Hats off to Phish's manager, Coran Capshaw of Red Light Management, who is the first artist manager ever to receive the Humanitarian Award from Billboard.
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(Interviewer Benjy Eisen:) What was the most unexpected challenge of writing your first real score?
(Trey Anastasio:) It's been a steep learning curve. I've learned that in the theater the story is everything. Every lyric, every line and every musical gesture has to propel the journey of a given character or the overall plot. We've had workshops that take place over two or three week periods. In the workshops, actors run thru each number with minimal props and blocking. Sometimes a song doesn't land the way we expected it to. The solution is often not what I would have anticipated.
In one case, there was a song that Amanda and I had written that we were particularly excited about. When the actor sang it in the workshop, it didn't have the same emotional impact as it did on the demo. Amanda, Doug and I huddled up in the hallway to talk about it. I suggested re-writing the song, but Doug disagreed. He explained that in this case, he didn't think that the issue was the song. He felt that the character needed a few more lines of dialogue to set the song up, so that the audience understood the intent behind the song before they heard it. He changed the actor's lines, we ran it again and it was stunning. This was a complete revelation to me. In the past, I've habitually led with the music. I've learned so much from this experience.
Read more, full interview at: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/exclusive-phishs-trey-anastasio-talks-about-his-first-musical-20111031#ixzz1cPMtLVnt
Congratulations to Phish.netter and r.m.p. digester Benjy Eisen for doing this interview with Trey in Rolling Stone.
Just as we've done for the last 73 weeks, the Blog is proud to bring you another Mystery Jam. As usual, we will be playing for an MP3 download, courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. The rules haven't changed: you need to correctly identify the song and the date to win. Post your guess in the comments. One guess per person per day (with the second “day” starting after I post the hint). The hint will come on Tuesday and the answer will be posted on Wednesday. Good luck...
Tuesday Hint: No hint needed this week.
A story from Trey about meeting Lou Reed, from the 10-31-98 Phishbill
We did this gig with Lou Reed in Germany. I was getting ready to go on, and I was walking across this field behind the stage. It was this kind of cool outdoor venue, and there was Lou Reed sitting there. So I went up to talk to him, introduce myself and everything, he was really nice, and I asked him a couple of questions about what he’s up to these days, blah-blah-blah. And then he was standing there and we went to go onstage, and as I was walking onstage he said, ‘Show ‘em how to rock and roll. After all, we invented it.’ I said, “Oh, okay,” and walked onstage. And as we started playing I got really confused and couldn’t tell if he had meant Americans or the Velvet Underground. I thought both statements could be true. So I spent the whole set trying to figure that one out. I still haven’t figured it out. I still sit there scratching my head every night while we’re playing: Did he mean Americans…?
It all comes down to radio. Either it plays your new single or you collapse. Live by the sword, die by the sword. Doesn't matter what you did in the past, if your new record ain't a hit on the radio, you're toast. Just look at Christina Aguilera. Her album stunk up the joint, she got no traction at radio, and she had to cancel her whole damn tour.
Didn't used to be this way. Used to be bands were developed slowly. The audience saw them as more than one hit wonders. These are the classic rock acts. Once we got to the video era, band shelf lifes shortened. Now it's nonexistent.
If you were made by the machine.
If you made it outside the system, if it was about touring and gaining fans slowly, you're laughing all the way to the bank. Recorded music revenue may be way down, but Phish is still cleaning up on the road, despite never having a mainstream radio hit, without having any radio airplay whatsoever, except for pockets of college and Triple-A exposure.
And then there are the electronica acts. Arguably, Tiesto is the biggest touring act in the business. Sure, there are a handful of acts who could draw more, but Tiesto can do it night after night, every show is different, people come for the experience. And most of America's got no idea who Tiesto is, they've never even heard the name.
Today's big Top Forty star, Rihanna, if she fails at radio next time, she's in the same boat as Christina Aguilera. Same deal with Katy Perry. See why the major labels are up in arms, why they're freaking out? You can't sell a record and nothing lasts, how's that for a paradigm?
From Bob Lefsetz' music industry newsletter, www.lefsetz.com
For many people, some of the shows amongst their personal most memorable, most fun, and most talked about after the fact have been Halloween shows. Before the rich tradition of album covers started in 1994 with the White Album in Glens Falls, Phish already had a handful of memorable All Hallow's Eve dates under their belt. While their very first show was oft thought to be a Halloween event, indeed the first Halloween show took place in 1986 at Goddard College and included the debut of David Bowie and a guest appearance by Richard "Nancy Taube" Wright, the writer of "Halley's Comet" and "I Didn't Know" among others. The following year, 1987, saw a repeat performance on Halloween at Goddard with Fishman purportedly shaving his entire body and the band debuting the Syd Barrett "Love You" that has become a staple.
1988 didn't enjoy a Halloween show, but the following year, in their final performance ever at the beloved Goddard College, Phish put on an extraordinary show. While this clip can only begin to paint the picture of the musical mayhem and quintessential Phish quirkiness that was starting to build quite a regional reputation, it does perfectly paint a picture of Phish at the time: Loose, having tons of fun, thoroughly enjoying themselves, and completely engrossed in the moment. This clip of "Bathtub Gin" shows Trey wearing Devil's Horns and dark sunglasses. Earlier in the evening he was sporting strap-on breasts. Also, the debut of "Kung" and the distribution of Mac and Cheese boxes for the "Bowie" intro happened on this memorable evening.
1990 and 1991 saw a jump to Colorado for the Halloween festivities at back to back year's shows at Colorado College. 1990's show has been gloriously released as a Live Phish release but 1991's show has been more elusive for high quality recordings. Both terrific shows that add to the roster of memorable Halloween nights. 1992 and 1993 again were devoid of 10/31 shows and 1994 and on are well documented & remembered by even the most casual of Phish fan.
[Halloween 1990. Photo Credit: Parker Harrington]
Every Friday, we highlight a video with a brief recap of the show it is from and what makes it interesting, noteworthy or simply fun. With the help of Dan Saewitz from Phishvids.com, we hope to keep the stream of videos coming at you entertaining and interesting. Have a cool video you’d like to suggest? Interested in contributing a review yourself? Please feel free to PM me and we’d be more than happy to get your input. Thanks for reading and watching.
Trey Anastasio, The Detroit News, 10/26/95
Music can’t lie — it really is the universal language. People can hear your intent. If your intent is to sell records and make money, people will hear that, and it blackens the music. That’s why the live thing has been so exciting, and so spiritual for us. Once the fans are in the room, there’s nothing we can do on-stage that will bring us any more monetary gain. So we’re then free to explore and celebrate the spiritual aspect of the music.
For the 73rd consecutive week, the Blog is proud to bring you another Mystery Jam. As usual, we will be playing for an MP3 download, courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. The rules haven't changed: you need to correctly identify the song and the date to win. Post your guess in the comments. One guess per person per day (with the second “day” starting after I post the hint). The hint will come on Tuesday and the answer will be posted on Wednesday. Good luck...
Tuesday Hint: No hint needed this week.
Wednesday Answer: It's the 7/30/97 "Bowie" -> "Cities" -> "Bowie," specifically the segue into "Cities." So bl002e is our winner for the second time in four weeks. The Blog will be back on Mon. with another Mystery Jam.
New York Times ‘Pop Review’, 10/24/96
Bluegrass topped by a Klezmer tune, mock-classical counterpoint dissolving into free-form a capella vocals, pop lounge songs and light funk, blues guitar licks and bombastic rock vamps — Phish’s [concerts have] all that and more in nearly three hours of benignly virtuosic music.
1997 is well deservedly considered one of the best years of Phish by many. November 29th in Worcester, MA at the Centrum was no exception to the spectacular level of playing throughout the year. The legendary "Jim" usually takes all of the attention, however we'd like to direct your attention towards some other great moments from the night. After a standard couple of songs, the band kicks in to "The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday". The band hadn't played it for nearly a year (12/28/96 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia) and it showed. We typically like to look at exemplary Phish, but the beginning of this clip isn't exactly that. While there were flubs all over part one of this three-piece series, the drop into "Avenu Malkenu" along with the rest of the song was fantastic. The third piece, the segue back in to TMWSIY, was flawless. It was as if the band had been playing it every night for the past 10 years.
From there on out, the band did not look back. Other highlights during the first set include "Saw It Again" and "David Bowie". The second set is a classic five song 1997 set. The Jim is obviously the highlight, reaching just under an hour in length (58:48). As a review said on the setlist page, "This jam had at least 5 distinct sections…movements…" The soundboard of the Jim can be seen on Live Bait 03. The Hood was fantastic along with the encore. Video from nearly the entire show is on YouTube and can be seen on PhishVids and below.
Runaway Jim (in parts)
Thanks, and a happy Simchat Torah to all of our Jewish readers!