Thursday, May 22, 2008

Real Interviews with Bloggers: Dale + CP August 23, 2007

Not to be outdone by Bubs, Dale emailed me some interview questions last August. So as not to make him wait an entire year as did Bubs, I am now getting started on these - and it's only May!

1. You have quite a musical household on the go. Apart from your piano and George's clarinet, do either of you play other instruments or compose? What are the odds of getting Mama Gin up on top of the piano a la Michelle Pfeiffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys for a video blog?
Both George and I have extensive musical backgrounds. I started on the violin at age 6, when my dad used to teach the Suzuki method to young kids. My real love became the piano soon thereafter, however, and I played semi-seriously through the end of college. I always wanted to try a wind instrument but never got around to it. I didn't get this lazy without years of practicing my procrastination.

George started the clarinet in 7th grade and always loved it as well. He plays some piano but never had any formal training. He plays several varieties of clarinet, including the bass clarinet featured in this Mama Gin video.

Although George is the professional musician in the house, I am the only composer (though George has dabbled a bit too.) My genre is pop. Schlocky pop. My songs all kind of suck, but here are the titles. Tell me which one will make the top 40:

The Change
Goodbye (v. melodramatic)

Hawaii 1998 (I cry whenever I try to play it; is that retarded or what?)

The Good Son (stupid title, though it is mine)
Change of Heart
Rodeo Cowboy (really stupid song but I kind of like it. Lyrics are not mine.)
A Whisper in Time (stupidest song and title ever. Not mine.)
Falls on You
All I Gave You Was Nothing

Midnight Love

All of the music is my own. I also wrote all of the lyrics on Hawaii 1998, The Good Son, Falls on You, All I Gave You Was Nothing and Midnight Love. The lyrics to the other songs were either collaborative or taken entirely from a lyricist. It's true that coming up with the lyrics is the hardest part of writing music.

I also do a fair amount of arranging. I am asked to play for weddings quite often. If you are very close to me I will do it out of guilt but I won't enjoy it. Among other things, it means I can't drink at the rehearsal dinner for fear that I won't play well the next day at the wedding. If anyone asks me to play and I am not close to them, I will say no.

Next weekend George and I are providing all the music at my cousin's wedding, and I did all the arranging. The bride requested "Just Like Heaven" by The Cure, so I wrote an arrangement of it for piano, clarinet and cello. It's going to be very frightening. (Post wedding-note: it went very well, but still sounded like Muzak.)

Mama Gin would LOVE to collaborate with us. She used to come in to the apartment, sit down at the piano for about an hour and two-finger plunk out the melody to "Silent Night." Every now and again she sits down on the piano bench next to Poor George and "instructs" him. I need to capture that on video.

2. At one point, you were hoping to branch out into producing Cheesy Made for TV Movies with Mindy June. Does the dream still live? If so, please provide a title and pitch. You are aware that things haven't been going so well in the career or talent department for Shannen Doherty lately, right?
"Does the dream still live?" When have we EVER let a dream die over here at CPW, Dale? Do you kiss your mother with that mouth of yours?

Although Mindy and I have not discussed titles or themes for several years, the dream is still alive and well - and now that Mindy is looking for work the time may be ripe.

Last she and I were cooking up something along these lines, it was a sitcom. It was going to be like a "Friends" but much more edgy, with characters taken from our real life circle of acquaintances. Whenever we would meet to flesh out the characters and themes, though, Mindy would invariably spend 90% of the time talking about all the hilarious things her character was going to do. Soon I grew resentful, and stopped participating.

Hey, maybe that can be the theme. What should we call it? Fags and Hags?

3. Gordon Ramsay is coming to dinner. What culinary delights would you serve and what type of new cocktail would be most appropriate for the occasion?
If Gordon were coming for dinner, George would be required to cook. Although I have become a much better cook over the past decade based on techniques I have picked up from my very own resident chef, I would not have the cahones to cook for a Food TV star (except for Rachael Ray, of course.)

I would, however, ply him with cocktails. (See this story for an example.) In fact, let me take this opportunity to answer a question posed to me over a year ago by Lulu during her award winning interview with me: "You are known far and wide as a mixologist without peer. If you were to make me a "Coaster Punchman," what would be in it, and how would it be served?"

I have finally made my decision. I can't take full credit for this cocktail, as a version of it was first served to me at the now-defunct Fez Cafe in New York. It is a delicious combination of vodka, Cointreau, fresh lime and Chambord, shaken over ice and served straight up in a martini glass. Since I can't locate a recipe for their old cocktail anywhere on the Internets, I am now claiming it as my own and will serve one to any of my Gentle Readers upon demand - provided you come over or invite me to your house.

4. If you had to appear as a contestant or a panelist on a game show, past or present, which would it be?
Let me qualify this by saying I hate game shows. I think they are a huge waste of time. That being said, there are several likely candidates. Of course any of the shows that would allow me to make sarcastic comments would be eligible. The Dr. Phil Show comes to mind immediately. Or maybe Judge Judy.

5. I'm always too frightened to make use of those 'need a penny, take a penny' containers like the one at my Korean Bagel Lady's shop and would rather overpay than make correct change. Sometimes there are even one and two dollar coins in there which must be some sort of trick. Do you use them?
First off, please quit touting that stupid Korean wench in your pathetic efforts to combat the popularity of The Mama Gin Files. Everyone knows that I, Coaster Punchman, have cornered the market on finding humor in the mocking of elderly Asian women with limited English language skills. Step off, bitch.

Second, what is it with you Canadian, Europeans and everyone else on the damn globe with using the higher value coins instead of bills? Don't y'all know what a pain in the ass it is to walk around jingling like some two-bit whore due to all the loose change you have to hold in your pocket?

Go back to dollar bills like sensible people. Yes, we Americans have flirted with such travesties as the Susan B. and the Sacajawea dollars, only to enrich the pockets of hundreds of newsstand vendors who receive grosses of them in error from people who think they are handing over quarters. Until the people revolt and stop using them.

But I digress. Yes, I do use those things and in fact just used one yesterday when I removed four (4!) pennies from one without the slightest wince from the counter clerk. All I can say is, live dangerously, Dale. It's much more fun.

Bonus Question: Am I insane? Bonus answer: I don't know. Take this quiz and let me know how you do.


Eebie said...

Yay! I got firsts!

That quiz is enough to mess up your head. So, I'm 30% crazy but it helps me keep my sanity.

The Freelance Guru said...

Ok what the hell is leave a penny take a penny anyway. I've always wondered. What would be the point of leaving one penny just to take another?

Melinda June said...

Listen, rice queen. Nobody calls me a hag.

Cap'n Ergo Jinglebollocks said...

that, mah friend, was a tasti-cake!! Harrum!!

Dale said...

I'm honoured you waited less than one year and happy to learn more about you and the mysterious workings of your household.

How much for a cd of your compositions? I can pay with bills instead of loonies and twonies (1 and 2 dollar coins).

I'm hungry. And not drunk. Help.

Thanks for taking the/your time - well worth it.

BeckEye said...

How come you never turned any of your songs in to the American Songwriter competition?? Your darling David Cook could be singing "The Change" instead of "Time of My Life." Unless "The Change" is about menopause. That would be kind of weird.

Bubs said...

So, alcohol is the fuel...

Great interview. I had no idea you and George were both so musical. And, how do you feel about playing anniversary parties. You don't have to worry about messing up the wedding ceremony by being stiff at least.

Tanya Espanya said...

Hah! Love this. It was worth the wait. I had sent Dale some questions but he was too good for them and never answered them.

I'm not saying Hi to you here, Dale!

Flannery Alden said...

Hey, CP...I have the lyrics to next year's winning AI song. Why not take a stab at the swooping melody to support it?

GrizzBabe said...

You guys are the most talented everyday couple I have come across -- cooking, playing instruments, writing, composing. Is there anything you don't do?

PG said...

Dear GB:

We haven't done biker chicks . . .not that we wouldn't.

lulu said...

Didn't you audition for the Dating Game at one point in your mysterious past?

Grant Miller said...

That drink sounds delicious.

Coaster Punchman said...

Lu, you are almost correct, and I had forgotten about that. In January 1987 I was visiting L.A. for the first time with a bunch of college buddies, and we went to audition for "The Dating Game." After we filled out our forms we discovered we were going to have to sit around for 5 hours. So we bagged and auditioned for "Card Sharks" instead. None of us made it.

Dino aka Katy said...

great question - and answers. I wish I was musical inclined I can't hold a tune in a bucket or play an instrument - I can cook and I am good with technology but that's it.

Chris said...

Someone that knows my flair for cooking asked me last year why I didn't try out for Hell's Kitchen. I told them it's because I don't want to have my love for cooking crushed by Gordan Ramsey's scathing commentary:) That would seriously suck.

Writeprocrastinator said...


The Missus says that you are hilarious and I concur.


You are on the verge of insanity and that's what we all love about you.