Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile on a Monday. I have been learning more about this NSA spying scandal. What are the odds that the only person they weren't monitoring was Anthony Weiner? Two years ago when Weiner resigned, he said more embarrassing pictures may come out in the future. Do you know how he knew that? Because he went home after that and started texting them. That's how he knew. The Vatican announced that the late Pope John Paul II will become a saint after they approve a miracle where he cured a woman of severe brain injury, which is pretty impressive. Not as impressive, though, as the miracle of Anthony Weiner still being married, but that's impressive. Weiner uses the name Carlos Danger when he's on the Internet or whatever he's doing. When Donald Trump heard about it, Trump demanded to see Carlos Danger's birth certificate. In his speech earlier this week in Latin America, the Pope told the people to give up the false idols of success and money. That’s the same thing Disney told me. Just kidding, I love working for Disney. President Obama gave a big speech on the economy. It was actually longer than his last State of the Union address... though it should be noted that he opened with 20 minutes of Anthony Weiner jokes. Taco Bell announced that it will discontinue its line of kids' meals because of low sales. You know your food's bad when even little kids say, “I'm not putting that in my mouth.” Speaking of kids, a new study found that kids have better relationships with their parents if they're friends with them on Facebook. That's good because if you're a kid who's friends with your parents on Facebook, chances are you're not really friends with anyone else. Rocky is back. Again. Yeah, 67-year-old Sylvester Stallone is getting ready to star in a seventh Rocky movie. You can tell he’s getting up there because instead of running up those famous stairs, now Rocky just takes the elevator. You know, I haven't mentioned Kim Jong-un lately. That boy gets a bad wrap, but there's something I like about him. I couldn't put my finger on it until I saw this picture...
You know what he's saying, right? "America uses these to control their drummers." I'm gonna get a lot of email saying how can I like that man? I was just kidding, people, I don't like him at all. So, are you kids Beatles fans like me? I know Jeff Cameron is a Beatles fan so he'll appreciate this. A long lost Lennon album has just been found titled "Chew Of Us" and I have the cover right here for it.
Haha. That joke blended two of my favorite things... The Beatles and Star Wars. Hey, did you see the new McDonald's add? This is 100% real. I'll show it to you and then discuss.
Why the hell is he holding the Big Mac box like that? Nobody holds the box like that. What's he gonna do, through it in the water? It doesn't make sense. A lot of stuff to me doesn't make sense. I was at the store yesterday and I saw this...
I don't think I want a tasty ass cracker. Hey, that could be my new band name... Tasty Ass Crackers. LOL. It's summer, kids, and all through summer I have been showing you phascinating pools and I asked you to send me pictures of some you find phascinating. Here's the latest...
It's the same pool as yesterday but with more detail. The Infinity Pool is located in Singapore. It is located at on the 55th floor of the Marina Bay Sands resort. At three times the length of an Olympic pool and 650ft up, it is the largest outdoor pool in the world at that height. That's scary. Okay, are you ready for some sad news? Apparently I missed some important people I was told, and I have to mention a few deaths. Okay, I aim to please.
Sept 3, 1943 - July 27, 2013
Dying onstage is pretty anarchistic. Well played, Mr. Ferren.
August 22, 1959 - July 27, 2013
The Kidds are alright? Not this one.
Dec 5, 1938 - July 26, 2013
Cale is now plant food.
Every adventure can't be a universe-rattling showdown with Ultimate Evil. It just can't. Epic-fatigue starts to set in. It's why the Avengers took a break to go get that shawarma. It's why Iron Man needed some extended me-time. So when a beloved character makes her or his sixth appearance on film, it's permissible... actually, it's necessary... to move the goalposts. Every movie about a super-powered character shouldn't be an origin story, shouldn't necessarily involve historical stakes. Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), for example, is going to Japan. Living off the grid in the Yukon, waking up enraged and freshly devastated by dreams of his long-lost Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), making friends with wild bears, cursing his immortality, Logan is the guy with the haunted expression, messy hair and "Duck Dynasty" beard. But not for long. A Japanese soldier named Yashida (Ken Yamamura) that he rescued at Nagasaki is dying and the old man summons the ageless Logan to his side. But Yashida wants more than a formal goodbye. Now a billionaire businessman with the world's technology as his disposal, he craves Logan's immortality. A reasonable request, really; it's not like Logan wants it. But reject the offer, he must, even though the consequences involve him getting in too deep with Yashida's granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto), psychic brawler/sidekick Yukio (Rila Fukushima) and an evil doctor in fetish-gear outfits (Svetlana Khodchenkova) who wants to steal Logan's snikkety-snikt all for herself. It's not the end of the world. And how refreshing that is. Instead, it's ninjas and yakuza, a lot of pummeling action and a dozen cool details that deserve to be surprises. The story's origin is a comic book series from Chris Claremont, Frank Miller and Paul Smith and, while some details have changed (Logan doesn't speak Japanese here and at one point displays a touch of English-only xenophobia... um, dude, you're in their country) its mostly serious tone... at least until an occasionally goofy finale, means that rather than a noise-machine of product placement and hyperactive bloat, it's a straightforward action movie where the hero happens to be an X-Person. It arrives wrapped in a cocoon of Jackman's trademark extreme-abs whisper-snarl, the one that always turns into a yell-snarl, with virtually no winking at the camera. And while Wolverine may be a tormented creature, Jackman lives in the character's skin more comfortably than ever, his committed gravity shoring up some of the other flat or downright bad performances (see: evil doctor in fetish-gear outfits). It's well understood that the X-Men saga can be read as a metaphor for the double-edged sword of living as "the other," but almost none of that subtext is embedded here. It's a sideways adventure mostly free of canon-deep details, extra meanings or puffed up monumentalism. Wouldn't it be nice if other superheroes could take a cue from its lead, put out smaller fires, chill a little in between grandiose tentpole dust-ups, stretch out a bit as characters? The audience won't mind; they could probably use a break themselves. From 1 to 10 The Wolverine gets a 9.
If you spot the Mind Phuck email me at email@example.com.
Today's guest has been the pheatured guest more than anyone. His fantastic brand new album "Wonderland Road" is now available on iTunes as well as his last album "Bargofaxis". Please welcome back to the Phile my good friend... Jeff Cameron!
Me: Hello, Jeff, welcome back to the Phile at long last. How are you?
Jeff: It's getting better all the time, better, better, better, getting so much better all the time.
Me: You were last on the Phile last year for the 6th Anniversary last year, and since then something terrible happened... you had a massive heart attack. What happened?
Jeff: I woke up from a sleep, with horrible chest pain, passed out several times, fell on the hardwood floor cracked my nose, the paramedics came, later I was told the heart attack was 16 times worse than average, they put a stent in my heart... prescribed some medicine. I certainly don't run up and down a flight of stairs anymore!
Me: So that the first heart attack you had?
Jeff: It was the first one I knew of. Later tests showed I may have had several smaller attacks I didn't recognize, not having medical insurance, was nearly deadly for me.
Me: Where were you when it happened and was there anybody home with you?
Jeff: I was in my bedroom, and then I staggered into the living room. I debated for an hour whether I should call 911 there was someone in the house who finally heard me struggling and actually called 911.
Me: So, how were you after all this?
Jeff: Well, I wanted to finish any unfinished business like the new albums, repair fences with friends I had fallen out with, tidy up in case I didn't have much time. I got a sense of urgency, but I tire easily.
Jeff: Since then you have been really busy recording more music. When you were here last for the anniversary entry you mentioned an album "Songs From Laurel Canyon". What happened to that album?
Jeff: We went back to the original album title "Wonderland Road", and released it on iTunes and Amazon.
Me: Where is Wonderland Road, is that a real place?
Jeff: Yes, it's a street in the Hollywood Hills in the Laurel Canyon area, which is what the songs are all about.
Me: Your last album was "Bargofaxis", which came out a few years ago, Jeff. Is this a sequel to "Bargo"?
Jeff: No, this one isn't, it's the prequel to "Bargo", sort of, though not exactly. "Wonderland Road" is my observations as a young man living and growing up in the Laurel Canyon area during the aftermath of the sixties, and the residual hippie vibe that still endures in that neighborhood to this day!
Me: A lot of your songs are about characters, kinda like The Beatles did. They are one of your biggest influences, right?
Jeff: Yes, Beatles rule, I'd say this is the most Beatley or Kinks album I've ever done by far, it was designed that way, although you can hear a little Doors vibe, and different other, sixties vibes.
Me: There's a song called "John Hammond". Who is John Hammond, I think he's a real person, am I right?
Jeff: The real John Hammond was an old time A&R man who supposedly discovered Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, lots of people, but who eventually faded into obscurity remembered only by historians, it was sort of about him, and about how I mirrored him as a reclusive guy in his high backed chair.
Me: You definitely like 60s pop, which is cool. Who was the first band you got into?
Jeff: Three Dog Night and Steppenwolf, because they recorded up the street from where we lived, and also The Beatles because I had heard "Sgt Pepper" and seen Help and Hard Days Night on TV when I was very young, embryonic in fact, in fact not yet born according to my press agent.
Me: "Bargofaxis" had some great players, and Phile Alumni, on the album... Mike Finnigan, Peter Kearns. Who plays on this album with you?
Jeff: "Wonderland Road" is me, Gary Cambra who has worked on all the albums, he plays guitars and keyboards, cowrote two songs with me, he is the producer. Bob Birch, Elton John's bass player, who sadly just committed suicide. Peter Kearns returns and plays keys on the last song, Perry Drieman the percussionist from the LA Philharmonic played drums.
Me: How was Bob Birch to work with? It's sad he took his own life.
Jeff: Yeah, exactly. I liked Bob, a lot, what I find is the better they are, Bob, Mike Finnigan, the more nice, unassuming they are. So sad.
Me: If you could have anybody on the album, who would it be?
Jeff: Oh wow, McCartney, Ringo, Jason Falkner, Dave Davies, people like that, especially for this particular album. Although I have recorded with some of my heroes so thats nice.
Me: When did you start to write songs for this album, Jeff? Was it right before your heart attack?
Jeff: No, it was around 1990 just after "Out Of The Blue" came out, and I was writing about stuff I remembered from 1968-80 in Laurel Canyon. We started tracking the album, and then shelved it for 20 years and I came back and finished it with Gary just last year. All the overdubs are new, but the bass, drums, my vocals were all cut in about 1992. "Love Experience" was a last minute addition, because "Good Karma Stew" originally a "Wonderland Road" song was pirated, and re-recorded for "Bargofaxis". "Lonely Girl" was an outtake Gary fixed up at the last minute, it gave us a chance to get Dave Sutton and Paul Mirkovich on the album from the original Jeff Group along with me and Gary, and Steve Klong the original drummer who died of cancer a few years ago. Lot of death in rock n roll, its a hard road. I believe Jackie De Shannon said, "Only the strong survive".
Me: So, is this the last album you'll be releasing, Jeff, or do you have other projects up your sleeve?
Jeff: Yeah, there is one more new album being mixed right now, that will probably be my last.
Me: What is that album gonna be like?
Jeff: That one is utterly unlike "Wonderland", a bit more like "Out Of The Blue" or "Perfect World" I'd reckon.
Me: I have to ask you about the album cover, it's very British, and Monty Python looking. Did you come up with it? I love it.
Jeff: No, Gary did. I came up with several very cool album covers, but in the end we felt Gary's art guy, had the most appropriate cover, we could release a coffee table book with all the unused artwork for "Wonderland"!
Me: You play guitar, right, Jeff? Is that your main instrument?
Jeff: Yeah, I do. I write most of my tunes on guitar, although when I was young I started on bass. I think I played bass on "Dickens Street" for example.
Me: How old were you when you started to play?
Jeff: Way too old, about eleven or twelve.
Me: Do you remember what the first song you learned was?
Jeff: No. but I remember some of the ones we played when we were around thirteen or fourteen... "Suffragete City" by Bowie, "Sunshine of Your Love" by Creem. Maybe some Savoy Brown, who can say. I remember learning "Witchy Woman" by the Eagles.
Me: Alright, so, this year I am asking random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Here goes... What are the most important qualities you look for in friends?
Jeff: Loyalty, honesty. There are different kinds of friends, there are friends who like the same kind of music and you sit around with a cup of tea debating who was better the Stones or The Who... it's The Who by a mile, and there are other kinds of friends who help you move at 3 a.m. when you get evicted. At nineteen I probably would have said good looking girlfriends with benefits.
Me: Jeff, I'm glad you're doing good. Please come back again, and take care.
Jeff: Thank you, Jason, you are a scholar and a gentleman, and please ask everybody to check out "Wonderland Road".
Me: Alright. Everybody, check out "Wonderland Road".
There, that about does it for another entry of the Phile. Thanks to Jeff Cameron, I am glad he's doing well. The Phile will be back next Saturday with singer Jenn Fiorentino. On Sunday it's Bert Hoover, lead singer for the band Cab 20 and Monday singer Jenn Bostic. It's a Jenn sandwich! Haha. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Strawberry Blondes Forever!