Category Archives: Music

Music Monday! Lizzy McAlpine-All My Ghosts

Back in the day when I was cranking out five posts a week, one of them was Music Monday. I have eclectic tastes in music and modern alternative rock is one of my favorite genres. I figured the title of this song was perfect to fit in with my paranormal binge over the past month.

I first heard this Lizzy McAlpine song about a month ago and was immediately hooked. I’ve always enjoyed a song that tells a story full of quirky details. This song, All My Ghosts is almost perfect. I hope you enjoy it and it gets your toes tapping to start your Monday.

Have a great start to your week! ~Phil

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! My Interview w/ Black 47’s Larry Kirwan!

The year was 2000 and I was in an Irish store in Stowe, Vermont. As I browsed the genuine Irish knick-knacks there was music playing overhead that immediately resonated in my heart and my head. I am half-Irish. I asked the cashier if she knew whose music it was. She replied, “Of course. We have it right here,” as she handed me Black 47‘s Live in New York City CD. At the time, since The Phil Factor didn’t exist yet, little did I know that 15 years later I would get to interview lead singer Larry Kirwan. Below is that interview.

Click the Youtube video to hear some of their amazing music. Every song sounds like you’re at a party in a crowded Irish pub.

(Oct. 26, 2015) Although the band called it quits on their own terms in 2014, frontman Larry Kirwan has remained extremely busy. Considering that he writes books and plays, writes for The Irish Echo, hosts a weekly Celtic music show on SiriusXm radio, and performs solo gigs (his new single Floating dropped last week), I was happily surprised when Larry replied to my email.

Me: Growing up in Ireland, who were your musical influences?

Larry: They were legion.  Though it was a small town, Wexford had its own Opera Festival.  Many people emigrated to London and brought back whatever was happening in music.  Rockabilly artists like Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent were popular with the local Teddyboys and you could hear their reverb-drenched songs pumping from the town’s only jukebox.  As well as that there was a strong tradition of Folk Music that I loved.  And to top it all, my father was a merchant marine who loved Calypso and Tango music.  I imbibed it all.  But everything came together when I first heard Bob Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone.  Astral Weeks by Van Morrison was also deeply influential – probably still is.

Me: From your books and music, your love of New York City is apparent. Was there ever a time you considered returning to Ireland for good?

Larry: No, I never did.  I knew from the first minute I arrived on my own with just $100 in my pocket that I wouldn’t be going home.  I was illegal for 3 years and couldn’t go back and by then, after living in the depths of the East Village, it was way too late.

TPF: When you and Chris Byrne started Black 47 in 1989 did you imagine that the band would become as popular as it did? 

Larry: Our first thoughts were staying alive or at least not getting the shit beat out of us.  The Bronx bars we played in were rough – we were playing loud and provocatively – so we weren’t very popular, to say the least.   We weren’t very good either.  But four sets a night, is great practice.  And there was a shortage of bands, so we could do four nights a week no trouble. We were committed to playing original music in places that just wanted cover songs. After a year, though, I knew we had something different – and that’s always the most important thing.  Besides that, we were both naturally very political – and that seems to give you a bit of a cachet.  I don’t think we ever thought about popularity that much.  We were a band doing what it wanted to do – that might seem old fashioned now, but to us it was pretty much everything.

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Me: You’ve also written several books and plays. What was your first love, writing or music? Or did one lead to the other?

Larry: I was an early reader and read voraciously through much of my life.  I always thought I’d be a writer of some sort but I put it off for a long time.  Meanwhile, I was in love with music so I got into songwriting and performing.  I wrote a novel in my early 20’s that wasn’t very good, although I remember certain scenes fondly.  But playwriting got me really into writing.  I had a small talent for dialogue that made it easy to get a start.  Then I had a very minor hit with my second play, Liverpool Fantasy, and that gave me confidence.   I’m up here in Toronto at a workshop of a musical of mine, still coming to terms with that.

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You probably have a better idea of what I’ve done with songwriting.  Being a member of Black 47 was such a great outlet for me.  We always needed new songs and the 25 years went by in a blur.  We rarely performed more than 6 songs from an album of 12 so I’m getting re-acquainted with some Black 47 songs right now as a solo performer.  It’s interesting stripping them back into their original form and finding the soul of them.

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It’s a little odd.  When I get an idea now I can transform it into a song, a play, or a novel pretty effortlessly, whereas when I began dabbling in all three disciplines, I always knew which of them the idea would slot into.  A blessing or a curse?  I guess I’ll find out as I go along.

Me: I’ll look forward to your next novel and I’ll be sure to feature it here. You’re still performing solo gigs and it’s been almost a year since the band stopped performing. Are there any plans for any more occasional Black 47 shows?

Larry: I don’t see there being any more Black 47 shows.  It was a moment in time – 25 years of a moment.  I miss the guys a lot – we were brothers – not just the members of the band but the crew members too.  But then, I suppose, Black 47 was always more than a band.  We were political, and did things our way, never looked for approval.  We were probably closer to our fans than any band and yet we always played just for ourselves. I prefer to keep it that way.  Onwards and upwards and look back with pride.

TPF: Larry, as a long time fan of Black 47 I’d like to say thank you to you, the rest of the band and crew for the 25 years of great music. I look forward to hearing more of your solo work and reading your novel. Also, thank you for taking time from your busy schedule for me and my readers. For readers and fans who want to keep up with Larry, you can find him on Facebook, at his blog  and on Sirius XM radio hosting the Celtic Crush show on Sunday mornings. His solo music and Black 47 albums are available in stores and all the online outlets. You can find his books on Amazon, other online retailers and in bookstores.

Have a great Thursday! ~Phil

“50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” in the 21st Century

I realize most people under 45 won’t remember this brilliant, catchy 1975 song from Paul Simon. First is the official video of the original. Beneath that is my idea of what the lyrics would he if he recorded it again in the new millennium. I’m hoping for enough social media shares that it gets back to Paul Simon and he actually does re-record it.

 

The problem is all inside your head, she said to me
The answer is easy if you take it logically
I’d like to help you in your struggle to be free
There must be fifty ways
To leave your lover
She said it’s really not my habit to intrude
Furthermore, I hope my meaning won’t be lost or misconstrued
But I’ll repeat myself
At the risk of being crude
There must be fifty ways
To leave your lover
Fifty ways to leave your lover
Swipe to the left, Jeff
Block him on Instagram, Ma’am
You don’t need to be a girl or boy, Roy
Just get yourself free
Hop on the Uber, Goober
It’ll be so much smoother
Just drop off the Snapchat, Pat
And get yourself free
You just give her the ghost, Jost
Block him on Instagram, Ma’am
Make a new profile, it won’t take awhile
You don’t need to be a girl or boy, Roy
Just get yourself free

She said it grieves me so
To see you in such pain
I wish there was a filter I could use
To make you smile again
I texted I appreciate that and would you please explain
About the fifty ways

She said why don’t we both
Just sleep on it tonight
And I believe in the morning
You’ll begin to see the light
Then she sent a kiss emoji
And I realized she probably was right
There must be fifty ways
To leave your lover
Fifty ways to leave your lover
Just swipe to the left, Jeff
Block him on Instagram, Ma’am
Make a new profile, it won’t take awhile
Just get yourself free

Hop in the Uber , Goober
It’ll be so much smoother
Just drop off the Snapchat, Pat
And get yourself free

You just give her the ghost, Jost
Block him on Instagram, Ma’am

Make a new profile, it won’t take awhile
You don’t need to be a girl or boy, Roy
Just get yourself free
Hop on the Uber, Goober
It’ll be so much smoother
Just change the password key, Lee
And get yourself free
Now that you’ve read it, can you imagine how popular that would be if he did that now? If any of you happen to know Paul Simon, please send him this or use the social media buttons below to share it.  I think the world needs this. Have a great Tuesday!
~Phil

Music Monday! One of the Proudest Moments of My Life

One of the proudest moments of my life‘ is not the name of this song.  It’s how I feel about this song and music video. Why? Because it is a collaboration by two of my sons and their friends. One son, who is a member of the two man band April on Paper, sings and plays guitar in this video. My other son, whose online persona is OneShotTaylor, wrote directed and produced this video. It’s the first music video for both of them and hopefully it won’t be the last.

So far it’s got more than 600 views on Youtube. If you like their music you can find them on all streaming services and Apple Music. You can also find them on Instagram where they tell me that they’re more active than FB.

Happy Monday! ~Phil

Music Monday! It’s Time For Billie Joe To Wake Up

I’m back with the most appropriate song ever for today, and it’s from my favorite band, whom I will be seeing in Toronto next August with Fall Out Boy, and Weezer. Honestly, I don’t know why Billie Joe Armstron wanted to be woken up “when September ends.”  For me, September is when summer ends and Fall begins. If I wrote the song it would be “Wake Me Up When March Ends.” Hmm…maybe I’ve just thought of a new hit song… Have a great Monday! ~Phil

Top Ten Tuesday! The Ten Best TV Show Theme Songs Ever!

Thanks to the Netflix/Hulu era, everyone in every country can watch the popular TV shows from anywhere, so regardless of your home country, I hope you’ll know some of these. Although this is going to be a very United States centric list, I’d love to hear suggestions and maybe links in the comments to anything from anywhere else. This was the toughest Top Ten list that I’ve ever put together.

10. Scooby Doo: Yes, the cartoon theme song. I requested that this be played for my first dance at my wedding but  my bride Velma objected.

9. The Golden Girls: I can’t vouch for this because I never watched the show, but in a lot of other online lists this was included. I didn’t even listen to it when I added it to this list.

8. The Love Boat: Love, exciting and new. Climb aboard, we’re expecting you! When I was a kid I had very little realization that the entire show was about people trying to have sex on a cruise.

7. The Big Bang Theory: A masterpiece by the quick singing lyrical geniuses of The Barenaked Ladies.

6. Family Guy: How could you not sing along to this?

5. Mission Impossible: No lyrics, but iconic nonetheless. Who doesn’t feel some sort of pressure to get something done quickly when you hear this?

4. The Brady Bunch: All of them had hair of gold, like their mother.”  Who doesn’t know that line?

3. Friends: I hate to be the hipster guy who says “I knew this band before anyone heard of them”, but yeah, I had their album before the Friend’s theme song on cassette tape, so suck it losers.

2. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: This is still Will Smith’s best work to date.

1. Cheers: Who doesn’t want a bar that feels like home where everyone knows your name?

That’s it. I feel like I needed to make this a Top 20 list to include all the worthy possibilities. What would you add to the list? What would you take off of it? My blogging friend Haylee recently did a great post about TV theme songs as well. You can check it out HERE

Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil

Music Monday: Weezer doing Toto’s Africa

The story behind this is that a Twitter account, @weezerafrica, was started in December by a 14 year old Weezer fan named Mary. She says that she started the idea as a joke and incessantly tweeted Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo and others in the music industry and eventually the idea gained momentum with many,many people tweeting at Rivers Cuomo to cover the song, including David Paich, the keyboardist from the band Toto. Eventually she made the national news:

What you see in the song video at the top is Mary’s first tweet.

Have a great Monday! ~Phil

Top Ten Tuesday! The Ten Worst Song Lyrics Ever

Even good artists write bad lyrics sometimes. Here are ten of the worst:

10. Nickelback, Figure You Out: I love your pants around your feet… You’re like my favourite damn disease.” Not a shock that Nickelback made the list, right? Seriously, who has a favourite disease ?
9. Puff Daddy feat. Mase, Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down: ““Young, black and famous – with money hanging out the anus.” Does he even know how money works? This is exactly why they say money isn’t clean and you shouldn’t put it in your mouth.

8. The Beatles, Ob La Di, Ob La Da: “Ob la di, ob-la-da, life goes on, bra” Thanks genius philosophers. That was helpful.

7. Stone Temple Pilots, Plush: “When the dogs begin to smell her, will she smell alone?” If she’s that smelly, maybe some sort of intervention…

6. R. Kelly, You Remind Me of Something: Girl you look just like my cars, I want to wax it” R. Kelly has a way with words. I’m sure the ladies like being compared to a car.

5. Kaiser Chiefs, Oh My God: You work in a shirt with your name tag on it, drifting apart like a plate tectonic.” At least it rhymes. Apparently he has a problem with name tags. How does he order at McDonald’s?

4. Prince, Supercalifragisexy: Keep the blood flowing down to your feet, Brother Lois will be around in a minute, with a bucket filled with squirreled meat.” Not only does the not sound good, that lyric is anything but supercalifragisexy. Raise your hands, who here wants to be presented with a bucket of squirreled meat? I didn’t think so. 

3. Deep Purple, Highway Star: “She’s got everything – like a moving mouth, body control and everything.” They nailed it. Those are exactly the qualities I find attractive in a woman. My standards are not very high.

2. Queen, Bicycle Race: “You say ‘black’ I say ‘white’. You say ‘bark’ I say ‘bite’. You say ‘shark’ I say ‘hey man ‘Jaws’ was never my scene!’” This is apparently a transcript from Freddie Mercury’s therapy session.

1. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Around The World: “Bonafide ride, step aside my johnson. Yes I could in the woods of Wisconsin.”  That’s maybe one of the best haikus ever, but nobody sings about Wisconsin.

Those weren’t in any particular ranking order, but they are all epically bad. What are the worst song lyrics you can think of? Please add them in the comments and if there’s enough I’ll put out another list and link to the contributors. Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil

Music Monday! Saturday Sun by Vance Joy

I hope you brought a little bit of the weekends Saturday Sun into your week. Have a great Monday! ~Phil

Top Ten Tuesday! My 10 Favorite One Hit Wonder Songs

Usually one hit wonder songs seem like the greatest musical discovery in our lives for a few months and then they fade away, only to later embarrass us when someone discovers them in our music collection and mocks us. Here are 10 of my favorite one hit wonder songs. What are some of yours? I’d love to hear them in the comments.

10. Your Love by The Outfield. This was an 80’s classic and we all know the lyrics by heart. Oddly, one of my sons recently discovered The Outfield and loves the entire album.

9. Good Vibrations, Marky Mark and The Fun Bunch, 1991 No video here because I’m sure you all know this one. I wonder if The Fun Bunch is having as much fun now that Marky Mark has moved on to bigger and better things.

8. Somebody That I Used to Know, Gotye, 2011

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7. Who Let The Dogs Out? Baha Men, 2000  This song is a particular favorite of mine because of something that happened in a courtroom, one of the greatest moments in legal history, when I was on a jury in 2015. Here is what happened:

This is an actual exchange I witnessed in the courtroom between a cross examining defense attorney and a sworn under oath witness:

Attorney: So, you let the dogs out?

Witness: Yes.

When I heard that, I couldn’t help but smirk and I looked around at my fellow jurors and no one else seemed to have gotten the joke. I’ve never been more disappointed in a group of human beings in my life.

6. Stacy’s Mom, Fountains of Wayne, 2003 I find it impossible not to sing along. If you want to hear the song, don’t be afraid. The video is appropriate.

5. 1985, Bowling For Soup, 2004 Truth be told, I think I may have all this bands songs in my collection and they’re all hilarious. This one is the catchy and funny story of a suburban soccer mom who despises her minivan and wishes she were back in 1985 so that she might have a chance to “shake her ass on the hood of Whitesnake’s car.” Look it up and add it to your collection. You’ll thank me.

4. Jump Around, House of Pain, 1992  I first heard this song in a Pringles commercial in the 90’s. Here it is:

3. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Deep Blue Something, 1996. I owned the cassette tape of this one long after I should have been buying cassettes.

2. Common People, William Shatner and Pulp, 2004. Pulp originally released this song on their own in 1995. When they re-released with Captain Kirk chipping in, it took them to new heights. If you don’t know it, give it a listen:

Gangam Style, Psy 2012. One of the weirdest most popular songs ever. The crazy video still cracks me up.

There is the Top Ten of one hit wonder songs that are actually in my music collection. So tell me in the comments, what are your embarrassing, dirty little secret one hit wonders that you sing aloud when you’re alone in your car?

Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil