Exclusive download and interview: John Butler Trio’s “Revolution”

Exclusive download and interview: John Butler Trio’s “Revolution” (photo)

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Australian songwriter John Butler has five studio LPs and four live albums, which should tell you what you need to know about his aims: He thrives in the live environment, where his dialogue can engage, where his John Butler Trio can stretch and embolden his rock and where he can put a little more grit into anthems like “Revolution.” Indeed, “Revolution” is a call to continual action by the concerned citizens of the world and an acknowledgement that change can come gradually, if we keep it as a consistent aim. Download “Revolution,” taken from Butler’s new Live at Red Rocks set, here.
Butler plays Terminal 5 in New York tonight and tomorrow night. He’s on tour throughout September.

You’ve enjoyed a lot of international success, yet you’ve stayed in Australia. Why?
That’s just where my heart is; my heart’s in Australia. I’ve lived over east in Australia, and I spent a short time in New York. I spend a lot of time on the road– eight months sometimes on the road or a year. Australia is where my spirit feels the most at home. I’m not really interested in moving to New York, or London, or any other place to further my career. I leave home enough to further my career. I don’t need to completely move away from home.

Every time you leave, what’s the hardest part? What’s the best thing about returning?
It’s hard to leave home and leave my family, but luckily, we travel together a lot–me, my kids and my wife. I’m meeting them in five days in New York, and then we travel. I’ve been away for three weeks, but we travel for the next month and a half together. We have a family assistant; she’s also a qualified teacher, so she teaches our children on the road. We try to stay tight in one way or another, physically or emotionally.
Leaving them doesn’t get easier; it just gets harder. The best thing about coming home is about a week after I get home. I can settle. It takes about a week for everything to settle again. We’re annoying each other, me and my wife, for about a week, and then it’s all back to normal. The best thing about home is really just being with family–going out in the garden, making tree houses, lighting a fire in the back yard. It’s the simple things that are often the best.

Do you write best at home or on the road?
I definitely get a lot of writing done when I’m at home, but I also get a lot of writing done when I’m on the road. Inspiration can come at any time. When I have enough time off, lots of songs will come, and when I’m off the road, they come quite rapidly. But they come regularly whether I’m on the road or off the road. Things get into my mind, and they’re like little spirits that want to have a life. They choose to have a life through music.

Tell me about the song “Revolution.” How old is it, and what inspired it?
It’s a couple years old. In my country, like yours, often it’s hard not to look around and feel like there’s something happening on a global level. A lot of it’s quite disturbing. It’s hard not to look around and try to ask the questions, “Does anybody see the insanity that’s going around at the moment? Is it just me, or has anyone else seen this craziness, this madness of destruction, whether through war or killing people through the economy?”
Countries are starving because of the World Trade Organization or the World Bank or from mining the hell out of the world. My state is completely infested with mining companies that are basically digging holes everywhere and are disenfranchising people in the process. When I look at all this stuff, it’s quite overwhelming. As a citizen of the world, it doesn’t feel natural, and it doesn’t feel right.
The song is an observation of those things and trying to find some redemption in it. It’s so overwhelming to be completely surrounded by that feeling all the time; I had to find some redemption and to take back the definition of revolution. The word has been completely manipulated by moneymakers, whether it’s the Pepsi revolution or the digital revolution or the revolution in new underwear. Whatever it is, the revolution is completely impotent. So I had to find out what revolution meant to me.
Revolution looks like evolution with an “r” in front of it. Having to look around, and seeing what’s happening on the planet, I try to focus on the good things and realize that revolution, although it’s extremely slow and painful, is underway as we speak. It’s not something that’s going to come around one day; it’s happening as we speak, but it’s just happening very tediously.

I’ve been reading this book by another Australian thinker, Paul Gilding. It’s called The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring On the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World, and it’s about the revolution the world will soon face. Is Australia on a vanguard of these sorts of politics, or the opposite?
I don’t think Australia is on the vanguard of anything. We pollute more than America per capita; we’re fucking shocking. I wouldn’t even call myself an environmentalist, or a socialist, or political activist. I’m just a human being who sees the world and goes, ok, “What’s the safest, cleanest, most sustainable and respectful way to go about this? And that’s common sense.” You want to mine some land and do it in a way that’s environmentally sound, economically sound, that’s–in a community sense, in a social sense, in a cultural sense–sound and sustainable, I don’t have a problem with it. The problem is, at the moment, our countries are run by multinational companies that aren’t a part of any country. They are completely beyond it–the roving, clandestine, fucking multinational companies. They are interested in how we can get our crap, and our junk, and our drugs that we’re addicted to, in the form of oil and iron ore and whatever else, as quickly as possible without having to be responsible for it. It’s cheaper; they’ll cut any corners to do that.
I see that insanity, and as a human being, I have a problem with it because it doesn’t make sense. It wasn’t how I was brought up, and I don’t think it’s how most of us were brought up. We were brought up to respect people. We were brought up to clean up after ourselves. We were brought up to, if you break something, fix it; if it’s going to run out really quickly, then replace it. Yet our leaders and these organizations don’t go by those rules at all. There’s a fundamental problem in how the system that we live in is running. It’s not sustainable. Songs like “Revolution” and “One Way Road” are just me trying to make sense of this.

What do you hope songs like that accomplish? Are they part of a movement, or are they meant to inspire one?
I definitely think it’s part of a movement, and it has the power to manipulate, or at least move, people emotionally. Great art does that, whether it’s political or not. You can definitely move people through art, and this is the power of art. That’s why advertisers, corporations and politicians have used music for a long time. It moves the masses. I think music can be part of a positive change on the planet, whether you sing about revolution or not.

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar


IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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