much music?
Gary: What Snuffy did, he didn't just pick out the songs that were gonna be on the album, he over recorded. Like we are doing an album but we are gonna cut 30 tunes. He wanted to have choices about how he could fix this, make this really good, he never trapped himself with just twelve. We were recording for anything that would come out.
Me: So, were you still using the Playboys from before then?
Gary: No, it's all new. There's been tons of Playboys over the years but as long as I'm there it's okay. I also realized when I go out on the road at my age I had to have four guys from each position that I could call. Some of the musicians get offers into the type of music they might like better. When you're younger you're tighter as far as stick together, this is it, we're young, Well, we didn't say that. Haha.
Me: So, how did you dad finally find out you had a band?
Gary: I told him when "This Diamond Ring" was number 20 on the charts. My mom bought us all our equipment, bought the recording time, did everything like that and she said if this fails she has to come up with an excuse where this money went. She didn't want me to tell him yet. So, we rehearsed at our house when he was out of town. He didn't read anything about music, just "Variety." He was that focused on his thing, He knew everything else which was nothing, except kids stuff. When I finally told him I brought the first gold record that Liberty gave me and I brought it on the Paramount lot to him. He shut down production and everything and said his son wanted to talk to him. That's a cool thing because if I were to call him on the phone and needed to talk he would shut everything down.
Me: That's cool. You and your dad didn't talk for years and years, right, before he passed?
Gary: There were good things. Hahaha. We shall leave it at that.
Me: Okay, so, you stopped playing for awhile, right? What did you do then? Did you work anywhere?
Gary: I bought a music store in the Valley in California and I sold drums and guitars and accessories and everything. I did that for twelve years until 1984. I was drinking and everything and at times I was into doing various drugs too. But the reason for all that was was I didn't know what to do to help myself. So, I had to kill this pain, it was killing me. It was the pain of being huge, being raised rich, not having any idea how to live my life without all those extra people to do things, I had no idea how to live.
Me: Wow. Okay, so, how did you get back out playing on the road?
Gary: An agent called me in '84 and said, "Hey, man, the 60s are coming back." I said, "Who is this?!" He says, "I know I can book you sixty to a hundred date a year." I thought to myself, hey, if he could do it, great. So, I told him to book them and I'll work it. I started working, I started making money again, and now it wasn't so bad to drink and to do drugs. Hahahahaha. In '85 I did the second Happy Together tour and that got my name out there as far as press, and good write ups, this and that. I started to feel like people are applauding me. That catapulted me into better money, better venues and stuff. I didn't have to come up with anything new because people were getting old enough to where they wanted to hear the music they grew up with.
Me: So, how are you doing now, Gary? Still touring I know, am I right?
Gary: Yeah. In 2003 I went into detox, a month of rehab and it was real hard. In AA they tell you we only ask two things of you... don't drink and change your whole life. That part about changing your life is on-going. It's constant work. Every day you gotta think differently and you got to come to think there is a power greater than you that's running the show. I thought I could run the show and look what happened. The first five years of my sobriety was a constant struggle. Trying to think right, trying to learn how to live sober again. That's very hard. I didn't know how to use an ATM card. It was all too confusing, and then the meetings I went to they said just do what we say and keep coming back, and I always thought when they said "keep coming back" that meant you don't know shit, but you will. That's exactly what they're saying. All of a sudden in my sixth year of sobriety I got it. Just happened. All of a sudden I didn't have to think about not drinking anymore. It was just there. I don't think about it ever anymore. The rewards are so great. Tremendous rewards for living right. I love it.
Me: So, who inspires you musically, Gary?
Gary: What I like to do is I'll never drift far from rock and roll. My songs from the 60s were good songs, and very acceptable back then. My mind is more rock and roll now. Let me give you an example... Marty Stuart, it's country but it's straight ahead rock. I love funk but I could never do it, I don't have that. I love Earth, Wind & Fire type stuff, the Commodores, that kinda stuff. Bass is a killer to me.
Me: Cool. Gary, thanks so much for being on the Phile. I hope this was fun. Mention your website and take care.
Gary: Garylewisandtheplayboys.com. It was my pleasure, Jason.
That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Gary for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Sunday with Jim Babjak, guitarist for the Smithereens. 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