Posts tagged ‘Phish’
We had some local hoopers come over a few weeks ago and did some filming to highlight the Future Hoop. We were able to acquire two hoops from our awesome Kickstarter campaign in April. We feature Ligia Herrera and Sarah Struck with some songs that our fans may know very well. Stay tuned for more and thanks for checking out these videos. Sit back, get comfortable and enjoy! Hula Hooping has made a major come back!
Come on out to the House Cafe this evening in Dekalb, IL for ELEVATE III – Listen – Read – Rage!
Welcome to episode two of The Extranjero Hour. This episode features Stardog Greg. He sits with us and chooses some songs through his esoteric list and explains how they tie into the theme of the show. You’ll hear some great artists like Jefferson Starship, Phish and Alanis Morisette. You’ll also hear two songs at the end from the Rusty Clearwater projects that I have produced over the years. You’ll hear “Where I Stand” and “The Meaning of a Sign”. Just click the play button above and enjoy.
I have witnessed some unexplained things that have changed me on a cellular level over the years. I could feel things change as I witnessed these events. I am convinced that there are songs in the human landscape that act as communicative efforts to intelligent life in the cosmos. These songs are cool enough on the surface. However, if you listen and allow yourself the freedom to surrender to the flow then a larger message presents itself. The Sloping Companion loves you and wishes you a great journey as you sit with us and enjoy a conversation with Stardog Greg and his passion for the subject of intelligent life here, there and everywhere. You are loved! Listen – Read – Rage and click the player above to listen!
Take care of each other…
Welcome to a new category on The Sloping Companion. We call it The Overflow Tank. What is this section all about? This is where my fellow contributors come on and speak their mind on various topics related to Phish and the surrounding community. Our first installment is by Stephanie Geman-Marcotte. She is an author and we are stoked to have her contributing to our website. Look for more from Stephanie in the coming months. She has a lot of good things to say. Enjoy.
When Robert asked me to explore the ways in which the older, more seasoned, Phish phans could welcome the younger aficionados into the Phishy fold, I accepted the challenge because I have noticed a divide between the older and younger members of the Phish community – a situation in need of improvement.
I’ve heard opposing views regarding the possible reasons for this lack of cohesion. The older clan thinking that the “newbies” are distractions to the scene, incapable of appreciating the cosmic subtleties of a Phish show. In some respects I can agree. I’ve had to move my blanket to a different section of the lawn multiple times at a show because the college kids next to me were jabbering away and it wasn’t to share their glee regarding the stellar jam unfolding before them.
Even if they had been emphatically shouting out the unique merits of that evening’s musical direction (a common practice among the younger crowd), affirmations of that nature should be conveyed silently with a jaw-dropped, awestruck glance to say, “Fuckin’-A dude, holy fuckin’-A, can you believe this shit!” A suitable inaudible response would be a wide-eyed, exaggerated exhalation while turning the head in shared disbelief to reply, “No, dude – this is fuckin’ insane, Driscol better be getting this shit on tape.”
There should be a manual, a Helping Phriendly Book given to everyone at their first show that lists the generally accepted rules of etiquette and offers suggestions to enhance the concert experience for the entire audience.
I get the sense, however, that a Prime Directive of this sort would not be warmly received (and most likely ignored) by the newer phans, especially if it harped on picking up garbage and keeping conversation to a hushed minimum while the band is playing and wiping off the toilet seat if your aim was off and not drinking to excess and …
I’m not sure if the younger crowd just hasn’t had time to cultivate an appreciation of these types of scout-like practicalities, or whether the older crowd has become a bit too staunch in their advanced age, unwilling to overlook minor discomforts and annoyances.
I can’t say that I’ve experienced outright disdain from the 20-somethings so much as a general shunning of the older crowd, whom they must perceive as incapable of grasping the unique opportunity to shed their skin of societal oppression in ways that are only possible in that type of relaxed setting.
I question, however, how much of their Phish experience is about the music, and how much is about having a raucous good time in a circus-like Mecca with an ample supply of illicit delights. And maybe it isn’t so black and white, maybe more like a broad spectrum, maybe it takes a while for a true appreciation of the music to develop – and if given enough time, they too will mature as I have.
I saw my first Grateful Dead show about the time the newest Phish fans were being born – back when the lot was mostly filled mostly with VW busses driven by gentle, Earth loving hippies instead of SUVs and Lexus’s borrowed from parents. The vibe has changed so much over the years, and it falls upon the jam-band elders, such as myself, to convey our wisdom. Because without restoring a keen appreciation of the helping, friendlier times of the long-long ago, I fear that a unified collective of barefoot children will remain just an idealistic dream.
My first Dead show was at the New World Music Theatre in Tinley Park, IL – a fitting name for a venue – back before they were all bastardized by commercialism to have empty names like the Tweeter Center, Waste Management Ampitheater, or the Allstate Arena. Before that day, I was an angst-ridden college graduate with a chip on my shoulder, but it only took that one night to transform my entire being into a peace loving hippy.
I added Phish to supplement my jam band addiction in 1992 after being blown away by my first show that transfixed me from the first note to the last. I was not quite sure how they were able to pull it off. Their intensity never faltered, even after playing an entire song while jumping on a trampoline. There was no time to catch your breath during drumz/space – just song after song of power-packed awesomeness.
Early Phish was a force both similar to, and completely different than the Grateful Dead, and I was lucky enough to have three solid years to follow my two favorite bands around the country. I was 24 years old at the time and had structured every aspect of my life and budding career to accommodate my demanding tour schedule.
So now it’s twenty years later. I have had two decades to witness the changes in the scene, and to be honest – I’m not sure the culture has evolved as I thought it would. In fact – I think the unity of the Phish crowd may have deteriorated. Or maybe it’s just impossible to avoid a generation gap. But, I don’t think that’s the case, because physical age was a non-issue with Deadheads. I hate to use corny new-age-isms, but ‘soul-age’ seemed a more accurate demographic to define the crowd. Or maybe there were just fewer kids seeing the shows back then, and the overall vibe reflected the greater median age of maturity.
It was a simpler time back in the early 90′s, cell phones did not exist (you must think I’m ancient). If you wanted to meet your friends at the show, you picked a time and a general quadrant in the lot like ‘next to shakedown by where we bought those devil sticks last year’ and it always just worked out. And if not, no worries, you could always find your taper friend by the soundboard who would know where everyone else was.
I love my tri-corder (that’s what I call my android), it’s an incredible device, but I question its place at a Phish show. It’s a distraction that keeps us (me included) from being fully engaged with both the band and the audience. I have always thought that the point of seeing the Dead or Phish in a live setting was to join with the collective in a way that shocks and persuades the melded soul to ignite – to weave a magical dream that connects everyone on a ‘higher’ plane of perception.
Being ‘actually high’ on goodies from the lot (although a powerful gateway to the sublime) is not the secret to generating a communal experience of transcendence, and if taken to excess, the goodies can actually impede the ability of the lucid weavers to spin up the magic that propels the band into uncharted levels of awesomeness. Too many times, I’ve witnessed trips gone awry with Trey having to stop playing in the middle of a song to talk down a red rocks climber flirting with disaster, or balcony divers landing with a sickening thud on the concrete, and just recently, I read (via a flurry of freaked out tweets) about a naked girl jumping from the top of a light post. There’s a time and place for going that far, and it’s in the safety of your own home with a copy of Timothy Leary’s ‘High Priest’ with designated trip drivers to insure safe passage to the unknown (and back!)
So if a questionable character in the lot offers you a palm full of blue liquid for five bucks, don’t take it – even if the stuff you took over two hours ago seems like it was bunk. I don’t want to come off as preachy (since I could be close to your parents’ age), and since I can’t stop you from doing things that I used to do on a regular basis, I won’t encourage you not to. But, I can give you some advice on how to maximize your experience (and of those around you) and limit the potential for life-altering disaster.
Firstly, if it doesn’t grow in the ground, it isn’t for you. I’m not saying that there isn’t some wicked powerful natural stuff out there that could permanently fry your brain, but at least you know what you’re working with. Natural stuff doesn’t give you the sharp-edged high that you get from some mystery elixir that some half-cocked pseudo-chemist brewed up in his bathtub. Natural stuff won’t keep you up all night against your will, it won’t make you salivate uncontrollably, it won’t make you grind your teeth till your jaw aches, and in my opinion – stuff that grows in the ground is less likely to make you take all your clothes off and jump off of a light pole instead of paying attention to the awesome band playing right in front of you.
Less is more. Looking back at my 100+ Dead and Phish shows, the best were the ones where I wasn’t too far gone to have a conversation with my lawn neighbor, or figure out how to pay for my pretzel and put away my change, or keep track of my shoes, or help somebody in need of assistance, or to NOT BE a person in need of assistance.
OK, enough lecturing – that wasn’t my original intent when I started writing this. In fact, I’m a total hypocrite, my era wasn’t any better – the 90’s crowd had their share of immaturity. I was at the Grateful Dead show at Deer Creek where all the fans who didn’t get their miracle broke down the fence at the top of the lawn and stormed in. Jerry and the band seemed so sad, like their devoted following had been usurped by an army of disrespectful strangers. True Deadheads would never even think to storm the fence. So who were those people? And did they blossom into fans the band could be thankful for? I’d like to think so…
The Proclamation – Mark The Pilot – Father Of Icculus
At the moment in Gamehendge when the head elder would grow paranoid and power hungry, my father hovered over the home of the elder in his ship (cloaked in the tempest) and started to speak to that which had turned dark in spirit. “The musicians will come and they will mark this spiritual journey in the new land,” he proclaimed, “because my son is the key to universal contact!” These words scared the head elder and he began to shoot his cannon into the sky. This would have no effect on the craft. The machine is what I would later refer to when I would say, “My home has come on a storm. Mark will prepare the great landing and will bring light to the nefarious king who has yet to appear.”
Mark’s ship was made of a foreign material that was unknown to the members of Gamehendge. The members of his home land relied on him to act as the person that would ease the Lizard People into the trials and tribulations that would soon follow their race. The prophecy had proclaimed everything that would happen and it had been accurate up to this point. I was probably the most shocked out of everyone. However, I kept on writing. It hurt Mark to have to be so close to me without actually having face to face contact. It was at this time when many of the Lizards would start to let curiosity take over and venture to the mountain for themselves. The majority of elders soon came to the proper conclusion that the head Lizard was plotting against them thanks to the clue given by Mark and it came to be known that he had plans to kill me so that he could maintain control over the land.
When Mark learned of this he said to the head Lizard in the cloaked storm, “You cannot stop the coming visitation. When he first arrived you proclaimed Icculus as a gift and now you plot against him. Your peers will see through you. Icculus will give them a sign.” At this very moment I began to once again draw in the dirt on the top of the mountain. This time I drew a goblet with a Lizard buried underneath the earth. The Lizards that were guarding me were completely baffled. How did this foreign being know that Lizards were buried in the ground with goblets upon death? They dropped to their knees and honored me. This made me very nervous. They begged and pleaded for me to elaborate, and in the ground I spelled out the name, in the traditional Lotuk language, Pintas…the name of the head mystic. I was very uncomfortable when they wanted to worship me instead of The Great Mystery.
Pintas began to make his way toward the mountain with his cannon. He began shooting all Lizards that he would see upon his trek. The storm followed Pintas all the way to the mountain. As the storm followed, a blissful sound came from the clouds from four great musicians. This was the first time that a mention of the preachers is made in the text. A great massacre ensued and many Lizard People would be killed by the cannon of Pintas.
The head Lizard was finally at the foot of the mountain preparing to do whatever he needed to do to kill me. The guards became aware of what was happening and put me in the center of the shelter that had been built. They watched as Pintas tried to climb the mountain with his cannon. Mark then proclaimed from the sky, “You cannot get in the way of progress. Your faith has been tested and you have failed. Did you not at one time ponder what resided beyond your land? You were once a mystic and now you have turned into an evil murderer. I will mark you with the sign to prove to the Lzard People that their time has come to embrace the mysteries of the universe and that your end is near. The message we have given Icculus is the light and the stargate and will be the one that brings the Lizard People together in harmony. He has your answers and yet you have turned cold and dark.” Just then a giant crack appeared in the ground and split the land in two.
Pintas fell into the hole and was never heard of or seen again by anyone. The Lizards that were at the top of the mountain watched all of this in amazement and once again fell to their knees. Then, I dropped to my knees and began to bow down to the Lizards. It would appear that harmony between us had begun to be achieved at some level. The storm vanished and many days of glorious sunshine would follow while the great shelter was finished.
Mark First Mentions Cannabis
I began to draw in the dirt a great leaf with a giant water way behind it that appeared to be a river. The Lizard People were aware of one river in their land that stretched for miles and miles and had used it to irrigate their crops. Many wild plants grew along the riverside and this leaf was not uncommon. However, they did not know what a plant like this was for and just tossed it away to make way for other foods. It is at this time when the ignorance of the Lizards at this moment is shown in great detail. Mark arrived with the storm and led them down with me in hand towards the river. After spending thirty nights on top of the mountain, I began to smile profusely. The Lizards got to the river and I became extremely elated. Then, Mark hovered over in a cloud and said “It is your time to unlock the power of the great plant…Icculus. Take this plant and spread the seed all over the land. When you have reached the age you will know what to do.” The Lizards were shocked by this order but out of respect came to the conclusion that they should not destroy this wild herb. They took a pot and one of the plants and placed it inside. I ran to it. I hugged and played with it for hours. I had a special connection with this plant because it was so highly regarded in my homeland as a sacred medicine and spiritual sacrament. I began to feel extremely connected to my home even though it was still foreign to me. It was a very hard time.
The Lizards were still confused because they didn’t know exactly what was so special about what they had come to know as a wild problem. Mark said, “The prophecy says that all Lizard People will unlock the magic of this plant in time. Lizards must know now that this plant is regarded as sacred in the universe and is here to help you in better understanding the aesthetic throughout the lacuna.” Just then I grew in great size and strength and took on the features of an older person…and then I began to speak in the traditional Lotuk language. The lizards were astounded. I answered to my father, “We can live in peace with each other. We must learn to harvest this plant in great numbers and take in the flame.”
They followed the storm back to the mountain and I climbed it all by myself. The Lizards followed in suit all the way to the top and I proclaimed that this was where we would create the sacred space. They took the potted plant and set it next to me. I began to water and sing to the plant. There was no storm at this time…just a single cloud that Mark and his craft hid inside. The sun was shining very brightly and the Lizards prepared a giant festival and feast for this miracle of growth. Mark wept because a new age had begun in this land. Mark proceeded to light his plant and ingest the sacred smoke in the name of his homeland that he missed so much. It would be a while before I would be old enough to ingest the plant on my own through this way. This was the time of a great transition in the land and would lead to a giant harvest of a plant that would lend itself to a multitude of uses. I was able to translate these words without ever speaking face to face in the traditional way with my Father.
I stopped dancing for a moment and dropped to my knees and shouted, “A new age has begun. A man will come and will use this plant against us. We must prepare for the time when I will not be able to leave this mountain. I will be trapped and my fellow Lizard brothers and sisters will not be able to visit me. There will be a very dark time and this time will be marked by the evil King. Then, I proclaimed, “This is the time to prepare. I have seen the prophecy and it says praise the land and worship those that have given their lives in the name of conserving your sacred space. We will work in their name!”
Those That Worship the Water continued to linger in my mind. My native family knew of these people and their powerful understanding of the elements. The Lizard People had mixed signals based on the previous conflict between the two cultures. However, I noticed that there was a new generation of younger Lizard People who appeared to be more open to the idea of learning more about the culture that resided beyond the borders of their villages. Gamehendge was a vast area and I could sense that the Lizard People were in a period of establishing themselves as a community in a new way. There was worry in their eyes and this was mixed with a curiosity and genuine sense of hope for the future. We were at a cross roads. We would soon establish the farm and many eyes would be open to the much needed relaxation and ascending qualities of this sacred plant.
And the four shall play…
Welcome to another episode of The Philler. This time around we are announcing the results of our Phish short essay contest. The prize is one of our upcycled pieces from our collection. The theme of leg one was clearly the running tuck gag. We got our heads together in the workshop and began to develop a clock dedicated to the running laugh fest of our first string of shows. Click here to listen.
The winner is announced on our latest episode that you can listen to above. Ghostbusters fans will love this episode! We had some great entries and everybody won a little something for participating. Here is a picture of the prize for this contest without the clock hardware added. We will be adding it before we send it out to the winner!
This episode of The Philler covers the submissions from the contestants and we also had a chance to grab Ed Krystosek for a moment to discuss our beloved Green Crew that selflessly takes care of the grounds in the towns where Phish lands to do their thing for all of us fans. Mad love to everyone involved in Green Crew both past and present.
I played some really fun stuff from the opening night of this tour on this episode. The opening night of this tour delivered. My speakers confirmed this to me over and over again as I brought my family together last night to peel apart the first installment in a great run of interactive Phish.
The glory came in the second set. However, this first set was nothing to forget or dismiss in any way shape or phorm. The whole thing was glorious! The band came out on stage and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are taking this whole thing even more seriously than previous comeback tours. Each tour since the comeback has gotten more refined and polished. We are only left to wonder the inevitable question. What can possibly come next? I am personally pumped for some new studio material. This is the golden age of Phish. I’ll be repeating that a lot on this blog because it is true.
“Nothing” was played for the first time since Camden in 2012. It was really fun to hear on the recording. The real treat for me was the live rebirthing of “Beauty of a Broken Heart” onto the stage and into the hearts of many adoring fans. Go Page! I’d love to see this song make her way into a more solid rotation. It can be the ebb or the flow for a show. It is a steady one either way you slice it.
“Torn and Frayed” popped off well. First night jitters? If Trey has any issue with it then he is a pro at hiding it because we got straight up solid playing from the guy on this night and throughout the entire string of performances. Welcome to the most professional touring act in the country! I’m sure I’ll be repeating that more than once on this blog too as we move forward. Sometimes the simplest phrases are the most clear. These guys are fucking professionals!
“Torn and Frayed” – Lyrics
Hey let him follow you down
Way underground, wind and he’s bound
Bound to follow you down
Just a dead beat right off the street, bound to follow you down
Well the ballrooms and smelly bordellos
And dressing rooms filled with parasites
On stage the band has got problems
They’re a bag of nerves on first nights
He ain’t tied down to no home town
Yeah, and he thought he was wreckless
You think he’s bad, he thinks you’re mad
Yeah, and the guitar player gets restless
Well his coat is torn and frayed
It’s seen much better days
Just as long as the guitar plays
Let it steal your heart away, steal your heart away
Well his coat is torn and frayed
It’s seen much better days
Just as long as the guitar plays
Let it steal your heart away
Joe’s got a cough, sounds kind a rough
Yeah, and the codeine to fix it
Doctor prescribes, drug store supplies
Who’s gonna help him to kick it
And his coat is torn and frayed
It’s seen much better days
Just as long as the guitar plays
Let it steal your heart away, steal your heart away
Well his coat is torn and frayed
It’s seen much better days
Just as long as the guitar plays
Just as long as the guitar plays
Just as long as the guitar plays
Just as long as the guitar plays
There was really interesting communication happening on stage between the musicians as is evident upon critical listening whether or not you attended the actual performance. The improvisation just kept on coming in set two. It was relentlessly coming in and out of every portion of that set two string of songs. I was completely moved to hear the band playing at such a consistent and creative level that I had to showcase the whole start of the second set through to “If I Could” on my program this week. It also deserves a spot on our radio station rotation due to the overall creative energy of the unified musical articulation. The band was playing as a psychogenic unit.
Lives were changed. Minds were adjusted.
Our community is filled with a myriad of different types of characters. Things propel us into our decisions at shows for different reasons. The music can motivate us to do things that may seem unreasonable to some people. It can create solid networks and can establish choices that we make outside of the concert setting. Unfortunately, it can also water a person down when it becomes the thing that controls such an individual that has been over saturated by too much Phish in a spell. However, in the case of the second set from night one of Worcester, I wouldn’t mind hearing four or five nights in a stretch of that exact level of musical virtue. I’d be able to justify four or five shows in a row for my spiritual pursuit.
We are all trying to get to One at the end of the day. Other people need more shows to get what they need. One day I will be on the road with my children at Phish shows. I personally could not abandon them for any real length of time. Thank God for that Noblesville and Alpine Valley run. We were able to see our children in between the shows and that was a great blessing to have a little break with our always ready and willing in-laws and on call baby sitters. Three weeks away from my children for a band? I personally could not do it with a clear conscious. I cannot wait to take them on their first road trip. We are blessed to have the official live streams from the band to get them prepped for the venue, lifestyle and congregation that can only be experienced when you just get in the RV and go for it!
The second set brought some elaborate instrumental work from everyone involved. “Carini” led us into the depths of the unknown plunge and the crowd was in for a welcome home that only affirms the evidence of seriousness and sophistication from the entire Phish crew. The jam out of “Carini” takes the listener into an exasperated introduction of several songs that romanticizes the mind into the hook that beckons the need to see more shows. Why? Look at what you might miss. The chase was fathomlessly on in New England and if you caught it then it was a blessing.
The chase continues as Leg two waits to sweep us back into the mystic and back into the romance that is the musical expression of four men bound for synchronistic clairvoyance on the most auricular heights imaginable to those that chase it. The pursuit is deep. We are all getting there at our own pace. This string of songs show us perfect examples of the allowance of the mind to time travel while still residing in the body. We go back. We go forward. We initiate the present in the illuminated back drop of this great plunge that we allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to take together as a unified force. This is the true purpose of music. It can entertain. It can make you rich. It can get you laid. It can transcend the entire experience of human life. It can also do the exact opposite. However, we are not talking about the exact opposite. We are talking about the true shit. We are in genuine mode every time we open ourselves up to this magical network. The journey that the band takes from “Carini” through to “If I Could” is essential One. The openness is awesome and the channel circulates once again into an even deeper understanding of purpose and holism.
Siket throbbing, ambient statements, “Norwegian Wood” embellishments, uncharted romps through a “Ghost” that exposes the musicians for the truly collaborative voyagers that we know they are whether or not they are trying to do it with each and every song and the beautiful complexion of it all is it penetrates the audience. Their reaction says it all. It’s all right there in the radiating reaction of those East coast fans. We also got an exquisite use of the envelope filter as it bound one of the greatest transitions of the evening. The envelope following filter (auto-wah) made the bass line transition ever so thick as Phish laid down another strong Stevie Wonder classic. It was totally tasteful.
The envelope following filter “aka” auto wah. It is a sordid beast. When applied, it establishes a sonic experience that resembles a thick sitar milkshake from Mars that is distinctive and unforgettable as it resonates through a set of cabinets. It’s an essential funk sound that is always recognized once you know what you are listening for as an effect and Mike Gordon is a tasteful master of this deployment. Keep your ears open for it.
“Instead of the effect being controlled by a foot pedal, as on a standard wah-wah, the effect alters in response to the volume of the input signal. Since the electronic circuits in the effect can respond much faster than a human musician can physically move a foot pedal, certain effects that a standard wah cannot achieve are only possible with auto-wah. The response of the effect is highly interactive with the dynamics of the input signal – this makes it possible to vary the response at will via slight adjustments to playing technique. Therefore it may take some practice before the response of the auto-wah can be wilfully controlled in order to achieve a consistent sound.
A typical auto-wah circuit uses an envelope follower to produce a voltage representing the overall volume of the input. This signal is then used to sweep the cutoff frequency of a filter. The filter usually has a low-pass or bandpass response. The Boss AW-3 is an example of such a device.
There is a variant of auto-wah that utilises a low frequency oscillator (LFO) instead of an envelope follower to alter the effect. The filter response varies constantly with time and is not linked to playing dynamics. The Boss AW-2 is an example of such a device. The difference in sound is subtle, but careful listeners will notice the constant period of the filter sweep. The song “Falling Into Grace” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers is an example of an LFO controlled auto-wah applied to the bass guitar.
Typical controls on an auto-wah include a sensitivity control to adjust the input level to match the level expected by the envelope follower and other circuitry, a control for the initial cutoff point of the filter, and a control for the depth of the filter sweep. Some more sophisticated units offer controls for the resonance of the filter, multiple filter types, and options for sweeping the filter up or down.” – Wikipedia
“Boogie on Reggae Woman” came on proper as ever and the sequence culminated into an emotional roller coaster landing that slowed our nerves down into a graceful “If I Could” that left my ears gushing splendor through my entire central nervous system. I had to give this sequence props on my show. A major mind adjustment happened and we are blessed to even have this release as the Phish machine rolls on stronger than ever as a stage production.
Before I get into my rant I just wanted to send a sincere thank you to everyone that has shown support for our website over the past few months. We have grown dramatically on our Facebook page over the course of the past two months and have collaborated with some great people along the way. A lot has happened since we started plugging away with the new site. Let me take a moment to tell you what has been going down.
Pins – We have dove head first into the pin world with a little help from our friends @ ww.treethugger.com – Ryan Getz and I met in rec.music.phish back in the day and have reconnected to bust it out. Check out our pin section and if you buy now you get a great bracelet free of charge from our workshop. We’ve got Page’s House, Reba, Side A in our multiple tape throwback series, Side B coming soon and Big Red all available right now on our site. There are a ton of pin makers out there doing some great work. I was able to hang out with two of them this past tour in Noblesville. A special shout out to Adrian Sharpe @ StuPINdous Creations and Tripp Shealy @ Tripps Prints. We escaped to the lawn on night one of Noblesville even though I had a pavilion seat and hung out for some of the set. These two guys are doing great work and I was able to interview them for an upcoming episode of The Philler. Stay tuned for the goods. Check out their work and check out our pins if you’d like – remember that we give 20 percent to The Mockingbird Foundation on a regular basis.
The Phanatic Phone App – We are being included on the new update for the Phanatic smart phone app powered by Phish.net. We are super pumped to be pairing with this great application that I personally use almost every single day. Stay tuned for a future episode where we pick apart the finer details of this app and hopefully we will be getting the development team on a future episode of our show.
Upcycled Wood Projects -We are also happy to announce that we have sold two of our upcycled wood projects since beginning the journey. Stay tuned for more pieces in the very near future.
The Tela Collection – We have added a new element to our website in an attempt to diversify our fund raising for The Mockingbird Foundation and our radio portal. The Tela Collection is a series of jewelry pieces crafted with the Jam Band fan in mind. They are all high quality pieces. Take a look. They would make the perfect gift for that special someone.
Radio – We recently launched our 24 hour radio station which is hosting all of our cloudcasts and other programming by The Sloping Companion. We are also happy to announce that we will be offering live and diverse programs in the very near future on the weekends. We are always looking for funny and interesting bits and pieces for the radio station. If you have something that you want to get off your chest then give us a buzz by calling the hotline @ 1-630-317-7033 – We’ll use it on the air!
Advertise on our station! – We are looking for people that want to advertise on our station. I will produce a professional advertisement in my studio to run in rotation on the station and during the cloudcasts for a small fee to help support the hosting costs of the radio station. We can work out a great plan for you. If you are interested then get in touch!
Our Blog Needs Contributors – If you would like to contribute written pieces to the blog then we would love to talk. We are interested in all perspectives of the Jam Band culture. Send us your written work and maybe we can make something happen.
Funds Raised – We have raised $221.70 cents for The Mockingbird Foundation as of 07-10-12 and it’s just the beginning. Buy an item today and help support a great foundation.
We began the evening with “Sample in a Jar” and it was by the book. It was short…It was sweet. It was Phish welcoming their attendees and viewers to two nights of what I originally speculated was going to be another feather in the cap of the most professionally prolific band in America. “Party Time” kept the first set going and I was eagerly awaiting the next one. Then, something next level happened that reminded me that you should never tell yourself that you have gotten comfortable with Phish. Carl Gearhard made his way front and center with his brass and “Party Time” became “Party Time” plus to render it into a song that cannot be thrown away into the forgotten banks like most versions. Check out a fun interview that Mockingbird did with Carl by clicking here when you get a chance.
My stream cut out during the ending of “Simple” and I missed the best part of this otherwise pedestrian version of a classic Phish song that is always welcome for me in any live set due to the historical context of it. I got up and refreshed the player. I wasn’t really upset about having to refresh the player. This technology is still new stuff. This is not perfect technology even though we want it to be. However, look how phucking far we have come ladies and gentlemen?The quarter note snare hits of “Axilla” cannot help but to propel the audience into an immediate rhythm that aligns with the heartbeat and intrinsically speeds up our insides live from the living room or right there on the rail. Then, the stream cut out for the second time and I had to get up again and refresh the player. Still, it was exquisite. Still, it was a simple virtual swipe of my debit card. Still, it has been another great year of music, life and the spiritual pursuit of One. Church was in session through the invisible and penetrating waves of wi-fi and unknown consequences of said invisible forces as they travel through our bodies.Still, we were pursuing it because that feeling in the heart is the feeling that makes it all worth the risk. Sacrifices, unforeseen and invisible waves penetrating through our bodies so we can be this dialed in as it is happening live on stage.Trey adds an insane blues lick into the weaving “Tube” and the audience gets their request. Again, it was short and sweet but was also locked in and solid at the same time. The band had not really opened up at this point in the broadcast but you know it’s going to happen. If we know anything about anything then this is for sure. It’s so stupendous!
The conduit is alive and well. The channel is open. The new lighting elements are winning me over. Noblesville calls my name with each and every bit of bytes as the show all unfolds in Lombard, Illinois and throughout the invisible waves as they penetrate deeper and deeper through our bodies.
We get a really nice and jammed out version of “Kill Devil Falls” in the first set. Fishman is all smiles as it ends and the stage goes black with the exception of a few blue lights pointing directly down. The king of transitions (CK5) sets the stage for the next element of this journey.
“Water in the Sky” comes next and I immediately know where this is going. I don’t hate this song. However, I really need something more at this point even though I am surrendering to the flow. We get a “Horn” and the guitar solo is probably one of the most under-appreciated pieces of composed parts ever played by Trey Anastasio and I will always feel that way. So many fans list it as a throwaway tune. I could spend hours debating that with the strongest of fans and welcome that argument at any time. Feel free to comment.
My son did an interpretive dance during “Bathtub Gin” that would have won him an award on lot. Someday Waylon….Someday soon.
“Bathtub Gin” opened up nicely and got super manic at the end leading me to another opportunity to teach my son about the constructs of meter and the technical art of playing between the tones. Bonding is the best and it’s even better when music is involved. I’m already exposing Waylon to chord charts on the keyboard in our basement. I have no idea if he is picking up on any of it but the boy does like to dance. We all have to start somewhere.
Phish had to get goofy as shit right? They delivered an “I Didn’t Know” and Tubbs shined with his Electrolux calling card. However, it got really weird up there as Jon Fishman tucked in his outfit into his shorts in a true Poindexter meets Geritol meets I didn’t just see that moment.
“Run Like An Antelope” – “Everybody tuck in your dresses” – “Tuck…Tuck…Tuck…Tuck…” – Tick – Tick – Tick Tock – The countdown to Noblesville is shining through tonight. My wheels immediately began to spin and I had a great new idea for an upcycled wood project. We started manufacturing these plates out of wood and will eventually be converting them into clocks to sell on the website. If you are interested in one to commemorate an amazing run of shows for Leg I then please hit us up and we will make you a clock. They are hand painted and glossed. I tried to bust out a few to take to Noblesville in time and we got some good feedback on this item. These are built to last a long time and 20 percent of all the sales will go directly to The Mockingbird Foundation @ http://www.mbird.org. Hit us up.
An interesting little bit of information about why the Fishman frock print is so deeply embedded into our psyche. If you desaturate the two official colors then you get the exact same shade of grey. This is a subconscious piece of psychedelia that is doing a number on our minds without us even knowing it. Well…now you know it. The invisible eye is playing a trick on us every time we see it. I’m not sure if this was the intention of the band but it sure is a mind screw once you start playing with the colors.
“Get Back on the Train” opened up the second set. It rolled along nicely enough but I am hoping for more tonight. Then, my hopes become granted wishes as Phish cuts deep into the root to propel the second set forward with “Rift” as my passion is sparked. However, there is nothing terrible about it. Trey is nailing the written solo for the most part and is showing a nice touch of multiple dynamics as he midway delves into a mezzo piano and then brings it into the forte range towards the end to pass it off to Page and his part. Trey sure fires his way through the next written solo while embellishing a short intro beforehand to make the second go around a whole new musical idea.This is a perfect time to talk about another musical term. The term is dynamics.
In the world of music, dynamics refers to the volume of a sound, note or tone. It can also refer to virtually any aspect of the execution of a given piece, either stylistic (staccato, legato etc.) or functional (velocity). The term is also applied to the written or printed musical notation used to indicate dynamics. Dynamics are relative. The two most basic forms of dynamics are p or piano – indicating a soft variation of the music & f or forte – indicating a loud variety. There are several forms within these two basic structures that indicate a more varied expression of dynamics in relation to the volume in a portion of music. Some of the more subtle variations of the two basic dynamic marks are mp or mezzo-piano – indicating moderately soft and mf or mezzo-forte – indicating moderately loud. Even still, there are several more variations to give the written work a wide dynamic range based on the whims of the composer.“Rift” is a practice in listening to your other players in a way that takes developed training unattainable by many musicians. The entire song is a chase and then a synch between the musicians. The whole thing relies on knowing where you are in a song. Many songs do not demand knowing. Phish can thankfully do this and still make the entire delivery unique every single time they execute it on stage.My hopes for more continue to be granted as the band quickly goes into “Split Open and Melt” and sets up the weird. My son is literally passed out and snoring on the couch. It’s not an obnoxious snore.How can the snore of a two year old be obnoxious? Instead, I move him to his bedroom because Dad has a feeling that he might need to turn up the volume…In 3…2…1
There we go…
“Split Open and Melt” – Phucking weird. It has literally turned into the most psychotic lulla-bye ever in the history of psychotic lulla-byes. My favorite playing psychedelic band is finally being psychedelic with their instruments for the first time tonight in the exploratory sense of the word. Sure, “I Didn’t Know” can be considered psychedelic. Poindexter Fishman? Poindexter Fishman is also psychedelic but that “SOAM” was a head full of exploratory and maddening phun.
The invisible waves from this wi-fi world that we live in flow through me with every song. I can literally feel it flowing through me. Who knows how this technology is going to change the human race on a molecular and cellular level? The invisible waves bring gifts like this Phish stream and, not unlike Phish, they bring uncertainty as to what they are doing to us in the long term. This is why we need to hit the road and dial it in a different way than we are dialed in here on the home front. We are too dialed in on the home front. We need to expand the space, gas up and hit the road. We need space. We need spaces.
Adult life is an adventure in of itself and it also poses a fine set of anxieties and pressures that demand an escape every now and then as we move through it. The road is needed. We need expanses. We need to feel less confined. We need to control these invisible waves instead of the waves controlling us.
We need One. We need to just get in the phucking car and go.
Then, it happened. It fucking happened. Phish…The band Phish…In the year of 2012…In June…Interacted with their audience.
- At Ntelos, Phish enlists one of the Navy’s top brass (hamptonroads.com)
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!