Podcast 048. Liam Wilson of Dillinger Escape Plan. Set your Good Vibe Blasters to High!

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Yoga, meditation, music, float tanks, psychedelics, philosophy, writing, creativity, freedom nuggets and shit on the water slide of life. 

Liam Wilson is best known for playing bass in the spastic, technical, incredible progressive metal mainstay, Dillinger Escape Plan. If you’re a fan of heavy music and you somehow haven’t heard of them over the course of the last 15 or so years, I don’t even know what to say.

Not so much into the metal? Fear not! This man is likely the opposite of what comes to mind when you imagine a guy with millions of head bangs under his belt. He’s a voracious reader, a practitioner of Transcendental Meditation, a yogi, a psychonaut, a student of many philosophies, and a bunch of other things I can guarantee he’d never be comfortable calling himself.

We spent very little time hovering around the surface in this conversation. In fact, I think Liam might have been a little bit excited to jump right in on a show that welcomes fare beyond the discussion of his bass rig (which is quite lovely).

Go give my new friend (and I do mean that!) some love on Twitter, Facebook and on some of his articles over at Talkhouse. If you want to see what his band is up to, click this.

Stay tuned, friends.

Marty Leeds and Michael Phillip in Math Magic Land.

What if there was a secret numerical language embedded within our culture?


I shan’t bullshit you my friends, I suck at math. If you forced me to do algebra with a gun to my head, the event could only end with my landlord having PTSD. I really wish that weren’t the case, because numbers truly do fascinate me. Somehow, we’re able manipulate these immutable, immortal concepts to extrude things into this world. Just take a look at all the amazing feats of engineering and architecture around you at this very moment that you’re taking for granted. It’s truly amazing stuff. And it’s all there, at least in part, because of what we do with numbers. 

(A visual representation of Pi to 10,000 digits.)

Now that we’ve established that my mind is a burrito of mathematical ineptness and ignorant awe, maybe that makes me extra susceptible to being manipulated into being mesmerized by witnessing simple patterns, or mathematical slight of hand. But, I’ll say it anyway- I think numbers might be more than hard fast units of measurement.

But please, dear god, don’t take it from me.

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046. The Nuggets that Lay Beyond. Featuring Christopher and Manny of Closure in Moscow (and humble host, Michael Phillip).


Christopher and Manny of Closure in Moscow on their allegorical, psychedelic opus soaked in a perfectly balanced brine of technology and satire.

There’s no group of creatives that has it harder than musicians. Their craft is exceedingly simple to steal, consume, judge, then cast aside like yesterday’s Hot n’ Ready crust (what this dork who looks like he went straight from a wedding to reviewing a 5 dollar pizza doesn’t tell you is that it’s the worst. The worst ever). To be fair, we have a right to be skeptical. The vast majority of today’s music is formulaic, predictable, shallow, devoid of any deeper meaning and often crafted for the sole purpose of grabbing the attention of the nearest industry turd. Then there are bands like my guests, Closure in Moscow

Closure has always leaned toward the “all-in” approach with their music, but their latest release, Pink Lemonade, pushes the chips forward like nothing I’ve ever heard before. Within the first minute of the record, they make it pretty clear that zero fucks shall be given through the duration of its running time. You’re either going need to jump on the roller coaster car that’s flying by you at a thousand miles an hour and hang on for dear life, or go back to your happy little Michael Bay-filled life like nothing ever happened. If you’re brave enough to pluck the red (or in this case, pink) pill from the alchemist’s paw, you’ll be rewarded with a rip-roaring, priapism inducing dive down the rabbit hole that makes Alice in Wonderland look more mundane than a trip through a Taco Bell drive through.   

Pink Lemonade is a highly intelligent nuanced piece of existentially poignant psychedelic prog pop art. An archetypical narrative soaked in a perfectly balanced allegorical, technological brine.

Throughout the record, the Closure boys skip on and off the beaten path like Dorothy and Toto taking pulls off of a two liter bottle of ayahuasca. You seriously never know what they’ll do next (which, in this case, is a refreshingly good thing). Every song operates on multiple levels, evoking everything from biblical motifs to an epic battle between dinosaurs and bone-collecting inter-dimensional cyborgs (a theme Miley Cyrus’ latest effort was sorely lacking).

I could go on and on about what I think is the best record I’ve heard in a very long time, but I’ll let my conversation (also, seriously one of my favorites ever) with Chris and Manny from the band take it from here. 

Oh, and did I mention they’re approachable, down to earth, funny, well-spoken guys that I could see hanging out with this weekend if not for the 10 thousand mile geographical disparity we share? 

Throw every bit of support their way you can via their Twitter and Facebook accounts and their website


Want to join the conversation? Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and don’t forget to subscribe and review on iTunes!

P.S.-You can also tip Midwest Real!

045. The Glorious Third Coming of Daniele Bolelli.


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When a certain type of person achieves monetary success and notoriety, one of their first moves is to cultivate some sort of bullshit persona.  I’m talking a VIP, tinted window, sunglasses on indoors set of behaviors.  What exactly is that?  I’ll tell you, it’s fear. A fear of being seen for the sham they truly believe they are beneath the ever-fleeting glitz and “success” they’ve managed to brush up against.

Don’t get me wrong,

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044. Do Psychedelics Have a Place in the Future of Medicine? With Brad Burge of MAPS, Army Ranger Tim Amoroso and Michael Phillip.

image"There really has been an exponential increase of media interest in what’s happening. I think that’s the result of new research, (and) the result of some major international conferences that are really establishing the field of psychedelic science and medicine." Brad Burge of MAPS.

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It seems we’re finally at a turning point in The War on Drugs.  All it took was a few decades of indoctrination, mass-incarceration, astronomical price tags and straight-up horrific body counts. Yet, society’s transition into a deeper understanding of these substances has been far from smooth. Yes, the people have clearly spoken on the subject of marijuana, and nearly half of all U.S. states have taken notice, putting some sort of marijuana-friendly law on the books. However, when it comes to Mary Jane’s more potent psychedelic cousins, the conversation is quite a bit more nuanced and controversial. Thankfully, for the first time in decades, the dialogue surrounding psychedelics is evolving. For that, we have organizations like MAPS to thank.

As your eyeballs wiggle their way through these words,

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043. Jeffrey Tucker, Will Pangman, Michael Phillip. A Digitally Fueled Utopia, Bitcoin and a Little Bit of Gin.


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People are evil, violent, greedy, hopeless bastards.  Even as a prepubescent flesh ball that would experience withdrawal symptoms if you took away his Super Nintendo controller for more than five seconds, I knew that.  How could I not?  Fear of the “bad guys” was embedded into roughly 99.9% of the mega-tons of media I consumed on a daily basis.  As a tyke I’d often lie in bed at night fearing a who’s who of boogie men with all manner of otherworldly weaponry that I could never hope to defeat.  But, thankfully, I somehow managed to survive the onslaught of demonic hordes that plagued my mind, the news, movies and the games I so eagerly devoured. I’d even argue that some of it made me a better person.   

More recently, from firsthand evidence, I’ve learned

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042. Unleashing your Primal Potential - Erwan Le Corre, Adam Von Rothfelder, Michael Phillip


imageDo me a favor- stand up. No problem, right?  Now walk around. That’s pretty easy, huh?  Next, smash the nearest wad of food into your mouth hole.  Isn’t this fun?  Ok, sit down, look at the screen, and you’re done! Sound familiar?  I know to me it does.  I practice that sequence of movements with the religious regularity of a devout Muslim.  I’m going to make a tremendously presumptuous leap and assume that you do the same.  Isn’t it sad that it’s that obvious?  If you’re reading this, you’re probably lucky enough to be a normal-ish, healthy-ish human being, so you’ve got some serious untapped potential.

To get our sorry asses to this cushion, our ancestors had to do some pretty epic forest-dwelling.  For them, remaining physically sound was an absolute necessity.  If they couldn’t forage, hunt, fight off enemies and keep the blood line going through some good, old-fashioned humping, you wouldn’t even be here right now.  Yet, here we are, living and breathing.  For god’s sake, let’s not waste it.

Ok, so what does “not wasting it” look like?  Well that’s up for debate, so let’s defer to someone who has a very highly developed answer to that query.

Is it just me, or was that way more awesome than going to the gym and bench pressing a useless amount of weight while some roided-out dude comments on your poor technique?  Don’t get me wrong, the gym is great and most of us can’t go to the woods often enough to ever be able to do what just happened in that video.  But, believe it or not, everything you just saw has real technique that you can learn.  In fact, Lecorre has dedicated his life to understanding and mastering the technique of natural human movement and now he’s spreading what he’s learned like gospel.

If you want more information on Erwan and his system check out his website and make sure you go tell him how kick ass he is via his twitter account.

Speaking of kick ass individuals.  You can say hi to gym owner, model, personal trainer and co-host on this episode Adam Von Rothfelder at his Facebook or Twitter page.  

Join the thousands who already support Midwest Real. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and don’t forget to subscribe and review on iTunes!

P.S.-You can now tip the show in Bitcoin!


Author, Mason and Brain-melter, Robert W. Sullivan IV, Michael Phillip



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I remember it well- the first time I heard the phrase “Freemason”.  Sure, it came from an uneducated mouth at a college party, but it was enough to make me rush to Google for enlightenment.  My 20-year-old brain couldn’t believe what it had read.  Masons seemed to be a real-life shadowy cabal of powerful men linked to basically every major event that lead to the establishment of the United States.  It’s well known that George Washington, Ben Franklin and and a slew of other founding fathers we worship were members of this secretive fraternal order shrouded in creepy symbols, weird phrases and secret handshakes.  How could I NOT have known this?  Then I came across the claims that masons were devil worshipers, prayed to idols and practiced black magic.                               



After a couple of months of being sufficiently freaked out,

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The Bitcoin “Crisis” Explained and 5 Reasons it Can’t be Killed (Sorry Haters).

2014-04-19-dead.jpgmedium Near the end of last year, Bitcoin was being gobbled up at an unbelievable $1100 per coin. With a cursory glance, at today’s price ($500), you’d think that the Coca-Cola of cryptos is careening toward disaster. In order to understand why that’s not the case, you might need a quick recap on how we got to this juncture. ____ For Bitcoin, early 2014 was a PR nightmare. The crypto was constantly being linked to drugs and money laundering, most infamously in the case of The Silk Road. But, the most damning sequence of events was due to a known security vulnerability and good-old-fashioned ineptness. Enter Hurricane Gox. By February, major (but known to be sketchy) Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox had been having problems for quite awhile. Because of that aforementioned security issue, Mt. Gox halted some of their user’s ability to withdraw Bitcoin while they fixed the hiccup. Other more legit companies came forward to show that this wasn’t a problem with Bitcoin at large, but with the implementation method of certain exchanges. Unfortunately, Mt.Gox still wasn’t able to get their act together. They went into full damage control mode, preventing their users from making withdrawals altogether. That’s when people really started freaking out. A shit-storm of downright apocalyptic press ensued, contributing to a big dip in the price of Bitcoin.


(^I hope you didn’t ^)

In light of this Mt. Gox debacle,

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040. Comedian Lee Camp, Michael Phillip


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All comedy is not created equal.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m always ready for (and often partaking in) some cheap chuckles facilitated by potty humor, but I have a deeper appreciation for the type of biting satire and commentary that actually opens your mind, forcing you to think whilst giggling.  

I’m no expert on the history of comedy, but there seems to be something more poignant stirring in the hearts of (some of) today’s comedians.  Maybe it was all made possible by trail-blazers like George Carlin and Bill Hicks.  Or, perhaps it’s a natural byproduct of the unbelievably troubled, yet amazing moment in history we dwell within.  Whatever the case, thank god for today’s satirists.  Their craft provides a truly valuable, yet digestible context for the crazy, revolution-ridden times we’re living in today. 

Lee Camp is a part of this silver-tongued coterie of counterculture comedians.  In his early days behind the mic, he was doing just fine for himself with more traditional material, but as he woke up to the injustice and hypocrisy running through society, he just couldn’t keep his mouth shut.  Lee now puts out a razor-sharp weekly rant dubbed “Moment of Clarity,” via his YouTube channel, which boasts tens of thousands of subscribers.  

Keep up with Lee through his websiteTwitterFacebook and over at disinfo.com.  

Join the thousands who already support Midwest Real. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and don’t forget to subscribe and review on iTunes!

P.S.-You can now tip the show in Bitcoin!



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