Monday, May 14, 2018

Pheaturing Brad Elvis From The Handcuffs

Hey kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? I have to mention this... today would been my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. If they were still living I wonder what they'd be doing to celebrate. Hmmm. Anyway, moving on... Caitlyn Jenner must have had conflicted feelings about Mother's Day. On Mother's Day yesterday, she posted, and then later deleted, an Instagram post saying she was "blessed" to have "so many amazing moms" in her life. However, it's true that a lot of the mothers she used to be really close to (Kris Jenner and Kris' three daughters Khloé, Kourtney, and Kim Kardashian) are not currently in her life, due in large part to claims Caitlyn made in her autobiography. The Instagram post Jenner shared included four pictures. The first two were never-before-seen pics of her daughter, Kylie Jenner, who just recently became a mom (to baby Stormi with rapper Travis Scott). That's not surprising, but what is surprising is that the other two moms she included in the post were Kim Kardashian and ex-wife, Kris Jenner, given their feud. Here's another weird thing... why would she leave out the other two Kardashian girls, Khloé and Kourtney, both of whom are moms? Did she just not have any pictures of those women with their babies on her phone, or was the slight intentional? But before anyone could finish reading into the situation, Jenner deleted the whole post! So who knows. Was that Jenner's attempt at a reconciliation? And if so, was that reconciliation just shut down hard? Also, did Kylie get mad that Caitlyn included pictures she herself hadn't chosen? And really, what was up with snubbing Kourtney and Khloé. So many questions, so few answers!
Despite having no security clearance or experience in diplomacy other than soliciting foreign governments for money for his family business, Jared Kushner has been tasked by his father-in-law with making peace in the Middle East. It is not going well. Donald Trump has officially moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, an exciting moment for Evangelical Christians who think that it'll help bring forth the rapture, but a bad one for people hoping for a two state solution. Palestinians have been protesting the move at the Gaza border, and over 40 people have been killed (and 1,600 hurt) by Israeli forces. While all this was going on, the Kush's voice made a rare public appearance as he spoke about the embassy move as huge for the "journey to peace." This is not what the "journey to peace" looks like, my dude.

It's almost like he made things worse.
It is with a heavy heart I report that all those adorable photos of Meghan Markle's dad so wholesomely studying up on England before his daughter becomes a duchess are fake news. Thomas Markle Sr. was spotted reading Images of Britain: A Pictorial Journey Through History at a Starbucks in Mexico... and reading about his son-in-law-to-be at a local Internet café. He was even spotted walking with weights (#SheddingForTheWedding) and going to the tailor, making for an adorable "getting ready" montage that would work perfectly with "Walking on Sunshine" in the movie.

With some creepy screenshots of CCTV footage, The Daily Mail revealed that the pictures were staged, and Mr. Markle scored around $180,000 for selling them. Meghan's super fame-hungry half-sister Samantha told the press that the photos were her idea, but it wasn't for the money. "I'm entirely the culprit. I said to him to show the world 'I'm getting in shape and getting healthy' so I suggested it to benefit him and the royal family," Samantha said. According to TMZ, this debacle is such a big deal that Thomas Sr. is no longer going to the wedding. "Thomas says he suffered a heart attack 6 days ago but checked himself out of the hospital so he could attend the wedding. He's now decided not to go because he doesn't want to embarrass the Royal Family or his daughter." Damn. Looks like the British royal has a strict policy against grifting... unlike the American Royal Family.
In a glorious tribute to male of the species' habit of misplaced confidence, "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" U.K. host Jeremy Clarkson done fucked up his one job when he insisted that he knew about ibex. "I’m not even going to look at the screen. That’s the correct answer," Clarkson said, when the contestant answered that an ibex is a type of deer. Welp. An ibex is a goat... a very majestic goat that can scratch its butthole with its own head.

Clarkson was officially inducted into the Backpedaling Hall of Fame when he insisted that he's "seen ibex boinging along and they definitely looked like deer." The poor guy was promptly eliminated, loosing £15,000. Sad!
Gender reveal parties and photoshoots seem to be all the rage nowadays, but not everyone is on board with them. Just Google "gender reveal parties" and you'll see. However, if every "gender reveal" photoshoot turned out like this, I have a feeling they'd be much more popular. When Gracie Gonzalez found five abandoned puppies alongside a Texas railroad track, she knew she had to take in the little fur-balls and see that they get adopted. She posted about the pups on Facebook, and eventually caught the attention of Carlye Allen, a photographer from Lufkin, Texas. "I saw a post about the puppies and forwarded it to my friend. She and her husband were wanting to adopt a rescue pup, and I thought that this one would be a perfect addition to their family," Allen told WISTV. "I drove two hours to pick up the puppy, and my friend drove three to meet me." Then Allen had a stroke of genius: a puppy-reveal photoshoot with one of the pups and her new mom, a woman named Joy Stone.

Even better? Stone didn't tell her husband about the photoshoot, and nearly gave him a heart attack. "Her husband (Stone) had no idea that we had this up to our sleeves. I was a hostess for a shower the day prior and happened to have a tank of helium and extra balloons in my trunk," Allen said. "I joked about doing a gender reveal to my friend, and she loved the idea. Fifteen minutes later, we were in my yard snapping pictures." "When my friend brought the puppy home, her husband was in shock (she posted a video on her Facebook)," Allen added. "He was thrilled to welcome Rey (they're avid Star Wars fans) Dakota (also avid Cowboys fans, lol) Stone into their family." Congrats to the new puppy parents!
I was thinking, instead wasting time doing this blog thing I should be listening to this record...

Ummm... maybe not. If I had a TARDIS I would go to see Queen Elizabeth when she was young and attractive, but knowing my luck I'll go back too far and see her during her World War II service...

So, did you hear about Channing Tatum's new movie? If not I have the exclusive of the movie poster here...

There's 27 of those bloody movies? Man, I only saw the first one. Haha. So, back in the day on the Phile I would show you some pics that looked photoshopped but are not. Like this one for instance...

Casey Anderson has raised grizzly bear Brutus since birth, and invites him to Thanksgivings. That's nuts, right? So, parents, if your kid did this school work what would you do?

Haha. I think it's funny. Alright, so you heard of the Avengers, but did you hear about the Revengers. No? Here's one of the action figures...

Haha. Speaking of the Avengers, you know in Infinity War when Thanos snapped his fingers? Well, it seemed that affected a lot of different "universes" as well...

That's so stupid. That's as stupid as...

Haha. Okay, so, you know I live in Florida, right? Well, there's stuff that happens here in Florida that happens nowhere else in the Universe. So once again here is...

Word problems can be a real doozy. One minute you're trying to figure out the answer to a math or science problem, and the next moment you're dividing Sarah's bucket of apples by Tom's razors and your brain is a total mess. Most of the time, these problems are absurd or inane, but occasionally the scenarios can border on outright inappropriate. At least, that's what the Florida father Omar Austin found when he peeped his 11th grade daughter's take home science test. One of the problems approached the science of blood types with a very Jerry Springer approach. The question read, "Ursula was devastated when her boyfriend broke up with her after having sex. To get revenge, she had sex with his best friend the next day. Ursula had a beautiful baby girl 9 months later. Ursula has type O blood, her ex-boyfriend has AB blood and his best friend is type A blood. If her baby daddy is her ex-boyfriend, what could the possible blood types of her baby (NOT) be?" Understandably, Austin was alarmed to see such a bizarre revenge-sex scenario being used in high school curriculum. He quickly shared the test question on his Facebook with demands for the school district to do better, and his post went viral. While speaking with the local news station First Coast News, Austin shared exactly why the language alarmed him. "Those type of questions should be left for reality TV and soap operas, not an 11th grader's anatomy class. The words 'baby daddy' and 'baby mama' being used, that's foresight. The fact that she's having sex with one guy, and to get revenge on this guy she has sex with his best friend the next day? I mean, that's not something I would want to teach any student."   In response to the viral debacle, the Duvall County Public Schools released a statement acknowledging the inappropriate nature of the word problem. "The question was highly inappropriate and was not part of a district assessment. We are thankful to the parent who contacted the school directly to share his concerns. Immediately upon being made aware of this matter, school and district leaders began conducting a review of the situation. Appropriate and corrective action will be taken." While all of the recourse all feels completely appropriate, one looming question remains: what did Ursula name her baby daughter?!

This might be a hard one... if you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so, someone recently came on the Phile hoping he can use this blog to get a date. I have no idea how that works, but he wanted to come back and try again. So, kids, please welcome back to the Phile...

Me: Hey, Heywood, welcome back to the Phile. So, how's it ben going?

Heywood: Not so good, I was at a club the other day and met this girl and said, "I'd like to call you. What's your number?" She replied, "It's in the phone book." I said, "But I don't know your name." She said, "That's in the phone book too."

Me: Oh, man, that's rough. So, what do you think the Phile can do to help you?

Heywood: I have some pick up lines I'd like to use on your female readers... maybe one of them will like me.

Me: Oh... okay... give it a shot.

Heywood: Ladies! My two favorite letters of the alphabet are E and Z.

Me: Huh? That's very, very lame, man.

Heywood: Ladies... theres a party in my pants and your invited.

Me: Um... I think that's enough...

Heywood: I'm addicted to yes, and I'm allergic to no. So what's it gonna be?

Me: It's gonna be you have to leave.

Heywood: Okay, I'm gonna go out to the clubs tonight. Chow, ladies.

Margot Kidder 
October 17th, 1948 — May 13th, 2018
Not kidding.

The 80th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Phile Alum and author who put this book together, Shelly Ambrose will be on the Phile next Monday... a week from today. So... do you wanna laugh?

A student asked his teacher how old she was. She promptly said, "Thirty-nine and holding." Then the student asked, "Well, then, how old would you be if you let go?"

Today's guest is the drummer for the cool band the Handcuffs whose latest CD "Waiting for the Robot" is available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. He can also been seen on the road playing drums for the Romantics. Please welcome to the Phile from the Handcuffs... Brad Elvis.

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

Brad: I'm good, thanks, Jason.

Me: Okay, so, before the band you are currently in the Handcuffs, you have been in a lot of bands, right? Was your first band Screams in the 70s?

Brad: My first band was actually nine years earlier. I played a couple of shows when I was a teenager like high school dances and things, that was back in the 1900s. Ha! I have done something like 4300 shows at this point. And every gig was great.

Me: That's good. What was your favorite show you have ever played?

Brad: Probably an Elvis Brothers one. Ironically it was after a record deal and all that stuff. It was the little resurgence we had in the early mid-90s. We split up in '96 then did one more show.

Me: You were in a band called Screams, which only had one album out in '79. Why only one album, Brad? What happened?

Brad: We were on Infinity Records and they only signed a few bands which was cool. They had a band called New England which was a pretty good band. We actually did a show with them at the Tower Theater in Philadelphia. Spyro Gyra, some band called TKO, and Robert A. Johnson. We did better than the TKO's, and the others. New England probably did okay. We did the Van Halen tour which was a big thing, for about four months to the very end. We played the L.A. Forum which sold out and they liked us a lot. Then we went to England on our own tour, we were on "Old Gray Whistle Test" and all that, we were doing well, getting good reviews. When we were there that's when we got the news Infinity was going to be dropped from MCA. It wasn't 'til many years later I was talking to our old manager about it. It just threw us for a loop. Within one year we recorded an album, they put us in these big halls, we rode a tour bus, a tour on our own In England, and when we were on tour over there we found out Infinity was no more. Infinity had no money so couldn't afford to fly us back. Our manager had to go to the Infinity people that were left over who loved us in England and they had to beg MCA, "you gotta give these guys money and fly them back home." We flew home and were sitting in Champaign, Illinois going well, that was fun.

Me: When that band ended what did you do and think, Brad?

Brad: Well, I thought I never had a straight job my whole entire life, I just played music. I kept living my dream or whatever. Back in the day when they had record deals that was always the dream, I wanna be a rock star, I want to play in front of people and lights and all that kinda stuff. We had this dream, and it became true for the first time and we had had this record deal and it wasn't like we weren't doing well or were on a decline. We were playing the Marquee and in two days they were saying, "oh, by the way, you are going home," We were fairly young and we thought, now what do we do. It was more of a scramble, I don't think we had time to be bummed out. We went back to playing clubs where people never heard of us.

Me: So, where are you from originally, Brad?

Brad: Champaign, Illinois, which was a good little music town. It was a university college town, and a lot of musicians came out of there and had success. It's about two hours from where we grew up. We just stayed there over the years. The Elvis Brothers came out of there, and a few other bands.

Me: So, did Screams have a single?

Brad: We weren't in the charts and on the top 40 rotation. Someone said we were once an "on the radar" on "American Bandstand." That was probably the record label promoting us somehow. As far as the single, I'm trying to remember... there was a 12 inch that came out that had "Paper Dolls," and the other side I think was "I Play For You." But 45 wise there was "Imagine Me Without You," which is a big power pop favorite, and then "I Play For You," which was the power ballad. In England we had "Imagine Me without You," and "Paper Dolls," which was the other single. They had great picture sleeves over there. They also had a great picture sleeve or "Imagine Me Without You" which was kind of unique.

Me: Okay, so, how did Screams end and The Elvis Brothers start?

Brad: Screams went back to playing clubs and we did that for another year, we made some demos and things, and they were great. We were a really cool band and we had some really cool songs. In fact, with the Screams album that was the first batch of songs we ever wrote. By the time the album came out and by the end of 1979 we had a crap load more of songs. By the time we broke up we had about 60 or 70 extra songs. Everybody in Screams wrote songs, and with The Elvis Brothers it was the same way. Even before Screams I was also fortunate to being around pretty good songwriters. Anyway, that was a pretty good upbringing. With The Elvis Brothers, between the three of us we all wrote our own songs and had about five or six albums of stuff laying around. Towards the end of Screams, in the last six months, my old school chum and bandmate in those days was Graham and are got him into Screams. We tried to seek out other record deals, but it was hard. Record labels back in the day, I don't know what they do nowadays, but back then they were like "well, they got dropped so why would we want them?" That was New Years Eve in '80, we decided that was gonna be our last gig. Now it's 1981 and I took a little bit of a break and I sort of jumped into one "girlfriend" to another. Haha. At this point I've been playing in bands for ten years, half of my life and now I'm stuck. I thought I just need to put my head on a little bit and work on songs. That didn't take long and I threw a band together and started the band. Graham was in town, he moved to Champaign and he was playing with someone that had a record out. Actually the guy who wrote "I Play For You," for Screams and Rob was in a band called Cold Kitchen who were on Epic from '78. We all had this past from this point. Graham was in the Jets, a power-pack who had a hit called "Loverboy," and the B-side was "Paper Girl," on Twin Tone. The three is us were just doing our thing and some point Graham had this idea. I had the first Stray Cats record, I collect records, and early on right out of the age I was told to check out this band from England called the Stray Cats produced by Dave Edmunds. We never heard anything like that anymore like "Runaway Boys," which was kinda heavy. Graham was all into that and said we should start a rockabilly band just for the fun of it. Let's have some fun and play some old rock and roll songs. That came together quickly for fun and our first show was a this tiny bar and it was charming and fun and pure rock and roll, and with our bunch of personalities it just took off like wild fire.

Me: So, where did the name the Elvis Brothers come from? You guys weren't brothers and you were the only Elvis...

Brad: The only reason we called it the Elvis Brothers was because Rob and Graham sang like the Everly Brothers together. Literally one night before we played the gig at tis little bar that no one knew, but Rob knew a guy, we were still trying to figure out a name, While we were sitting there doing one last rehearsal I thought this was so cool, we all grew up loving the Beatles, I thought this was so unique and so cool it was more like the Everly Brothers. Rob looked at our set list that we had which was all pretty much all cover songs, except maybe one or two originals we threw in that fit, we had about a dozen Elvis songs and we had about two or three Everly Brothers songs. We were like Everly Brothers? More like Elvis Brothers. We didn't hardly have any Everly Brothers songs in the three sets we put together. We had like a million Elvis songs. We were on the floor rolling, we thought it was the funniest thing.

Me: Looking you guys up the other two guys had the stage names of Graham Elvis and Rob Elvis but your last name was already Elvis, and you changed that to Brad Steakley. Why?

Brad: A couple of weeks later we were on stage and Graham said, "Oh, by the way, we are the Elvis Brothers. I'm Graham Walker, this is Rob Newhouse over here on guitar and back here we have..." While he's saying that I'm just thinking I'm gonna say a funny name like Brad Presley or something. "And over here we have..." And I yell out, "Brad Elvis!" Graham's eye light up and he goes, "I'm Graham Elvis and this is Rob Elvis and that's Brad Elvis, and we're the Elvis Brothers. It just took off and here it is in 2018 and I still go by Brad Elvis. Steakley is my real last name.

Me: Ahhh. That's crazy. So, how did the Elvis Brothers get so successful?

Brad: September 11th, 1981 was our first show and it took off so fast like a rocket. Even out first show we had like two encores. Graham and Robbie sang like the Everly Brothers and were three good looking fellas and we were just making fun of it and goofing around. If we were gonna be serious we would never of named it the Elvis Brothers. Anyway, by December we played 28 shows, so we just took off, and the phone started ringing off the hook, So, as you can imagine by the end of September, October and November we were getting booked like crazy. December I literally have in my book 28 nights. Graham and I and our wives at the time actually took a two week vacation at the end of December and went out to L.A., and we were buying clothes and fucking hanging out. We were just going crazy, we never had this much money you know. We were goofy, and kinda making fun of it, we had a funny name, we were really good and we could burn on these songs, and we were starting to throw more original songs in that would fit. To answer your question by December we knew we had something going on here. The manager that I had mentioned already, he came to see us, he told me a couple of years ago and he unfortunately passed away in 2016, he loved Screams and we started a band together, and he said, "I remember coming to see you at the first show at Chico's and after the first set I remember thinking uh-oh. They have something." Within a few months back then we got so busy I told him to get a different drummer and carry on.

Me: I was so into the Stray Cats, and still am, but I wish I knew about the Elvis Brothers back then. I wish my dad was alive so I can ask him... I bet he knew who you guys were. I looked you guys up and I love the song "Fire in the City." Was that the only official video you guys made?

Brad: Yeah, and I remember catching it a few times on MTV. We were medium airplay which was quite a bit. I actually caught it a few times and hit the record button only Beta. Then later with our third album which was an indie thing we did three videos for that.

Me: Did you guys do a lot of TV then?

Brad: No, we toured a lot and were in a lot of teen magazines and rock magazines though.

Me: Did you tour with Stray Cats?

Brad: No, but a promotor tried to put us with them early on but we are signed and already had a pretty big buzz. They weren't really that many rockabilly bands at the time. Apparently they heard of us and didn't want us to open for them.

Me: The second album sounds a little different to me, more glossy and 80s sounding. Did the Elvis Brothers fans like that?

Brad: Yeah, they didn't mind. By the time we recorded out first album, like i said, we started off doing just cover songs, and by September '82 we weren't really going anywhere we thought maybe we should move on and do something else and kind of do what we always did and write rock pop type of songs. A year or so later no one needed a rockabilly band, but in someway I think that's why we got signed. CBS guys at Portrait saw us, that's what labels do. "These guys are popular right now so let's have our version of the Stray Cats." They liked us a lot and when they saw us we were probably doing some of those covers, and the rockabilly kinda originals that we had, mixed with our hook pop songs, and they liked that. We were a trio and had that look. Early on I had my hair all rockabilly style, but then I thought I was gonna make my hair all spiky and stuck out weird, which was influenced by Terry from Fun Boy Three. So, we were starting to move away from it a little bit. We still got out in that category as a rockabilly band.

Me: After the Elvis Brothers you were in a band called Big Hello. With each new band do you feel jaded, or do you like to start new projects? Does that make sense?

Brad: Let's see, it's quite the opposite of feeing jaded I think. Neither band ending was my fault or my bands actually. I always got good reviews about my drumming or my stage presence or my songwriting whatever. I know what I'm capable of and I know I can still do this. I know I can have success... if so and so can do it I know I can do it. I know what I can do, I am capable and I'm the Energizer Bunny here. I keep going and I'm creative so I write songs, recored them and I wanna go out and play them. I kept on going and had Big Hello, and kept on releasing records with that. I always feel that I haven't achieved what I know, I just keep going and people enjoy watching me play, and stuff. 

Me: What do you think of the music business now now that you are in the Handcuffs?

Brad: There are no record deals now within the last couple of years. When we grew up we had a specific dream of I want to be like the Who or Badfinger, or whoever we grew up listening to. Now probably around 2000 or so, actually Big Hello and Handcuffs had another record label story. Now musicians who are 16, 17, 20, however age they are, think they are gonna start a band, play gigs, then they're gonna record some stuff, put it out, everyone is gonna steal it off the Internet, they won't make any money, they'll have to pay to go on tour in a crappy van, sleep on people's floor. A part of it is being creative and it's in your heart, at the same time what's the pay off? What is the goal? Maybe they''ll be on a commercial, which is not a bad thing either nowadays. I'm talking about a real good rock and roll band, I'm not talking about them gonna be on "The Voice," or "American Idol." A lot of people do it that way. Sparks would not be on "The Voice," or the Kinks. I don even consider that stuff. There are bands that are doing it though, God bless them, rocking, playing shows and touring. 

Me: When I first read your bio I was like you're the drummer with the Romantics? What? But I thought that was Clem Burke... but then I looked it up and saw they had a bunch of drummers over the years. I can't believe you have been with them for 15 years this year. How did this happen?

Brad: Yeah, it was a good thing. Clem Burke suggested me for the band. How it came out was one of those faith things, the Blondie reunion was happening and he said he was gonna be out touring with them and asked me if wanted to be in the Romantics. I asked what were they doing and he said nothing. He said they didn't believe him but he was gonna be out for two years. Little does he know he's still touring with them. He asked me what I was doing and I said we just started this new project called the Handcuffs but we weren't playing, we were just working on songs and recording stuff. He said I need to start playing with the Romantics, they needed to get out there and promote their new record they had at the time. Well, I was around if they wanted to do some dates and stuff. I went out to L.A. and when I was out there I got a call from them. I came in and tried it out and I have been with them ever since.

Me: That's so cool. Now with the Handcuffs, your wife is the lead singer, am I right?

Brad: Yeah, lead singer, rhythm guitar.

Me: How did you guys start to work together and get connected up?

Brad: I had a couple of versions of Big Hello early on, and then I was up in Chicago and it looked like Elvis Brothers was coming to an end, or at least to a point where I thought I need to be doing some of my own songs. The guitar player from Gentle Giant was in my early Big Hello band, and we started out as a trio. I put an ad in the local music newspaper and she responded. We talked and I didn't know who she was and she didn't know who she was talking to for the longest time. She didn't call me to be in the band just because I was in the Elvis Brothers or something. It turned out she heard of us and liked the show. We always hit it off great musically and she had great songs also. That started up the Big Hello thing and I was married at the time We were in the band together for a couple of years and my marriage fell apart for whatever reason. I was then I don't want to go out with her, I don't want to turn into Fleetwood Mac. We were like best friends already and literally for a year or two we avoided that. Eventually we were constantly talking to each other about this and that and were like what are we thinking? We had a really good thing, she was always there for me and I was always there for her, so that's how we got together. We three albums, and a vinyl EP, a cassette, all kinds of stuff with Big Hello. That was a good band. It was my band bit then we got to the point at the end it was her and I doing everything. I always tried to keep it equal with all the band members this and that, and had a little bit of a dictatorship because I have to have a hand a little bit saying yes or no. But we got to the point where we thought why don't we just do our own thing together. So we came up with the Handcuffs.

Me: Where did the name the Handcuffs come from?

Brad: No one had had it, and we grabbed it and trademarked it. I said I think I have a band name, we did a quick search and couldn't find anything. There's two of us, we are handcuffed together, so we're basically the Handcuffs, the two of us, but as time goes on we had a few different band members. They're probably relieved they don't have to do any of the business end of it and pay for anything. We do all that, songwriting, arranging, and booking, and shows.

Me: Do you mostly play around Chicago or do you go on tour?

Brad: We mostly play around Chicago, we've played in L.A. before, we played in New York, we've played in Nashville, a quick drive up to Milwaukee. We've played around in other places, but we mostly played in Chicago. The line-ups great, we're a really good band. Working on a new record. 

Me: When do you think we'll see a new Handcuffs album?

Brad: Gosh, these things take so long but we just started on it. Hopefully this year I would think. There's so much to do. We've got five songs tracked, and we are still dubbing stuff. We just started last December or so. We've got eight other tracks I'm gonna lay down, then we got to mix it, master it, then there's album covers, print the stuff, get photos. The first album we really liked and were proud of it and got a lot of different licensing and things. The second album we were like wow, it was better yet, we got some good reviews, third album was this was the best album we ever recorded. This new stuff we are like this totally rocks. We are so excited about it. I want people to hear this, they are gonna be totally knocked out.

Me: How often do you play with the Romantics?

Brad: Usually April to early September every week there's a bunch of shows. I look out the plane window and think when is this gonna end, I'm not 22 anymore. We go out there and give it our all and totally rock. We played at this giant festival in Belgium last August, and it as all these 80s bands. We were out there just rocking and we got off and the promotor goes, "Finally! A rock band! You guys gotta come back next year. You guys just totally rocked, it feels so good to hear a band totally rocking again."

Me: So, is the Romantics the side thing or is the Handcuffs the side thing?

Brad: The Romantics is the side thing. It's not really my band but I've been with them so long, I'm playing all their songs. They love me and I love them, but my heart is with my own band.

Me: That's cool. Thanks a lot for being on the Phile, Brad.

Brad: Thanks, Jason. We went though my whole career. Haha.

Me: Yeah. Mention your website and please come back when the next CD comes out. 

Brad: Sure. and

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Brad for a fun interview. The Phile will be back on Sunday with actor Felix Silla. Thanks gonna be a "short" interview. Haha. I wonder how many of you know who Felix Silla 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

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Pheaturing Rita Wilson

Hey there, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Sunday and Happy Mother's Day to all the people who've been taking care of me since my mom passed. The time has come, once again, to let our mothers know how much they mean to us. Even if your mom is no longer with us (or not the most savory parent), it's likely there's a mother in your life who deserves a boost. While technically, we shouldn't need an annual holiday to remind us to give our mothers a call, gift them with some flowers, or take them out to breakfast... we live in a busy world where these holidays help guide our expressions of affection.
Melania Trump is accused of plagiarizing her "Be Best" initiative. Here we go again. History is repeating itself. Last Monday, First Lady Melania Trump finally unveiled the plan for her anti-cyberbullying initiative, and officially named the campaign "Be Best." The campaign focuses on online behavior, bullying, and weirdly, opioid use? Uh, sure. But critics are already accusing the first lady of plagiarizing the material from a 2014 Obama pamphlet. DO THESE PEOPLE EVER LEARN!?!? In fact, the entire packet Mrs. Trump released in correlation to her campaign seems to be nearly exactly the same as the one the Federal Trade Commission released in 2014 under President Obama. No wonder it was so well received. Not only that, but people are also pointing out that the "Be Best" name sounds eerily similar to Michelle Obama's "Be Better" viral moment from 2016. Here we go again! In case you had somehow forgotten, Melania Trump was accused of stealing a large part of her 2016 Republican National Convention speech from a speech Michelle Obama delivered back in 2008. Oy. Well, regardless, we would love for Melania to share her anti-cyberbullying campaign with the one person who needs it most... her husband.
Setting up a dating profile is an intimidating prospect. Even the most confident among us can get flummoxed at how exactly to sell ourselves. Is it better to go the funny route, and post pictures baring all our flaws? Are we better off showing off the most (hot) polished versions of ourselves in order to lure new prospective mates in? What the hell is a "dating bio" even for, but to make us all doubt the most innate aspects of our identity? There are so many factors to consider when setting up a dating profile, and that's all before you're forced to make small talk with cute strangers. Given the anxiety-inducing hell involved in setting up an online dating profile, most of us will welcome any professional advice we can get. After spending time working at both Tinder and Bumble, the sociologist Dr. Jess Carbino has pinpointed one of the most common mistakes people make on their dating profiles. It's going to sound super obvious, but most tidbits of truth do. The most common mistake (spread across all ages and demographics) that Carbino has noticed is a lack of smiling in profile pictures. "We've been so socialized to believe that this sexy, smoldering look is theoretically appealing because we've watched people in movies and in Calvin Klein ads presenting themselves in this way. But the vast majority of people don't look like people in Calvin Klein ads," Carbino said. She went on to emphasize that attempting to look like a sultry (and unhappy) model in your photos "doesn't give off the type of sentiment that you want to be projected toward a potential match. You want to come off as kind and approachable, which is what smiling projects." Not only did Carbino notice that smiling boosted people's chance of matching with more potential partners, but other studies back up the theory as well. According to two experiments published in 2014 in the journal Cognition and Emotion, researchers found that the stronger a subject smiled, the more attractive they were found by others. The biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, who penned the book The Anatomy of Love also backs up Carbino's theory. "When you smile, those who see your smile, smile back, even if very briefly. And as they smile, they use facial muscles which trigger the release of neurochemicals in their brain associated with feelings of pleasure... and they are thus likely to feel happy in your company," Fisher told Business Insider.
Back in July of 2017, a woman identified by The Daily Mirror as "Ms. Wang" purchased a Japanese Spitz dog for roughly $190 from a pet store. Cute, right?

Only one problem. It was definitely not a dog. Ms. Wang tells The Daily Mirror that after taking her pet home, she noticed some strange things. First of all, the pup rejected dog food, only eating things like chicken breast and fruit instead. Then its fur got unusually thick, and its snout became very pointy. When she walked her pet, other animals seemed to be instantly afraid of it. Eventually she brought the animal to the nearby Taiyuan Zoo, and an employee confirmed her suspicions... that is no dog, it is a domesticated fox. Ms. Wang told The Daily Mirror, "The fur got thicker when it reached three months old. Its face became pointy and its tail grew longer than that of a normal dog." No wonder all the other animals were so afraid of it! For reference, this is what a Japanese Spitz looks like...

This is the fox...

Eventually, Ms. Wang opted to give her pet to the zoo so it can receive a more suitable diet and "better living environment."
The filmmaker Donisha Prendergast and her friends filmmaker Kelly Fyffe-Marshall, and Afrofuturist artist Komi-Oluwa Olafimihan were racially profiled after a neighbor claimed they were robbing their Airbnb rental. Prendergast, who is one of Bob Marley's grandchildren, said an anonymous resident called the cops on the three women as they exited their Airbnb in Rialto, California. Cops then proceeded to arrest and detain the women, despite documentation proving they were legally renting the space. The police openly cast doubt upon their innocence even after they made a call to the host of the Airbnb, who confirmed their reservation. Prendergast taped the whole incident, and shared it with her Instagram followers as yet another example of blatant racism in the U.S. Despite the complete innocence of Prendergast and her friends, the owner of the Airbnb claims the anonymous white neighbor wouldn't have made the call if the women had "smiled and waved." "If the kids had simply smiled at (my neighbor) and waved back and acknowledged her and said, 'We're just Airbnb guests checking out,' none of this would have ever happened. But instead, they were rude, unkind, not polite," the Airbnb host said. Upon receiving the neighbor's call, as many as seven police cars swarmed and surrounded the women. They were forced to put their hands above their heads, a helicopter hovered above them, they were asked for proof of the rental and then detained for 45 minutes. In lieu of this awful (and obviously racist) treatment, the three artists held a press conference in Harlem on Thursday where they expressed their plans to press forward with a criminal investigation of the white neighbor who called the cops. "We're probably going to sue to get the 911 tapes," Prendergast's lawyer Ben Crump said Thursday. "They [the police] didn't do anything to properly discern the situation. They literally told these young black people that they had to prove their innocence, that they were guilty until proven innocent." "There really is a huge problem with white people who call the police on black people for being black, and then police ask the black people to prove they're innocent and have right to exist in space," Crump concluded. Hopefully, Prendergast, Fyffe-Marshall, and Olafimihan all receive justice for this traumatic instance of racism. On that same tip, hopefully the white neighbor learns a huge lesson about her own racial bias.
"We are with the March for Our Lives, but don't tell anybody that." Parkland students and March for Our Lives organizers Dylan Baeirlein and Charlie Mirsky went undercover at the National Rifle Association convention in Dallas in a genuine attempt to understand the people who are so profoundly offended by survivors of mass shootings trying to prevent mass shootings. Baierlein and Mirsky strolled through the convention hall, checking out the merchandise, which included plenty of guns, rifles, and... record scratch... Nazi memorabilia. "Everyone's a normal person. They feel really free and safe here," Baierlein deadpanned. Baierlein observed that most targets and target practiced weren't shaped like any living things, but he unfortunately spoke too soon. Baerlein did make a genuine attempt to understand the appeal of the NRA. "These members feel at home here, and it's just a hobby for a lot of the people here. It's simply a hobby and it's what they're interested in and it's what they love. So when the NRA is under attack, it's as if they're home is being attacked," he explained. "They go on the defensive, and they're blinded by that kind of mindset." March for Our Lives' attempt to understand the people who have been attacking them non-stop sine they were attacked is laudable. Here's hoping that the NRA will send spies to a March for Our Lives meeting to see where they're coming from.
It's Mother's Day and some kids try their best to give their mothers something sweet like this kid...

Awe. Some Mother's Day cards are pretty rude to say the least...

If you were breastfed, you used to suck on your mom's breasts. That's pretty strange to think about, but it's true. You know, some people are just assholes...

I don't know about you but I believe in aliens... I come across them every day at work. But I think aliens have been on this planet for a long time... he's some proof.

See what I mean? Did you see Infinity War? So, you know when Thanos snaps his fingers and pretty much everyone goes away? Well, apparently it affected more than just the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU as the cool kids cool it. Check it out...

Awe. So, have you ever seen the website Man, some of those students are brutal when they do the rating. Check it out...

Damn. Hey, if you're a new mother you might wanna read this book...

Shit, I wanna read that book. Hahaha. So, I have to show this tweet I saw... just because it made me smile.

I bet you're smiling as well. Hey, wanna play a game?

So, which is it? Potato or Amy Schumer? Hahaha. Now for the pheature called...

You can't sink in quicksand. While it's easy to get stuck in and hard to get out of, it's impossible to sink because it acts as fluid twice as heavy as water, and you aren't dense enough to go under. It liquifies the more you disturb it, so as long as you don't panic, you'll only sink to about half your body length.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. I know it's not that hard to see. Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Things That Would Ruin Your Childhood
5. If you replace the "w" in where, what and when with a "t" you answer the question. 

4. Barcode scanners scan the white spaces in-between and not actually the black bars. 
3. Oranges are pre-sliced by nature.
2. The alphabet has been saying "HI" to you all these years. 
And the number one thing that would ruin your childhood is...
1. Queue is just "q" followed by for silent letters. 

Ha! That one I get. Haha.

The 80th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Phile Alum and author who put this book together will be on the Phile next Monday... a week from tomorrow. And now for some mother...

Phact 1. Leonardo DiCaprio was named Leonardo because his pregnant mother was looking at a Leonardo da Vinci painting in a museum in Italy when DiCaprio first kicked. 

Phact 2. When chimpanzee infants die, the mother will continue to carry and groom the dead body until she is able to move on. 

Phact 3. Every sweater that Mr. Rogers wore in "Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood" was hand-knit by his mother. 

Phact 4. In 2014, a pregnant single mom in Washington was investigated for welfare fraud after a DNA test showed she wasn’t the mother of her own children. When she went in for follow-up tests, doctors realized she was a chimera. 

Phact 5. Niccolo Paganini, regarded by many people to be the greatest violin virtuoso ever, was so good that he was thought to be the son of the Devil or to have sold his soul for his talent. Therefore he was forced to publish his mother’s letters to him in order to prove that he had human parents.

Today's guest is an actress, singer, and producer. Her albums "AM/FM" and self-titled "Rita Wilson" are available on iTunes and Amazon. Please welcome to the Phile... Rita Wilson. 

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

Rita: Thank you, it's a pleasure to be here. 

Me: So, I had actor Jeff Daniels here on the Phile last June and we mostly talked about his music and songwriting. Now you are doing a lot of songwriting, and are pretty good at it. Is this a new thing for you? 

Rita: Thank you. I think it's like a crash course in songwriting but I feel that I'm pretty lucky that in a certain sense because I'm able to do things that I really love to do. To act, write, produce, and do music now which came to me rather late in life. 

Me: So, did you always want to be a songwriter, Rita? 

Rita: People always ask me that and the answer was always yes. I think when you're younger so many other things come into it... fear, the ability to find your community. I grew up in Hollywood, California and went to Hollywood High School and I didn't know anyone who was in a band or music or knew anyone who did that and was a singer. I would of loved to have done music at that age but I just didn't know how to do it. The closet thing I got to songwriters was being a ticket taker at the Universal Amphitheater. The reason that job was so great was because I would take the physical ticket, tear it in half, go and count the tickets, as people were getting into the theater and watching the opening act. Then we had the privilege of watching all of the acts come through there during the summer so people like Jimi Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, Crosby, Stills and Nash, The Eagles, Steve Martin doing his comedy, Carole King, James Taylor... it just went on and on. I remember thinking oh my God, how do they get up there? How did they start? Where was their point zero? How do you do that? By then I already began acting and that was sort of taking precedence because I was working fortunately. But it was always in the back of my mind. I guess that's the one that got away, Jason, is music. 

Me: So, how did you start getting into music then? 

Rita: It wasn't until I had an idea to do a show, like a Broadway show or an Off-Broadway show that was going to be dealing with music from the 70s. I went to talk to a friend of mine, Jay Landers who is a very well known A&R guy about the music from that period. I told him what I was thinking of, I had my songs selected, he asked me if I was going to be IN the show and I said I didn't know, it was really too early to tell. He said, "Well, have you ever thought about doing an album of these songs and see where that takes you?" Before I knew it he introduced me to a producer, Fed Mullin, and we were going through songs and literally in a sort of surreal way I found myself making an album. LOL. That's really how it started. I don't think I would of ever done it just because... I'm too chicken and that point to do it and say oh, I'm going to be one of those actors who decides they are going to play music now. Oh, sign me up. I'll be with Russell Crowe and Bruce Willis and Eddie Murphy. LOL. 

Me: So, how did you get into songwriting, Rita? 

Rita: Songwriting started because of Kara DioGuardi, an amazing songwriter, she had done a musical called Chicago on Broadway, and I also played the same role, Roxie Hart, and we had great mutual friend who was our dance captain, Greg Butler and Greg said, "I think you should meet Kara, you'll really get along." So, after a few years we met and after she came over she said, "What do you want to do?" And I said, "To do? Oh my God, I would do anything to be able to write music like you. I can't do that because I don't play an instrument or read music." She said, "Yeah, but do you have anything that you want to say?" I said, "Oh my gosh. Yeah!" She said, "Okay, I'm gonna write with you." She brought in another songwriter named Jason Reeves who has written a lot of songs with Colbie Caillat, he wrote "Bubbly" with her and "Realize." He and Kara, we wrote out first two songs together, and one of them called "Grateful" ended up on my original album "Rita Wilson,." That started the process because with my first album, "AM/FM," which is all cover songs from the 60s and 70s, I had opened for the band Sugarland and Kristian Bush, the founder of that band said to me, "If you want to do any songwriting let me know. I'd love to write with you." So, when I wrote the two songs with Kara and Jason I actually contacted Kris and said, "Were you serious about that?" He said, "Absolutely." We wrote a song called "Everyday" that's also on the album. I guess I started to have a little more courage at that point, between writing in Nashville AND L.A., that's when I sort of found myself becoming a songwriter. 

Me: Is there a difference with whoever you write with and is it fun?

Rita: Oh, it's so amazing. The process of songwriting has been really humbling because I'm really seeing into people. In Nashville there's a real discipline, I don't want to say a procedural thing, it's more like a discipline. When I go down there I have two writing sessions a day, a morning and session and an afternoon session. They are just so facile in the process, that you can come in with an idea or a phrase or a thought or a story to tell... anything you come in with and they're able to quickly translate that into something that feels like the thing that you want to say. In L.A. it's a similar situation but I haven't experienced yet the structure community of doing two sessions a day. It's a much more, I don't want to call it laid back, but sometimes I've written songs in two days or three days, one day in L.A., sometimes they are done in a period of weeks. Every process is different but one thing I think is consistent, and that is... I said this before and this is just my own experience, but people would ask me what songwriting is like and I would say, "Like this: you meet a complete stranger, you fall madly in love, stripped naked emotionally, you make gorgeous musical intercourse and give birth to a beautiful song baby." It's like that intimate... hi, I'm here, nice to meet you, I am going to tell you this story that's breaking my heart, I'll cry a little bit, you'll cry too. We will fall in love, oh my God, this is my favorite song ever. LOL. 

Me: What kind of songwriting do you do when you write? Do you come up with the melody, the words? 

Rita: It's different each time and depends who I'm writing with. For instance, in a song I wrote called "Joni," I wrote with Jason Reeves and Nelly Joy, that was inspired by my love of Joni Mitchell, but it come out of a TV special called "American Masters," and Joni Mitchell was being featured. I have never seen this documentary before, and there was a lot of amazing information, and when the program finished I just started writing in my writing book a stream of subconscious thing about her and that she meant to me and what she did musically that was so unusual and fresh and unique. Sometimes when I'm writing like that certain phrases would come out and I circle them if I think they can become lyrics or things that might fit in a story that I'm trying to tell. Sometimes I have full choruses written in my head I come with, sometimes we start with a big blank slate and someone musically is doing something on a guitar or piano that sounds like it's feeling right for the idea. I love titles, I collect titles, sometimes I have to pull over the side of the road and voice memo them or something. It just happens when it happens and it's sort of like a desperation where I got to get this thing down on paper. I won't quit until I do. The safe way to do that when I'm driving in L.A. is to pull over. 

Me: That's good. I saw on your Instagram when I was researching for this interview you quoted Bruce Springsteen by saying, "a writer tells a story to save his life." What do you think he means by that? 

Rita: Yes! I can't stop thinking about that. Later when I dug into what Bruce meant by that he said, "When you're song writing you are writing for redemption, and atonement and acceptance forgiveness." I just thought oh my God, that's so true, how am I telling that story? What is gong to be the thing that let's the executioner give me a reprieve. Sometimes that could be joy, sometimes that could be pure heartache. I think that sort of changed me, I don't know if I could go forested anymore with having that in the back of my mind, now that I heard it. LOL. 

Me: Another songwriter you worked with is Dan Wilson from Semisonic, who is supposed to be on the Phile soon. How was it working with him? 

Rita: It was great. The other co-writer on that song was Daryl Brown who worked with Dan before, and I was a fan of Dan's from the Semisonic days, and of course he wrote Adele's "Someone Like You," with her and produced that track. He won some Grammys and just has an incredible listens to that song, like a hundred bazillion gazillion. Writing with him was a bit of an interview process. He wanted to meet with me and we had drinks, and spoke not only about the songwriting process but more about our lives because I think that someone like Dan wants to make sure he's not getting into a situation with someone that's a whackadoo. LOL. He's inviting to his house and they'd never leave, or something like that. I totally respect that and understand that. When we actually got together he had written in Twitter that he loved chocolate and so I thought okay, I'm going to bring a box of chocolates to his house when we write. I didn't want to be one of those songwriters who were like, "So, what are you going to do for me today?" Just bring nothing and expect everything. I really hated that idea. 

Me: What is that "Crying, Crying" that you wrote with him about, Rita? 

Rita: There's a sort of magic in songwriting. Sometimes you just don't know where it's coming from. I knew I wanted to write about growing up in Hollywood, or even at the age I am now, and I love my community in so many ways. There's a sense of invisibility with being in our business and if you aren't at a certain level you're in a certain group of people, they're really looking past you and not really listening. I wanted to write about the experience go having so much going on in my life but not really being able to connect with anyone. Not because I want to connect, but I was looking for that person I wanted to connect with and people were looking past me, walk by me, but when I get home I'm sort of free to be myself. There was some really difficult things going on in my life at that time. I had some health issues, I had a son who was struggling with somethings and I wanted to write about that. It was hard to write about because it was not something I was talking about, but I felt that Dan had his share of heartache and Daryl has his share of heartache so I think we could all sort of relate, we were still writing around what wasn't being said. I love that it's an uptempo song and doesn't really let on at what's going on. 

Me: So, you have taken part in something called "Liner Notes." What is that? 

Rita: Yeah. Here's the thing with "Liner Notes"... it was making me crazy that in our social media age we check our Facebook, our Instagram. our Twitter, Snapchat or whatever and you realize we know who someone's stylist is or hairdresser is, or shoe designer, those sort of superficial things that I was noticing that one would rarely hear about a songwriter who wrote that song and I grew up listening to vinyl and we hd liner notes on the sleeves of our albums or within album. I knew every songwriter, every musician, every studio, photographer, every background vocalist, and I felt we were kind of missing that and I heard about these, I guess they call them "guitar polls," in some places or "songwriters rounds," and I thought I got to find a place like that in L.A. that would be awesome. There was nothing like that in L.A. I had done some plays at the Geffen Playhouse and I went to them and said I have this idea I would really like to do these shows about songwriters telling stories about their hits, and they'll sing their songs. They said, "Okay, we'll do it." They had one theater that I really wanted which was a black box theater, and we set it up like a nightclub where it felt like the Troubadour in the 1970s, people were sitting down and we had waiters serving drinks, and it has super vibes with a canopy with those beautiful Edison bulbs. That has turned out to be one of the most fun things that we get to do, the songwriters and I, but also the audience just loves because you might know the songs but when you hear the songwriters sing them it gets to me much raw and a real place, as if that's how they wrote it. When it's stripped down like that you really feel the origin of the song. 

Me: That's cool, Rita. I want to see that show if I am ever in California again. So, wasn't one of your songs used in the TV show "Nashville"? 

Rita: Yeah. I had written a song in Nashville with Blair Daly and Kelly Archer, called "Strong Tonight," and I went in and said I feel like if you're a woman it feels like you're the one keeping all the balls in the air, juggling, being a mom, being an artist, and taking care of people and things and what happens of you just let go of that. When the album came out we had a listening party and one of the people there was the music supervisor for the TV show "Nashville." She said, "I think I like one of these songs for the show." You have to understand something, I was obsessed with that show. I was a stalker for the show "Nashville," I had like scenarios in my head, a character I could play, Rayna Jaymes' best friend, I could take her out, we'd have the best time, we could write songs together, we would be like Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton and Ron Stack when they did "Trio." Of course I would write my songs and they would be the songs that we would sing. I do get a call from the music supervisor and she says they were going to use my strong "Strong Tonight" for the TV show, and I was just completely blown away, it was just a wonderful feeling. I may have not gotten on "Nashville" but my song did. 

Me: I loved that show as well but didn't get to see the last few seasons. I wonder if it's on Netflix... So, is acting and singing the same kinda thing for you, Rita? Being on stage and performing? 

Rita: Um, it's a two part answer. I think the first part of writing music the songwriting process is very, very different because I have so much control over what I'm doing with my wring and the voice I want to have, what I want to say. With acting it's so much somebody else's words, the direction, and the editing, I do my thing but then it's out of my hands and I don't know what's going to happen to it. As a songwriter and producer I have more say in that so I love the process of having the deeper connection to the music. But when I think of performing I love performing live and I did a bunch of theater and performing live musically I love it so much, I tour as much as I can. A few years ago I did my own tour, then I went on the road with Chicago, who are amazing and I grew up listening to them. That connection I have with an audience I love, whether it's through a script or through a song, it doesn't matter to me. I love that. 

Me: I'm sure you are so busy with your acting and everything, do you have a regular routine to write songs? 

Rita: I think it's always shifting and changing because the more I do it the more I want to say exactly what I want to say in terms of who I am as an artist. Defining that is part of the process of songwriting. There are things that I feel I could write that might be really good songs but that really define me as an artist what it is that I'm trying to communicate about who I am. Though I think it's a narrowing down process which I think sometimes when I'm writing I could pretty much tell f this is going to be something for me or something for someone else. I think there are writers that understand they are wring with an artist, instead of for an artist, that's been very, very helpful. What's the process? I know it's an agricultural term to it... the wheat from the chaff or something like that. One of those is the bad thing. Chaff can't be good. When I say "chaff" it doesn't sound good. Jason, you're such a chaff. LOL. 

Me: I've been called worse. Haha. There's two songs on the album that are definitely from a woman's perspective... "What You see Is What You Get," and "Girls Night In." Were they both written with women or with guys? 

Rita: I have to have a good balance so I like writing with both men and women together. "Girls Night In" I wrote that with Nathan Chapman and his wife Stephanie Chapman. Nathan is an incredible songwriter and you would probably know him because he produced Taylor Swift's first four albums and wrote with her. He also writes with the band Perry and Lady Antebellum and the list goes on and on. Stephanie is an incredible writer and storyteller. We wrote that in Nashville and that was just a song that we really wanted a joyful song. Women always talk about girls night out, but with my girlfriends we like to stay in. That's when we feel like we can let it all out. I've done this party once because I've seen a Janet Jackson video and she was dancing and had all these moves and I thought I want to learn how to dance like that. A friend of mine who was a choreographer got together and we rented a little dance studio and I invited all my girlfriends and we learned how to do the Janet Jackson moves to "All For You." We were talking about that story when we were writing and I just thought when I'm in with my girlfriends, when I'm home, and it's loose, I don't have to worry about make-up or what I'm wearing, I can blast the music, dance, not care about what anyone thinks, that's when I feel really liberated and free. 

Me: You mentioned the song "Everyday" which is a pretty autobiographical. It gives your listeners a perceptive into your life, right? 

Rita: Yeah, that was a really fun song to write. Kristian and I had been writing another song together in my former office which was the former office of James Dean's former acting coach which is just a cool little tidbit. We had been writing another song about my dad called "The Heart He Handed Down," and at the end of that session we were kind of wrapping up and he started playing this melody and just started singing "everyday." I was like whoa, what's that? He continued on with "everyday I full in love with you." I was like that's so good! He was leaving and I said let's write that song. He said, "Okay, but I'm gonna give you an assignment. You have to write down all the things you love about Tom." I was like great, so I wrote all of these things down and we wrote back and forth on email for awhile and when he came into town again we sat back down and finished the song. Of course Tom will say, "I don't have a scar above my lip," and I'll say, "artistic license please." LOL.  

Me: Okay, so, I was hesitant to ask about Tom Hanks, but as you mentioned him... he's a big music fan as well, writing and producing That Thing You Do, which is one of my favorite movies ever. My favorite he made anyway. Does he give his opinions on your music at all? 

Rita: Well, you know, that line from That Thing You Do, "you're my biggest fan." LOL. He sees how happy it makes me and he's very much a part of the process. When we wrote "Even More Mine" with Nathan Chapman and Daryl Brown which was the song that was in the end credits of A Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, he had been out and we were writing it at night and he came home and was just lying on the couch and he would ever once in awhile say, "that sounds good." LOL. Then we went up and went to bed. We continued writing until about 2 in the morning and the next day finished writing the song. He's an artist so he understands the joy of creating something, drilling to down to get where you need to be. 

Me: You recently put out the single "Just Say Hello." What else is next for you? 

Rita: I'm writing a ton more. I have pretty much have enough for my third album right now but I want to write a few more songs just to more than anything warm up the theme, even though people buy things by track now, I still feel like I'm writing an album with a story that's being told. I'm working that and doing my songwriter shows "Liner Notes," and I am filming a movie right now called A Simple Wedding, and I'm the executive producer for Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again that's in pro-production, and I produced Incredibles 2 that comes out June 15th. That's it, and doing as much music as I possibly can. 

Me: Rita, I can't believe I got to interview you. Come back on the Phile soon and tell Tom he has to come onto the Phile. Hahaha. That'll never happen I am sure. I wish you so much continued success. Happy Mother's Day. 

Rita: Thanks so much, Jason. Good speaking with you.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Rita Wilson for a great interview. The Phile will be back tomorrow with drummer Brad Elvis from the Handcuffs. 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