Listen to our latest episode with Jim Pollock by clicking here
Our latest cloudcast is all about Junta, Jim Pollock and the release on Record Store Day. I sat down and talked with Jim in the first part of this cloudcast to discuss his ongoing process. He opened up and shared details about his work. It was informative and a total pleasure to have him on the show. You can listen to our latest program by clicking on the player directly below. Give it a spin and see what you think. We also threw in a “Wedge” because Jim loves the song. I hope you enjoy it and stay tuned for part two of my full interview with Mr. Pollock and don’t forget to check out his website @ http://pollockprints.com/. This episode also includes my good friend Mr. Miner and his top pick for one of the most monumental versions of “David Bowie” to ever be played by the band during the sure fire era of the mid nineties. Mixcloud also has an application for iphone users if you want to go mobile. It’s great! Don’t forget to call the hotline @ 630-317-7033 and leave a message. Send a shout out or any other outrageous blurb and we will use it on the show! Enjoy the program.
A lot of fans already know the running joke about Phish and their lyrics. The outside world and several of those within the fan base will tell you that the lyrics of Phish are secondary. They are a means to an end. They will tell you that the lyrics are a throw away part of what the band is really all about. You will be told that the lyrics are poorly written fillers to the lead up of the launch pads shooting off to improvisational genius. A recording like Junta can be easily dismissed lyrically for what it offers by a number of people who are just looking to dive into the roots of some of the most prominent jam vehicles in the Phish library. However, stories are being told that would otherwise not exist without the words being used in the songs.
Junta is an album that introduces Phish to the world as a band with instrumentation on the mind and at the forefront. However, would we really think about “You Enjoy Myself ” the same way if those four hammer-over-the-psyche words were not expressed in the song in the way that they are presented? This short phrase – Boy-Man-God-Shit can cause the brain to stir within the instrumentation and the listener is left to ponder the meaning of this statement as the instruments open the channel up even further.
It is this opening of the channel through instrumentation that allows the listener to ponder the meaning even deeper as the song plays and when it ends. It ends. It leaves our channel open and the words become something else in the myth and can transform the listener. I remember being completely floored by these four simple words when I first realized my version of what was being said lyrically in the song.
The combination of these words and in this order shocked me at age seventeen. I am convinced that the impact was even more profound because of the instrumentation of the song and the music that allowed my mind to wrap itself around the backdrop of the lyrics as the channel was allowed to easily open. The instrumentation stands alone as a great escape in itself and the complex equation that fulfills this instrumental achievement is the same thing that opens the mind up to concentrate deeper on the multiple themes that one can use to shape their philosophy when these four words are uttered in succession within the larger musical idea. This is how we get to One. This is why I think that the lyrics of Phish are not to be discredited or ignored as a means to an end. I believe they are equally important and valid within the song as the actual jam.
Junta introduces the band to the general public. It’s primary goal is to exhibit the complexity and technicality of the band and their physical chops. It was not produced in the same way that many albums are produced with an ideology of crafting an image or a focus on songs that would turn into priority radio singles upon release into the commercial world. The album is not polished in the way that a lot of people are comfortable with in the music world and this is at the forefront of why Phish was able to achieve their status free of dominant image specifications and requirements brought on by the throngs that are constantly trying to tell us what to like and why to like it. I am speculating here and do not claim to speak on behalf of the band or their intentions. This blog will try to understand how the music can help us search for One but I do not know the individual intentions of the musicians…only the music.
However, it appears from my understanding that this band was not concerned with the accepted models and possibilities of extremely fleeting success in the music industry at the time by way of trying to be something that they were not when getting together to rehearse in the early years of Vermont. It appears they were concerned with the craft. Their search for One caused a ripple effect within American culture and began a journey for many people on their own mission to tap into the thing that wobbles even faster as we get closer to it. They were musicians but they were also involved in a deeply rooted art form that many musicians fail to grasp or try to incorporate into their philosophy when learning an instrument and the math behind songwriting. They were musicians and they were artists. The distinction can be made between art and music and when the two actually become One then this is when channeling, ascension, rich personal growth and impossible-to-describe-in-a-blog development occurs between the creators and the individuals in reception of this One thing. People have been trying to define this collaborative craft since the first time individuals acknowledged it was happening inside themselves on a cellular level. We will continue to try to explain it with words that cannot serve it justice. At some point it is just something you have to feel to understand.
Junta is rooted in jamming more than probably any other studio album that they have released to date because that is what they were doing the most at the time. They were finding their way and we are all blessed to have had this archive recorded into an official release that now enjoys platinum status. Record Store Day is fast approaching and with it comes the vinyl release of this album. I have been planning my strategy to acquire several copies of this master craft and will hopefully be able to fulfill this mission when the store doors open in a few weeks. I’d love to hear what the other vinyl collectors are doing out there to prepare for this awesome day when we all come together to gobble up the goods. Feel free to leave a comment and share your story with us at The Sloping Companion.
The biggest and most beautiful thing about Phish is that they were able to achieve their status and break into the mainstream while proceeding to mind fuck every record executive or marketing professional that thought they had the whole game figured out. It is this fact that carries the band in and out of each town with their distinctively unique blend of freaky weirdness that we gladly embrace on every level. The dominant structures want to fragment everything in the entertainment world and break everything down into very simple and marketable categories so that they can easily duplicate the method to maximize energy and profit. This duplication makes it easier to sell garbage to future generations that gladly accept what they are given. It makes the job and profitability of selling easier for the industry.
The art is essentially lost in order to duplicate simple concepts that eventually do not even resemble music on any level. The industry spends less effort to really work for the craft and the consumers are lulled into a world where they use less of their individual mind and actually gladly request to be told what to think through this foul form of programming. Then, an album like Junta comes along and destroys this entire mentality while striking an even more powerful chord in the people that know everything around them is essentially bullshit and regurgitated practices by people who have figured out only a small sliver of what makes sound…well….sound.
The search and acquisition for something so pure as Junta will create a deeper dedication for just one person than any number of albums may create for an even larger number of people. Music is easily listened to one day and then forgotten the next. However, I cannot remember anyone that has heard a studio “Esther” only to forget it months later and then to be banged over the head with the same idea that has only been packaged slightly differently for the zombie listening audience. This shit sticks with you because it is not just music. It is One. These are the people that refuse to be lulled into sleep and these will be the same people that teach reverence to the future generations when discussing the Phish library while revitalizing the musical message each and every year.
It’s Spring in Gamhendge. The wind is blowing and the grass is growing. I had an epiphany the other night when I was trying to figure out a way to get more involved in the community as I am tethered to my home more and more as a parent and a professional adult. I was watching a male crane build a nest for his female companion for about an hour and then it hit me. I can’t just jet off on a whim anymore due to these familial obligations but I still have that itch to be dialed in regardless of how many shows I can attend at any given time. I have begun a new project for the jamband community. I have access to all these gnarly wooden pallets that we use in the manufacturing industry. Normally these would be thrown out because they are not deemed reusable to ship out due to the standards of the industry.
The recycled wood movement is huge right now and I started thinking about ways to reclaim and reuse this lost wood that would otherwise just be thrown out and junked. The time is right to come home and start busting out projects for the community that would look nice in a home, dorm room or outdoors. The running theme is rustic flow and I hope you stay tuned to check out what we have planned for the website. I have teamed up with a good group of creative people and we are banging our heads together to come up with unique one-of-a-kind concepts that will be geared specifically towards the discerning jamband fan base. There are a ton of people out there doing a lot of great work artistically but it dawned on me that large scale pieces are not in abundance on the Internet or at shows.
These items will be manufactured by The Sloping Companion and will then be for sale online or on ebay as an auction. The funds raised from these pieces will go to The Mockingbird Foundation and will in turn help me fund my travels as I interview the masses about Phish and their passion for this band that has given us so much. Twenty percent of all funds raised will continue to go to The Mockingbird Foundation. Here is a sneak peak of what The Sloping Companion is busting out this Spring. What will come of these reclaimed pieces of wood? What kind of creations will my team offer? How can you help our mission? Stay tuned and check back often. We are busting shit out taboot taboot. We will have many offerings.
This week I broke these pallets down, refashioned them to their frames and gave them a good sanding with both medium and fine sand paper. They turned out looking like completely different pieces of wood.
I have an update on the sales of the Page’s House pins. We are only two pin sales away from reaching our $240.00 goal. We will be donating this money to The Mockingbird Foundation directly from the sales of these pins on the third Friday in May. We are only two pin sales away as of today to reach the goal. Can you help? We are pumped that there has been such a good response. If you would like to take us over the top then please click on the shop button at the top right of this page or click here to help out the cause. The rest of the money goes to fund my cloudcast about Phish at www.mixcloud.com/robertchampion. Every bit helps. Take care of each other!